Friday, June 27, 2008

Why I'm Becoming a Lesbian

No, I’m not really becoming a lesbian, even though it is so totally in these days. I just have seriously lost all faith in relationships, love, men in general that I honestly have happily resigned myself to life as a spinster. If fucking George Clooney stopped me on the street and asked me to go on a date with him I’d say HELL NO and send that d-bag packing. Because history repeats itself, and my history blows both literally and figuratively.

The first guy I ever consciously remember crushing on was this devastatingly handsome Jonathan Taylor Thomas type who, despite the fact that we lived in Pennsylvania, always wore a Miami Dolphins sweatshirt. He was towheaded with almond-shaped blue eyes, and had an affection for basketball that was rivaled only by his affection for a girl we’ll call Brittany. Brittany was a tan, slim and equally towheaded little thing who studied dance and wore a lot of pink. Nothing ever came of the relationship between JTT-lookalike and I, mostly because there was no way I was going to try to compete with Brittany. The 4th grade school year ended and we went our separate ways; much like the real JTT, I have no idea where JTT-lookalike is these days, but Brittany is a NFL cheerleader. (I know. In retrospect, I can’t really blame the guy.)

In 6th grade I moved away and set up shop with a new group of friends that was divided pretty equally between girls and guys. I started dating one of the guys from our group, but got freaked out after he got dared to pass me a Cheetoh with his mouth at my 13th birthday party. It wasn’t the thought of kissing that terrified me, but the thought of kissing him, so we broke up. Then I became best friends with another guy, and soon we embarked on a shortlived torrid middle school romance, complete with bloody love triangles, heartbreaking AIM conversations and late night phone sessions. It faded pretty quickly, but I think I still have the love notes I wrote him.

Then it was high school and there was:

1) The boy I had my first hardcore make out session with in our bathing suits on a set of snowman sheets,

2) The guy from a friend’s Hebrew school who was the best kisser I’ve ever met,

3) The skater boy with a funny nickname,

4, 5, 6) The older guys who tried to make out with me while listening to Led Zeppelin,

7, 8) The guys who wanted to be able to say they’d hooked up with the Principal’s daughter.


Some of them I dumped, some dumped me, but there was a common thread running beneath the surface: they were all staunchly arrogant, emotionless, obsessed more with touching me than talking to me: these qualities, of course, eventually coalesced to become my "type." While I pride myself on possessing a keen intuition when it comes to reading people, I've always seemed to make the wrong decision concerning boys. I get swept up in the faux romanticism. Also: I think with my vagina.

Senior year of high school came the Big One, the Important One, the Officially Official One. We held hands beneath the lunch table! We touched each other in the movie theatre! He wasn’t mature enough for me, he flitted serious topics, dodging emotions like rain drops, but since history does indeed repeat itself, I adored him for it. We went to prom together and spent a lot of time making out in the backseat of my Dad’s car and getting caught by the township police half-clothed. I hovered over my cell phone every night waiting for him to call, and spent two weeks in Europe miserable and missing him. We broke it off before I left for NYU and we haven’t really spoken since, except for the odd, accidental run-ins with him or his family when I go home for a weekend.

Then it was New York and there were more:

9) The grad student who whiskey dicked,
10) The chubby vegan from Brooklyn with cigarette fingers
11) The transient boy who always wore a Burberry scarf.

And then it was San Francisco and a philosophy grad student from El Salvador, and then Philadelphia and I was fucking my ex-boyfriend from middle school, whose dick was even nicer than I remembered. And then in LA there were still more boys, Scrubs watching boys, boys who called getting stoned “blazing.”

And then there was my most recent ex-boyfriend, whom I enjoyed a violently tumultuous relationship with, as relationships with emotionally distant misogynists most often are. I went to visit him in London for my 20th birthday and Valentine’s Day where he told me he loved me and then promptly dumped me three days after I got back to New York.

And then there were others whom I went on casual dates with and never spoke to again because by now I was getting the point. Which brings us to the most recent guy, a child actor, who kind of ended up being the biggest dick of all, which is funny, because his dick wasn’t actually that big. At all.

