Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Locker Room Talk- It Might Be a Good Thing

I think the problem with dudes is that they don't know when they're not being original.

You know how a dude will text you at 2 in the morning all the time and then get all huffy and freak out if you dare insinuate that he has no interest in you other than getting into your pants. "See where your evil, whorish ladymind goes?" He'll say, "I wanted to play Parcheesi and talk about current events! Shows what you know! I really like you! As a person! I just thought you might be up at this time because you go out a lot!?"

He totally does believe that you will think this- and in turn think he is a "Nice Guy (TM)"- not some sleaze like those "meatheads" he hates who just want to get some pussy. He also believes that you, and all of your girlfriends, have not been through this exact scenario 17 times in the past year. He doesn't know that you already know how it ends- with him accusing you of trying to secretly plot to be his girlfriend- and he's just enjopying being single right now, and you being annoyed because he's really nowhere near awesome enough for that sort of effort, and wondering what you did to make him think you're retarded (Did I drool?).

To the ladies, I say: Seriously, just date the "meatheads", date the "yuppies"- date the guys the idiot artist/musician guys hate. It's less of a headache, and for the most part they're a better time- plus they always think you're the super coolest person ever and take you on actual dates. Also, they're more likely to pay for your drink, rather than ask you to buy them 85 PBR's every time you go out. Also, it's really fun to watch the idiot artist/musician guys flip the fuck out when you walk into the bar with a reg guy ("HOW CAN HE EVER UNDERSTAND YOU?????")- nevermind the fact that the artist/musician guys always end up with mind-numbingly boring chicks anyway. They can't have anyone around that might deflect attention from themselves.

To the fellas- for god's sake- will you PLEASE compare notes? For real. It's getting ridiculous. I go through, and hear the same 5 or so scenarios over and over again and it's just not even interesting anymore. You need a new MO. What if you just like, owned the booty call? Think of how much easier things would be then? You could do it in a way where you're professing to be a libertine or something like that- like Lord Byron. You could say you're an existentialist. You could totally do it in a way where you wouldn't have to lose any of your deepness cred, but at the same time be way less annoying. And a little bit more original.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Robyn's Complaint- Ethical Consumerism and the Fashionable Girl

I have oft been accused of being evil or morally bankrupt- usually by dudes, and usually in regards to my attitudes concerning sexuality, fidelity, etc. Oh, and you know, that whole having gone my whole life not having ever believed in god thing. Anyway, this is not exactly true. I just have my morals in different places- I was just raised with different commandments- commandments like "be way smarter than the boys", "stand up for people", "be unwaveringly loyal to your friends", "don't cross a union picket line", "choose your choice", and "vote with your feet, vote with your dollar." That last one has been the general theme of the past few days.

I was telling my mom about the leggings I coveted but did not purchase from American Apparel.

"If it was the 70's, those stores would have been burned down! I can't believe you people! I can't believe you'd hand over any money to a creep like that!", she said.

I explained the moral quandary- the workers who make the clothing *are* actually paid a living wage. Also, I am a fan of leggings. She explained that it didn't matter, because Dov Charney is a misogynist.

"Don't make excuses. Boycotts are the only thing that change anything! You think I didn't like grapes? You think I didn't like orange juice?" It went on for a while. I know she's right. I did not buy the leggings.

What I did do yesterday, however, was a bit worse. I got a manicure/pedicure at the cheap nail place across the street. I don't do this often, because it's a whole world of mental anguish for me, for the following reasons:

1) I know that I should really just do it myself.

2) Flesh eating diseases. Do not want.

3) For godsakes, my best friend is a Nail Tech. A licensed one. Unlike the people at these places. She tells me a lot of freaky stories about how dangerous they are.

4) I always fuck it up and feel really guilty when they have to redo it.

But mostly, it's because the whole thing smacks of imperialism in a way that fills me with horror. I mean, I'm sitting there in the massage chair, my feet in the blue water, reading the latest issue of Harper's, looking at the posters on the wall (hands with long fake nails clutching a crystal ball, feeding fish, holding flowers...), and I cannot relax. Not for two seconds.

A little boy, the son of one of the manicurists comes up to me and tells me that he is five and likes humongasaurs, and would like to know if I like humongasaurs as well. "Humongasaurs are awesome. Who doesn't love humongasaurs?" I say. We talk for a few minutes, and I try to pretend like I totally understand what he's talking about (Alas, I am not hip to what's cool with the kiddie set these days), and soon his mother finishes with her previous customer, she comes up and starts removing the poorly applied red nail polish from my toes.

I am not comfortable with people touching my feet. It's a thing I have. I guess that's why I couldn't ever go to Nicole for a pedicure- I see her way too often for that. It's not like I have terrible feet or anything- other than the fact that two of my toes are a little too Siamese-ish for my liking, and the fact that I have weirdly high arches. I probably wouldn't even bother with pedicures if I was any good at doing it myself, or if I didn't work in an environment where I have to be perfectly groomed always. I only get two a year to supplement my own efforts, but even that is a little much for me.

