Sunday, October 28, 2007

Someone Great

I'm couching this post in terms of an LCD Soundsystem song, because I'm unsure of how to categorize all of this.

N is the man that I'm dating. It's weird to say that, because I have been -- and sort of am -- dating several men. I won't stop handing out my card unless I'm exhorted to. I won't stop playing these boys until I'm explicitly instructed not to.

But there's something about N that makes me talk frankly and forget all of my practiced lines and my perceived coolness and all of the Rules bullshit that I've played for these past six months.

I asked N out impromptu today, flouting the Rules, and he dropped everything and came. That was nice. He likes me. I like him. We sat at a banquette at a Thai place in my neighborhood that I wasn't sure still existed, and I heard the background music clearly.

"This is the song my parents danced to for the first time," I said, sipping from my glass of very decent Cotes du Rhone.

"That's weird," he said.

"Oh. Is it?" I said.

"It's a good omen," he said.

And he kissed me.


It's strange to fall for someone again.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Click and Listen

Listen to Dr. Blogstein's Radio Happy Hour Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST to hear Dr. Blogstein and me bicker with each other in between interviewing fabulous and erudite guests, such as this week's -- the author of the new book The Art of Cheating as well as novelist Vince Flynn. Who is, um, kind of hot. Question: Why are all the hot guys named Vinnie?

Vinnie Flynn:

Vinnie Kartheiser:

Haaaaave mercy.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Fantasy is Better than the Reality

Somewhat ironically, I was drinking with my coworkers at a bar in Midtown when an ad for the season finale of Mad Men appeared on the bar's TV screen. One of the higher-ups lightly slapped me on the shoulder and said, "Look! It's our show!" We gazed, transfixed, at the television, even though we couldn't hear any dialogue. When Pete Campbell, Vincent Kartheiser's character, appeared, I said, steadily, "I'm going to marry him." "I thought you were going to marry Zac Efron," my boss said. "Well, him too," I said, "if he's not gay."

Tonight, I watched said season finale of Mad Men Just wow. I won't ruin it for those who haven't seen it, but even though I think the writers sort of phoned it in with a couple of plot twists, I am still hooked. And my obsession with Vincent Kartheiser somehow continues, despite his character Pete being the ultimate smarmy silver-spoon weasel he is.

So, um, I decided to do some research on Mr. Kartheiser. In an effort to learn more about my second future ex-husband I went to a cute VK (in the parlance of the Web) fansite, The Ultimate Charm. (Ultimate charm, indeed!)

And now I know why I stopped reading anything superfan-related after my obsession with New Kids on the Block and Kirk Cameron ended. Facts ruin the illusion.

Five facts about Vincent Kartheiser that totally make me want to break our fake fantasy engagement:

-He dated Rachael Leigh Cook. Something about that is just so...late-'90s and ew to me.

-He failed the ninth grade. *UPDATE: But graduated from UCLA with a history degree! Let's not forget that! (See comments.)

-This was an actual quote he gave an actual publication: ''I think learning is such a great thing. I just want to learn and really just want to go out see the world.'' Totally, man.

-He is a big fan of the band Phish. (Though I might be able to overlook this, because he also likes Tool.)

-He smokes. Normally this would not be a dealbreaker for my fake boyfriends, but I quit almost two years ago, and I ain't never going back. *UPDATE: Apparently, I stand corrected on this point. My sources (and by "sources" I mean "a commenter") tell me that he quit right before the pilot of Mad Men, which in my opinion seems like the opposite way to go, considering how much they all smoke in the show. Wish I worked on the show -- then I'd have an excuse to start smoking again. Mmmm...smoking.... Ahem. But, seriously, who really knows if he's quit or not?

So, forget it, Vincent! No matter how much you beg, there's no way we're going to get married and move to the suburbs now. You blew it. No-- no crying. No pleading. Get off your knees and just accept it.

Uh, but if you happen to be in New York for, say, a night...for business...or, you know, pleasure...let's talk. I'll wear my best pencil skirt and take you to the Flatiron Lounge. And I'll let you call me Peggy.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

You Can't Have It All

I was with one of my amazingly glamorous and talented friends tonight -- we ate dinner and drank wine down in the West Village. (I had an amazing veal-and-risotto dish. This is why I'm fat in New York City.) Over several glasses of an amazing red, we dished and bitched as only single New York City women can: We talked about our recent dates that went badly, the sex that wasn't all we thought our partners promised, our ex-boyfriends who are clearly either clueless or assholes, and our careers that are not quite what we want them to be. Yet.