The problem I'm having right now is that all the guys I choose end up possessing some eerily similar qualities, and it's things like this I tend to blame on myself. I am at fault in some ways: I always do manage to pick the wrong guys. But at the same time I have yet to meet someone who can disprove all of the negative evidence that has been mounting up against the male gender in my mind. A sweet boy, a tender boy, an honest boy is all I need to hault this smear campaign. But New York is an iron jungle, and no babyfaced Boy Next Door in his right mind would pick up and leave the comforts of home for this battle zone. New York, I love you, but where the fuck are the nice guys? I promise, this time, I'll give them a try.

-Jess

Love this bitch

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gossip Gays?


A little birdie, who works at a major New York PR firm, whispered in my ear just now that Gossip Girl cohorts Ed Westwick and Chace Crawford are, in fact, gay; but not just that - they are lovers. The gossip comes to us from a Hamptons gathering earlier in the week, and is legit straight from the horse's mouth! Discuss.


-Jess

There is No News


I mean, there must not be, if this is RADAR's main story today.


-Jess

Sarah Bird Is Retarded


Sarah Bird lives in Texas. Or so she says; I'd like to think she lives in Crazy-Pills Land, permanent residency, where she believes everything is okay and people will accept each other despite their differences. "Why can't my son just be gay?" she asks.


She goes on to lament her son's heterosexuality, but what she's really doing is lamenting her own maternal loneliness. She fears "antiquing alone," and imagines with dread her future of nights watching Will & Grace reruns and eating cupcakes. She seems to think that having a gay son would also entail having a mama's boy, and a best friend. She seems to think gay people care about things like the color of new doorknobs and, like...fucking showtunes.


Now, now, she acknowledges that she's stereotyping. But that's not what bothers me. She is indeed "ignorant," but not because she believes that a gay person would find her mundane suburban life exciting. That's just delusional, and she's probably going through menopause or something, so give her a break.


There are two things I find inherently wrong with the article. The first is what I just mentioned--that she equates a gay son with a BFF, someone to snuggle with her and watch Audrey Hepburn movies. Overjoyed at her son having found a girlfriend--providing her with ample girly-stuff time with her son and his ladyfriend--she assumes that a partner wouldn't have been necessary had her son just come out of the womb queer. What she fails to realize is that, were her son gay and had he found himself a boyfriend, she'd probably see even less of him than she does now. Her son would be too busy sneaking behind the Taco Bell for a quickie and driving two hours to the luxury shopping mall because American Eagle's jeans are far too loose to spend time with Dear Old Mom. Mrs. Bird's ignorance lies in her belief that her son--her gay son--would be content to spend all his time with her. I know she's half-kidding, and she just wants someone in her family who shares her interests. But man, that part where she's bothering him about the fucking doorknobs--it's like, nobody cares, gay or straight. Maybe take up a hobby or find a new friend, but don't try to rope your son into your web of boredom, because it's a place from which he'll only want to escape.


But more importantly--and I'm going to address you directly, Sarah--your view of adolescent homosexuality is rosy at best, and wildly misinformed in truth. You imagine hours spent playing Scrabble (since when are board games gay?) and watching Sweeney Todd, but what you don't predict are the nights your son will spend crying in his room because somebody else in his math class called him a fag; you don't anticipate his ostracism, the loneliness he will feel, the awful feeling--no offense, Sarah--that the only person in the world who understands you is your own mother. Sarah Bird, your son will be miserable. He will not want to go to the theater with you, he will not want to go shopping, he will not want to get tea; in short, like 99% of teenagers on the planet, he will not want to do much of anything with you, because you're his mom, and in high school, that's pretty lame. Your son will not be able to gush to you about the gossip at school because the only people who will talk to him will be the Drama Club kids, and unless your son is also born with stage presence, he'll find no satisfaction there. Your son will be afraid to tell you he's gay, and if he knows you're fine with it then he'll fear Dad's reaction. Your son will be awkward and left out and picked on and a thousand other awful things that no mother should ever wish for her offspring. And you live in Texas; I don't care how much of an urban center it's becoming, it's still Texas, not the Village. Gayness isn't a sitcom plot twist there, just as it wasn't in New Jersey.


So if you want your son to be gay, Sarah, then fine. Let him be gay. But get a box of Kleenex and a good book ready, because it's gonna be a bumpier ride than you can wrap your naive little mind around.