Once she's done buffing and sloughing and doing all that other shit, another girl comes over to do my nails. This is where I really start to freak out. Why? Because of the Imperialist thing. Because I'm sitting there, being a white lady, my Marc Jacobs shoes tossed off to the side, with these two Vietnamese ladies waiting on me, literally, hand and foot. The power dynamics here are just icky. I hate myself. I am the worst person ever. I am Mrs. Pickering. I am having a heart attack. Nice feet and hands are just not worth this agony. I cannot possibly be this person! I used to hate these people! They might be talking about me in Vietnamese- discussing my bizarrely high arches and Siamese toes, the fact that I keep screwing up their paint jobs, smearing pink (toes) and school bus yellow (fingers) nail polish on my scarf or their equipment- maybe they think I'm some smug bourgie twit. This doesn't bother me. They should, by all rights, be talking shit about me, and all the other customers. I used to talk shit about customers in French with my old co-worker. It's how you deal.

I feel sometimes as though I've slacked on some of my convictions as of late. I drink Diet Coke now, something I boycotted for years. I drink Starbucks, because it's close to my work. And every time I do either of those things, I feel sick. I die a little on the inside. I can't use ignorance as an excuse, because I know how insanely evil the Coca-Cola corporation is as far as human rights violations go. I know how evil Nestle is, and yet I buy shit tons of Nestle hot chocolate because I like it better than Swiss Miss. I buy chocolate, often, even though I know that cocoa beans are often harvested by slaves. Actual slaves. I shop at Urban Outfitters, even though I know the owner donated money to Rick Santorum and various other awful conservative candidates. When I'm low on cash, I buy non-fair trade coffee. I've bought clothes and shoes that I know full well were probably produced using child labor.

I used to be on the all boycott diet. I used to only buy my clothes from thrift stores, or make them myself. I used to be an organizer. For godsakes, I was on the cover of the Washington Times, post-getting billy clubbed in the tits during an anti-WTO protest! I was that person, and now I'm this person. I don't think I'm ok with it. I feel like I'm becoming the people my mom hated in the 80's- the former hippies who turned into the me-generation. I feel like I've capitulated too much. I don't have the time to go to every protest these days, but I am able to be an ethical consumer, instead of a lazy consumer. And I can do my own damn nails from now on.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Robyn Action Figure Syndrome

I am totally psychic. Do you know why? If so, clearly you are psychic as well.

Just this very Monday, I was telling Jill about this weird thing that happens after I break things off with a dude. Not to sound like a crazy egomaniac, but I swear to GOD, half of them end up dating what can only be referred to as Robyn Action Figures. They're like, tiny versions of me that don't talk. I don't get it. It's as though they thought to themselves- "Robyn is really swell, if only she were pocket sized and less fun at parties." I don't take it as a compliment.

Sure, you may be thinking- maybe the dude just has a type, lookswise, and you happened to fall into that category. Maybe he just happens to have a fetish for girls with dark, bobbed hair, pale skin and pointy faces. Stay with me here. One time, the girl was also a classically trained singer. From Rhode Island. How many of those have you run into lately? In Chicago. Oy.

So today, I'm schlepping around Dominick's- as I am wont to do on my day off. And as I am contemplating yogurt, I see this girl wearing the same shirt as I am- but as a dress since she is approximately the size of a smurf. Her hair is about the same, and she's even wearing red lipstick, and patent leather Mary Janes to boot. We would have made an amazingly creepy family portrait. And who should turn the corner to join her, but a former gentleman caller of mine.

Pregnant pause made of awkward.

"Hi!" I say, because, whatever, it's not like there was any bad blood or anything, he just bored me and I was more into someone else at the time. I save my petty for when I need it.

He says hello, we do the introductions dance, yadda yadda yadda. He tells her I'm a friend, which is appropriate. Her handshake is made of spam. It is a spamshake. "It's so nice to meet you! I like your dress!" I tell her- she looks at her feet and says thanks- all the while anchoring herself on the dude's arm. "No, see" I tell her, pointing at my shirt "We're wearing the same thing. We match." She looks at my shirt and fakes a twitter of a laugh. "Oh." she says- "I didn't notice."

I talk a lot when I feel awkward or nervous. Well, actually, I talk a lot anyway, but moreso and more loudly when I'm feeling awkward or nervous. "Have you tried this fancy yogurt yet? It looks neat. Usually I just get the Stoneybrook farms strawberry kind, but Vanilla Chai seems interesting. Do you even know what an acai berry is supposed to taste like? Isn't that an Oprah thing? I haven't tried anything involving them yet because I skeeve bandwagons. I've still never even tried grape kool-aid."

"Huh." She says. Dude interrupts- "Robyn hosts this reading thing, you know, in Logan Square" he says to her, and then turns to me and says "Emily* is a writer too- you should ask her to read something sometime." I explain that we're booked like, months in advance these days, but that I'll remember her the next time I have an opening. I say goodbye, far too warmly for the reception, explaining that I have to go get some different granola now to go with my new fancy yogurt flavor.

I don't know, I could just be being Judge Judy about this. It's totally possible that she has a personality but prefers to keep it hidden or something. It could just be that she was just as weirded out by the bizarre similarity as I was, and handles her nervousness differently. She didn't seem nervous, just less than vivacious. Still, it was totally Twilight Zone-ish.

*Not her real name, duh.