That all might be true (or it might be a bit of embellishment), but in the middle of all of it, I noticed her newly glossy brunette hair and heard her speak about her latest projects, and I looked down at my middle-of-the-road designer bag and remembered the somewhat prestigious place that I work, and I thought, "You know what? Being able to afford to bitch and be fabulous over dinner in the West Village every month or so ain't half bad." Because I remember a time that I couldn't afford a stale cookie in a deli window, let alone dinner, and I will appreciate that now. Even though I'm in my late 20s and nowhere near as hot as I used to be, I'll take it, lovehandles and earned wisdom and all. New York skews your sane-person perspective somehow. Bearing that in mind, I wouldn't trade tonight and my fabulous girlfriend for anything offered to me. I walked up the stairs to my apartment happy.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Videos for Your Amusement




Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dear Sara, I love you. Love, Jane

Never before have I wanted so badly to have a lesbian love affair with one of my favorite singers until right now:

Sara Bareilles's "Love Song" video


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Drinking Stories

Sometimes I wonder why the only pop-culture stories about drinking that I can relate to are those told by men.

Here's what I relate to when I drink (um, not that I've done these things, but they seem most authentic):

Vince Vaughn at the end of Swingers. In a diner standing up on the table booth, swinging his sportcoat around, and saying, "So I'm the asshole?! I'm the asshole!" We've all been the asshole at one time or another.

Adam Davies's character "Harry" in the book The Frog King. Harry has only three or four dollars left, to his name -- money he won from a bet on the dictionary meaning of words with one of his mentors -- and the female bartender has to pry it out of his hands as payment for the PBRs that he owes her.

Paul Giamatti in Sideways. The scene where he drinks and stares at the pay phone and drinks more and goes to the "dark side" and calls his ex. In my opinion, this is the best representation of real-life drinking and dialing and desperation...ever.

Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. Screaming nonsense (or non-nonsense?) -- "I am his father!" -- in a bar. I hear that Nic Cage was actually drunk when he did this scene.

Augusten Burroughs in the book Dry. Aside from myriad other serious problems, in one of the first scenes of the book, he somehow ends up in a karaoke bar in Manhattan in the wee morning hours, belting out tunes he never would have sung in "real" life. Been there, done that. Sometimes without the alcohol.

I think that the women in pop culture who are portrayed as drunks are also portrayed as sluts -- and I don't feel that's the case in real life. Here's why I don't relate to the women drunks in pop culture:

Sandra Bullock in the movie 28 Days. I'm not going to lie -- I've watched this movie at least five times. My favorite line is "I'm a journalist. I drink." Nice. But there are too many come-to-Jesus, sincere moments, and not enough resistance on her part. There's no way a hard-boiled journalist would have taken this program seriously, especially after only 28 days.

Judith Light in some horrible Oxygen movie that I can't remember. She played a physically abusive wife to Peter Sellers or some similar actor, and she'd drink white wine (seriously? just white wine?) and begin to beat him as he slept, beginning with the phrase, "You were never theeere for meeee!" Um, yeah, no.

Marcia Cross in Desperate Housewives. Does anyone honestly believe Bree is an alcoholic? Even her blackouts look fake. And off of white wine? Thank you. Case closed.

Tara Reid in Taradise. I'd slam her, but I'm a little afraid I'll end up like her, tanked off my ass at Sea World. Okay, maybe I wouldn't do that, exactly but she's a minor tragic figure no one wants to be compared to.

Helen Hunt in Pay It Forward. I don't think anyone would believe Helen Hunt as a drunk.

But here are the women drunks I can get behind:

Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman. I like the honest smoking. I like the honest drinking. I like the, "I'm worried I'm not going to be fun anymore." Good line. Also: Love Meg yelling out the window, three sheets to the wind, at her neighbors, "Some people are trying to have sex in here!" And also, to her rakish costar, Andy Garcia, "Ask me how much I want to drink right now."

Parker Posey in Broken English, a performance that I'd mandate win an Oscar if I were two-thirds of the academy. She's a single New York woman -- thin, drinking bottles of wine alone, smoking (God, I miss smoking), and hoping for someone who will see her good heart.

Please add your own thoughts in the comments, if you feel so inclined.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tune in Tonight...

Switch on your newfangled internet radios TONIGHT at 9 p.m. EST to hear the Doc and I rock it out on Dr. Blogstein's Radio Happy Hour -- and play the infamous "would you rather" game with the author of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. Also: Check out the live online forums so you can dish during the live show. Be there or be square.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy Hour

I went to the Bar that Shall Not Be Named last night after work in order to down a couple of Miller Lite drafts and promptly fall into my bed. It's tricky, though, going to the Bar that Shall Not Be Named by myself, namely because I tend to attract lonely, well-meaning old-timers.

I had a beer all on my own, in blissful silence, and then a well-dressed, silver-haired man carrying a glass of Chardonnay stepped into the bar from the patio, stumbling, drunk, into the doorjamb as he crossed the threshold.

I immediately said to myself, "This is going to be my drinking buddy for the night." And, sure enough, he sat down right next to me, and before I knew it, we were deep into a discussion about 20th-century novelists. I like to think that under my neuroses, there's something calm about me that makes older men gravitate to barstools near me. Or, you know, maybe they just aren't that picky and are attracted to my shiny blond hair. But I prefer the former explanation.