-Josh

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shrink Shopping

This actually looks exactly like the guy who prescribed me my Zoloft and then never met with me again


By now it’s kind of common knowledge that I have a brain that doesn’t work right. Not in the traditional sense, I mean, I hope it’s also common knowledge that my brain works right in an intellectual way, but emotionally it just kind of fizzles. If I were emo I would say that I’m walking around with a broken heart behind my forehead. Okay, yeah, I’m emo. My brain is a broken heart.

Anyway. I’m currently on Zoloft to curb that whole I-hate-everyone-but-especially-myself attitude that I so expertly cultivated in high school, but it has seemed to hit a metaphorical dead-end in that the pills kind of no longer work. One of the (many) bad things about depression is that it’s difficult to tell if your sadness is “normal,” or if it’s an ebbing symptom that your medicine has gone kaput. My parents are all freaky because I’m leaving for Paris in the fall and want to make sure I’m okay so I don’t have a nervous breakdown like I did the last time I was in Europe, complete with a homecoming panic attack that landed me on a stretcher in a Philadelphia ambulance. (God, I’m a catch!)

This is all well and fine, except that they are making me shop for therapists, which is strange and fascinating and also just so fucking telling about our generation. I mean, maybe we're all so sad because we have so many choices to make about EVERYTHING -- even shrinks! -- that we just tune out and shut down. Maybe us Youngs are getting advice from everyone because we're so drug-addled and terrified about having so many options that we are all becoming wallflowers at a school dance hosted by Keith Gessen.

So yeah. Each therapist has a website that describes their education, specialties, rates and displays a little picture of them looking smart and also hyperFreudian. (Sidenote: Almost all of them have beards/mustaches YAY!!) It’s like the fucking Facebook of therapists, only they don’t list music so I can’t likely choose the guy who will play Kid A in the waiting room.

I know that everyone in New York goes to therapy; you are basically considered crazy if you don’t. But the idea that I should click through a list of links that my Mom e-mails me in order to choose who I will divulge my darkest thoughts to is positively surreal.

Anyway, I chose this guy, because he reminds me of Dwight Shrute and looks easy to manipulate. I mean… I picked him 'cuz he went to Penn. Heh.

-Jess

Things I Hate: The Abridged Edition


1. When people say: "Why don't you go ahead and *insert verb*." It's worse than passive voice because it's passive-aggressive passive voice. SPIT IT OUT. I'm obviously going to have to complete the task you're about to assign me, so quit pretending that I have any choice in the matter by padding it with unneccesary wordage.


2. Aggressive Noise Pollution: There's a great article in Salon today about this director who actually got thrown in jail for fucking with private property after he messed with a car whose alarm had been going off for hours. I live on a street that feeds cars from the Holland Tunnel into SoHo, so the noise pollution is unfuckingbearable. I don't mind a little white noise. In fact, when I go home I have trouble falling asleep because the suburbs are just so silent. But I do not need to be woken up every hour by garbage trucks and fire trucks and pickup trucks.


3. Pants With Dresses: It's 80 degrees out. Unless you have some kind of hideous rash on your legs, please refrain from wearing pants with dresses. Actually, no, fuck the rash. Just wear a shirt with pants! NOT THAT HARD, PPL.


4. Weak Ankles: I sprained my ankle once really badly as I was preparing to get on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. Since then, it's never been the same. I sprained it again in London and on the way back from that fucking awful movie we're never going to mention ever again. And now every time I walk I basically sprain it again, which has truly thrown a wrench in my running regiment. Not to mention I'm walking around with a cankle.


5. Mike Fucking Myers: Self explanatory. YOU OWE ME 12 BUCKS.


-Jess
PS - Things I don't hate: this. LOL!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Guilty Pleasures


Three more songs worthy of your "DON'T OPEN THIS" folder on iTunes.