His name was Tom. He said he was 55, but I would have pegged him for 62. It felt very Mad Men, our smooth cameraderie and talk about work and careers and goals. (If this were the show, and not a dive bar in Midtown, I would have been Joan, easy.) Our conversation veered toward relationships, because all conversations had at a bar past 11 p.m. veer toward relationships. He filed for divorce from his wife after 29 years together, he said. They had a happy 11 years, and then they had kids. Eighteen years later, they looked at each other and said, "Who the hell are you?" (His words.)

Maybe I looked like a deer in headlights, frightened of this thing that could easily happen to any couple, or maybe I just nodded at him to go on, but this is the next thing he said to me: "Here's my advice for keeping a marriage together: Have sex all the time. Fuck the kids." It was a poor choice of words on his part, but I got the point. He continued. "Not just sex, but movies, walks. You forget those things when you're raising kids."

We talked more, but that was the salient part of the conversation: the urgency he felt in telling me -- telling anyone -- how to avoid what had happened to him.

He then told me about his German girlfriend, 15 years his junior. He told me he buys her things -- jewelry, clothes, dinners, whatever she wants. I was suspicious of that -- his watch didn't look expensive enough. But he said the one thing she won't do is have sex in their car, in the parking garage, after he buys her jewelry. Should I have been offended? Maybe. But I got the sense that this genuinely bothered him. And, after all, it was sort of a quid pro quo: I buy you a $12,000 necklace, and you give me...what? So I took him seriously. Maybe I shouldn't have. But here's what I told him:

If you want a woman to do something for you, make her think she's working for it. Over dinner, tell her, "There's something I've been wanting to do and -- no, I'm sorry. I can't tell you." She'll then try and pry it out of you. Resist as long as possible. Use the bread basket as distraction. Refuse to tell her, and act embarrassed if she presses. Then, finally, after a good half-hour, hour, or half-day, relent. After you tell her your fantasy, say, "And the strange part is, I've only thought about doing this with you. The thought didn't cross my mind until we were together." Sold. Close the deal. She's yours. Aaaaand you're welcome.

Tom paid for all of my drinks, even the ones I had had before he got there; he also made a drunken yet valiant attempt to pick up the cute 23-year-old British bartender for me (no thanks, Tom -- been there and done that at the Bar that Shall Not Be Named); and then, before I left, he slurred, "So, do you want to fuck?" Again, I know that most women would have been offended. Maybe I should have been. But part of me knew that for this guy, it was most likely something he felt he should do -- something old-school that's required of you when you buy dames drinks. I declined. Of course I did. He knew I would, and he seemed relieved when I laughed and said no. We hugged goodbye.

After I left, I thought, "This is what bars can be in New York. Two strangers from opposite ends of the social/financial spectrum, sharing drinks and good -- if not slightly racy -- conversation instead of sitting in their apartments alone."

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Obsession without Pity

I enjoy rediscovering Television Without Pity when I get obsessed with a new TV show. If I recall, the only shows that have inspired me to scour the well-written and funny TWOP recaps and near-obsessive message boards are Lost and Mad Men.

And, oh, do I love me some Mad Men. That's what I spent my downtime at work doing today: Reading the TWOP recap and message boards of my favorite episode: "The Hobo Code." The opening scene is the hottest sex scene I've seen on television, um, ever...especially since watching the characters of Pete and Peggy interact is occasionally so relatable it's creepy. (Slimy ad exec Pete bears not a passing resemblance to a certain ex of mine, both in looks and disposition.)

Mad Men was created by brilliant Sopranos writer/executive producer Matthew Weiner, and one of the things I most appreciate about the show is its attention to detail -- how a cigarette dispenser can take on an almost lifelike quality (there was a good Times article about this) or how a certain hairdo or dress on a character can reveal so much about her. They even mentioned one of my favorite books (and the indirect source of my photo up top), The Best of Everything, in one episode. You can find a bunch of fun trivia about the show and the inspiration for some of the locations, furniture, clothing, etc. on AMC's website. And that the storyline and characters are nuanced and well-thought-out goes without saying. When this season ends, I am going to feel the void.

I like to joke, sometimes, that the show is taking over my life: I recently ordered my very first dirty martini, because I was inspired by a restaurant scene in the show; I'm ogling this vintage-feel J. Crew dress; and up next in my Netflix queue is the classic flick The Apartment, which was just mentioned on a recent MM episode. As Ace Ventura said, "Obsess much?" Eh, maybe. But when a show's this good, sometimes you have to let yourself get swept away.

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We Can't Know

As I was leaving my workplace at 12:30 a.m. tonight, my fried brain could only muster one thought as I walked out of the building and past a nearby record store:

Why is Matchbox Twenty still making albums?

In unrelated news, while I'm working to put food on the table, be sure to tune in TONIGHT at 9 p.m. EST to Dr. Blogstein's Radio Happy Hour. The inimitable and wildly talented Dangerous Lee will doing the co-host thing in my place, and the lineup looks as entertaining as usual: a comedian, rappers, and maybe an (American) footballer. Enjoy, and I'll be back next week.

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