1. Cher, "Strong Enough." Okay, I'm gay and this is a guilty-pleasures music column, so you knew it was only a matter of time before you saw Cher on here.
Anyway, I love love love this song. It's a love letter to classic disco, complete with a slow piano intro, jabbing horns, and rollicking strings. And this goat they brought in to do the voc--oh, never mind, that's just Cher.
She's, um, sounded better. Despite the eight thousand filters the producers undoubtedly put her voice through, you can hear her passion in this song...to hit the right notes. Seriously, it sounds like this song is about two octaves above her range, and she sang it after an hour on the treadmill.
The lyrics, as you can imagine, are about getting over a cheating-bastard-boyfriend. Of course, Cher's been through worse: "On being used, I can write the book." And that line isn't even trying to rhyme with anything! Later, she assures her man that "This is our last goodbye, it's true." Isn't that what she's been telling her fans for, like, two years? Is her farewell tour over yet? Can she not get into post-show parties because most of her is under 21?

2. Dido, "White Flag." You know, everyone has their guilty pleasures. When you tell someone one of your embarrassing favorites, you usually receive more empathy than mockery. But whenever I tell anyone that I like a song by Dido--Christ, it's as though I just said I was born with three testicles.
Seriously, what's the problem with Dido? She's sweet and twee and European and she makes cute, melodramatic synth ballads like this one. Of course, the song is actually about how she won't "put my hands up and surrender." I've never heard a gonna-stay-strong song sound more defeated; the whole thing is high-pitched strings and bells and cautious beeps and boops.
"I promise I'm not trying to make your life harder," she tells her eternal love. No, she's just gonna write a Top 40 international smash about how she'll always be into you even though it's really depressing and will probably kill her someday and I think that process is already starting because she compares her love to a sinking ship.
After a bridge during which she tells us that she'll "hold my tongue" (except just kidding she'll sing about it instead), she sings the chorus three more times, the strings getting cheesier every time. She sings the final refrain over a single string and piano, but at this point even the doorbell ringing would sound Eurotrashy. Seriously, "White Flag" is a ballad for the Armani-Exchange set. Seeing as how I own two ridiculously A|X pants, I don't see the problem here.

3. Paul McCartney, "Dance Tonight." Jeez, Paul, are you even trying anymore? It sounds like you wrote and recorded this song in a half hour, right before Jeopardy. Yes, the mandolin is clever and the whistling is cute, this song is neither danceable nor something I'd play at night. Unless I was like hosting a meet-and-greet fruit-punch social at an old people home; then I'd maybe do some sort of mashup with Captain & Tennille.
Even the lyrics sound so...so...so hastily scribbled on a Wendy's napkin. Here's the first verse:

Everybody gonna dance tonight
Everybody gonna feel alright
Everybody gonna dance around tonight
Well it's PARTY TIME NOW!!! WOOO!
Then the chorus kicks in. No, Paul McCartney, I will not come to your place, nor do I want to. Nor do I have a fake leg, so it's not like you'd really be interested anyway.
Then Paul sings some more bland lines about dancing to the beat, or whatever these young people do nowadays. I think he overestimates his song's power, because I doubt anyone will stamp their feet to this song. I think I might rock in my chair to this song.
It's just sad, because the Beatles were all about being young and free and revolutionary, and now Paul McCartney is wearing Chuck Taylors in Apple commercials and bitterly divorcing his wife and trying so gosh darn hard to connect with the young people. Seriously, hearing him sing, "Everybody gonna hit the ground" is more depressing than hearing Dido talk about her breakup. It's like, "Everybody gonna dance tonight...but not too late because I have a colonoscopy tomorrow morning." Sigh.

-Josh

It's About Time for Another Panic Attack

I just overheard my boss trying to set his 25 year old "nice, down-to-earth Jewish daughter -- who is NOT a JAP!" up with some guy who is "not too short or bald, right?" And it scared the shit out of me because 25 is not old, in fact, it's only 5 years older than me. But by that age you're supposed to have a secure job and apartment and maybe even relationship and I can't even get my head on straight let alone imagine settling down with someone in the next five years. I mean, honestly, I'm kind of in this fucked up headspace about men right now where I want to be near them but I don't want to be near them, if that makes any sense. I see some guys with sad eyes on the subway and I have this uncontrollable urge to hug them, but the thought of having to go through the motions to date someone - texting instead of calling because I'm so awkward on the phone, trying to make time to see each other, those first few fumbling sexual encounters: I can't even stomach that right now. I don't want to. A friend and I decided that all we really want is someone who will be there when we get home from work to have amazing sex with and then snuggle with and then make them leave so we can sleep in our own tiny twin beds comfortably. I want intimacy without any risk of developing feelings for each other. Basically I want the kind of relationship I have with my gay guy friends except I want really incredible sex, but I want them to initiate it, because recently I've been so frazzled about everything that I've left my vibrator battery-less for days, which is just SO UNLIKE ME. I will probably just wait it out until I go home to Philly in August where I can hook up with my hot ex-boyfriend from middle school while we pretend to watch TV because my Dad is upstairs sleeping kthxbye.

-Jess

Summer is for Reading


I've been reading more books this summer (fiction and nonfiction!) than I did the entire school year, mostly because this time I get to choose books I'm interested in, and I have a lot of time at work to do nothing but read. That said, I'm currently reading The Emporer's Children by Claire Messud and it is just incredible. Her detail is so very Dostoyevsky-esque without coming off as annoying. And one of these quotes totally caught my eye because OMG! This is so me in relationship situations!


"It was vital not to seem to care too much, and yet to seem ready to care; vital to seem to give rather than to take; and vital to be amusing and amused in the face of adversity."


Soooo true.


Also this book came with a little note in the back (I got it from the NY Public Library on Mulberry) typed up by "an annoyed reader" that said:

This book is a Tour de Force from a wordy mind and eyes very involved with detail, until it describes sex and then the detail is barely evident? Why?


To which I replied:

Perhaps Messud, like her characters, is an anxious product of the bourgois class whose WASPy attitudes eclipse their ability to discuss sex in any real way. Or maybe she's just a prude.


It's true, she doesn't describe sex in a very detailed way. But I vote that we should all include little thoughts like these on slips of paper and hide them in the book jackets. It makes reading fun and interesting and it's cool to know that someone out there - even if they're anonymous - is thinking and reading in a similar way.


-Jess

Monday, June 23, 2008

Letdown of the Month

Since we first saw the trailer, Jess and I have been looking forward to, um, self-medicating and seeing The Love Guru. Yeah, we knew it'd be bad (the Tomatometer doesn't lie), but Christ was this awful. Just bad in every way--and not even the so-bad-it's-funny type of bad, but just plain shitty. We walked out after forty minutes.


I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to hear about how we should have known better. I just want my twelve bucks back from Mike Myers.

JESS'S NOTE:
Oh yeah and also I sprained my ankle while walking back from this fucking awful movie and now I really want Mike Myers to pay for my ibuprofin/ankle tape/pain of not being able to wear heels for the next week. It looks a lot like this now, which happened when I was in London which is where AUSTIN POWERS is from! Coincidence?? -- I think not.

-Josh

Forget About What Your Parents Think: JC Penney Wants You to Fuck

Gawker brought this to my attention.


I kind of really love it. I mean, I've always been a proponent of teenage (albeit safe) sex (and only if people are ready, as I most certainly was at 16!) but it's nice to see that decidedly lowbrow "department store" JC Penney - best known for peddling Mom Jeans and monogrammed sweaters to overweight midwesterners - shares my pro-sex attitude. The great thing about this ad is that it's so unabashedly honest. Christian right be damned! Kids fuck, and sometimes they even fuck while wearing JC Penney. And god is this ad inciting a torrential bout of nostalgia for me right now. Sorry, Mom and Dad.

-Jess

The World is Blowing Up

Okay so this article is making me freak the FUCK out right now. Mostly because it's so true. The other night my roommate and I were discussing the 1920's and the Great Depression, and we decided that America simply cannot keep barreling down its current path. We're headed for another Depression. I mean, we're obsessed with the most artificial things. We are steeped in excess, and the only thing to revive us of this awful addiction is maybe to just quit cold turkey. Print journalism is dead, and perhaps celebrity gossip is, too. The bread and butter of our bootstrap and bourgeois bohemian society continues to evaporate, not to mention that actual bread and butter prices are through the roof. It's like we're in a coma, overfed on reality TV and meaningless sound bytes about who's fucking who and who's tumblring about who and DO THESE PANTS MAKE ME LOOK FAT?

And America, I'm terrified! The polar ice caps are melting and gas prices are rising and everyone seems content to just Twitter away about what bar they're going to drown their sorrows in tonight (Lit). Maybe coke is coming back because we all need to distract ourselves from the world and just feel happy for 15 minutes. Maybe weed is more potent than ever because we need to sedate ourselves to keep living the way we are.

But really, we're railroading ourselves. We're dooming ourselves to a world that will slide off into the deep end (quite literally) perhaps within my lifetime. Why are people not scared and upset? I certainly am! But I mean, maybe I'm a symptom of the problem, too. I'm just blogging about this when I could be campaigning for Obama or living greenly or single-handledly rescuing print journalism. But I'm not! Instead, I'm here, bitching to a tiny audience on a blog. And maybe that's what's really wrong with America: we create Facebook groups vowing to stop atrocities instead of actually stopping them.


The internet is a powerful tool, though. If that one Yahoo article can inspire me this viscerally, then maybe writing is all we have to enact change. The Hold Steady once aptly sang, "Words alone could never save us." I put that as an epithet for my first ever poetry manuscript. And I do think it's true in a lot of ways: we can talk and talk about problems but they're not going to be solved unless we actually do something about them. Maybe writing is only the first step.

The trouble is that I almost feel so resigned to the fact that this world is potentially only decades from simply heaving and sighing and giving up that I don't feel the desire to do anything about it. In short, I feel incredibly helpless. Because if it's "God" or whoever vs. The Rest of Us, then it doesn't matter how much oil money you've stuffed in your trouser pockets -- we're all fucked.


-Jess

The Most Important Party of Our Time Leads to The Most Important Existential Crisis of Our Time

So I didn't make it to the Most Important Party of Our Time, mostly because I got stoned, but not the stoned where you're like yay I'm high let's go to Brooklyn! But more like, paralyzed stoned, where you watch drawn out marathons of The First 48 and also videos of people building elaborate fire contraptions.

But there are good descriptions of the event here and here. Apparently my ultimate newspaper/literary crush was there, despite his rumored distaste for Gessen himself. You'll have to guess who I'm talking about because some things shall remain a secret, but I mean, I've always had a softspot for super smart boys with floppy hair and glasses.


Ned also went, sans moi, and he said that Gessen gave him some interesting advice that kind of catapulted him into the throes of a semi-existential crisis. That advice was: "As soon as you graduate, get out of New York. It is not a place for serious people."


And on the surface, I think that's very true. The internet has officially lambasted seriousness, banishing it to the dark, hollow concaves of whiney Livejournals. I try to be earnest on here sometimes but eventually I just erupt into mocking myself for even attempting to do so. Have we all become this self conscious? Because really, while we are a generation who happily broadcasts our innermost thoughts via blog, we are also a generation that eagerly ridicules each other for doing so. You cannot live in New York if you don't have a sense of humor. That's why Gessen himself is so torn up over all of the mean things people have said about him. And you know what? I would be, too. I've often feared that I don't have the kind of steeled resolve that one needs to adopt in order to participate in this social-climbing, nefarious thing termed the New York Media World. With every rejection letter I accumulate, I'll probably only become more and more serious.


And if you think about it, the internet is really the only thing that we can look to for having changed all of that. New York used to be a very, very serious place. And maybe in some ways it still is. People came here because no one at home took their ambitions and their fears and their sadness seriously. It was a safe-haven for the tortured. And now, perhaps, we're all still tortured, but we're forced to adopt a joking tone concerning that torture. It's passe to take yourself too seriously these days, and for those who are easily wounded, like Gessen and yes, like me too, then maybe it does make sense to escape from New York... but where to?


-Jess

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One More Stupid Thing

Your instructions:

1. Get high. (Or don't. I mean, I'm not, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt.)
2. Watch this.
3. Wait for the part where Robert DeNiro pretends he's a cabbage. "Look at me! I'm a cabbage! I'm a good source of riboflavin!"

-Josh

Oh, So THAT'S What It Means

I live by myself and and am terminally single, but even I haven't heard of this.

-Josh

OMG!! Ur A Pig!!

Oh hey, whatsup? I'm drinking coffee, watching Best Week Ever, and falling in love with the dumbest commercial EVER. No, seriously, it's even better than the Speidi FNMTV one:



-Jess