Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Quiz

This is great fun: What Alcoholic Drink Are You?

Here's what I scored:

You Are Whiskey
You're a tough drinker, and you take it like a man
That means no girly drinks for you - even if you are a girl
You prefer a cold, hard drink at the end of the day
Every day, in fact. And make that a few.

Is anyone surprised by my score? Didn't think so.

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A Mini-Rant about Dating

I used to really love dating. I loved the getting-ready process of translucent-powder clouds and curling irons, loved the expensive drinks, loved the restaurant food, loved the awkward getting-to-know-you conversation. I especially loved when the 22-year-olds I'd go out with would wear too much cologne and order things I'd never tried, like scallops, and this would impress me a great deal. After my most recent breakup, I was excited to get back into the dating scene, especially since my palate has expanded beyond those mysterious scallops and now includes things like beef carpaccio and montepulciano. Yeah, I know what those food items are now. I know a bit about the world now. And do y'all know what that means? It means that dating sucks.

I'm in my late 20s now, and my bullshit meter has, unfortunately, been near-fully developed. I know when a guy's feeding me a line, I know when a guy is dumber than concrete, and I know when it's obvious that there's going to be no connection beyond the identical cocktails we've ordered. That makes dating this weird game of Plinko (God bless Bob Barker, may his legend live on). If the guy-chip falls in a slot that's not a zero, but it's not exactly the $10,000 spot on the board, do you keep going? Or do you stop, tell Bob you're done, and walk away with whatever lame La-Z-Boy (or two glasses of sangria) you've managed to score before you even started playing?

The problem with dating is things are never as cut and dried as they are on The Price is Right. Maybe you need an ego boost because you just found out your ex is happier without you. Or maybe it's been a while since anyone has touched your arm meaningfully while referencing a band/book/city you love. Or maybe you're afraid of the future -- either the success that being single might bring to your career or the irrational threat of being one of those New York cat ladies who run the risk of not being found by anyone until three days after they've already died. It's cliche, but that'll strike fear in the heart of pretty much any red-blooded New York woman (or man?), whether she (he?) wants to admit it or not.

I wonder, sometimes, if a true connection is what we're all looking for, or if convenience and timing meld together to make a "good enough" that flies. Maybe it's a little of both?

Gawker mocked this Metafilter post today, but I liked its honesty. As a newly single gal, I wanna know how to pick up guys, too, and I think most chicks do. It would be a lot easier to do so if society didn't mandate that I feel some sort of connection with a dude before asking him back to my boudoir. (Um, not that I would do that anyway, you hear me, male readers? Okay.)

I don't feel hopeless. I also know that I'm not dating Justin-Bobby or any of his ilk, thank God. I Those boys are not for dating; they're just for fun -- I learned that back in '03. But that knowledge doesn't make this romance mystery easier. If anything, it makes it more of a game than dating already is. It's when the non-Justin-Bobbys disappoint that can feel especially unfortunate.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Links You'll Hate to Laugh At




Sunday, August 26, 2007


I went to Vermont this weekend on a last-minute getaway with a girlfriend of mine. I went mountain biking for the first time (I didn't even wipe out -- not once!), drank a lot of local beer, and became one with various types of cheese. We drove through back through the hills of Vermont, mountain wind blowing our hair in all directions, good indie music on the stereo, and the city still far, far away.

The blessing of the weekend was not being anywhere near my cell phone or my computer, so I couldn't obsessively check my voice mail, my text messages, my e-mail, my online dating profile, or Of course, as soon as I returned home (relaxed, refreshed, and feeling generally great), I turned my computer on.

Now, I know I'm not supposed to stalk people via MySpace, but morons who don't set their profiles to "private" make it so easy. I decided to take a spin over to the Brazilian bartender's profile just to see what was up -- what inane comments his theater buddies have made on his page or whether he's back with his tiny actress girlfriend. Maybe some hot goss about the Bar that Shall Not Be Named. I was expecting any of that.

But I was not expecting to see that he changed his sexual orientation from "straight" to "no answer."

The Brazilian bartender is gay.

The last time Dr. Blogstein and I were out boozing it up (as we're known to do), I was whining about my love life, and he said, "You show me the guy who doesn't like you, and I will show you his boyfriend."

As much as I hate to admit it, Blogstein was right.

Jane, welcome back to New York: a city where the cutest boys are gay and Blogstein is all-knowing. Maybe I should see about moving to Vermont....

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pet Peeve

If there's one thing that irks me more than someone calling Barnes & Noble bookstore "Barnes and Nobles," it's when people speak to each other in a foreign language right in front of me. Now, don't get me wrong: It's one thing if you're a family shopping for groceries in Costco and speaking to each other in a foreign language, but it's quite another when I'm trying to rent an apartment in New York in my early twenties in 2004 at a ridiculously overpriced firm, and my broker and his assistant are speaking to each other about the transaction (and, ostensibly, me) behind the desk as I sit there like an idiot, realizing they're probably calling me a sucker to my face.

Roomie is now eating dinner in the kitchen with a relatively attractive and polite-seeming Italian man, whom I did not know would be coming over until this evening. Like an understanding roommate, I've shut myself in my room most of the evening to give her her privacy. When my bladder would hold out no longer from the three to four glasses of chianti I've poured into it tonight, I walked outside of my room to use the restroom. Yeah, I probably wasn't as lucid as I could have been, but I managed to do introductions without falling down or slurring, so, for me, that qualifies as a well-behaved evening. As I was in the restroom, I heard them speaking to one another in Italian. This is what I imagined them saying:

Roomie: Don't mind her. She's a bit of a drunk. Well-meaning girl, though. Pays the rent on time and buys toilet paper when I ask her to. She goes to bars a lot...and I mean a LOT. But as long as she keeps her undesirable men out of this apartment, I'm fine with it. Lovely pasta, by the way.

Italian guy: I had a roommate in Italy who liked the drink. He peed in my expensive leather satchel in the middle of the night.

Roomie: Hahahahaha! You Italians are so witty and charming. May I have some more wine?

When I go to the Bar that Shall Not Be Named, my Brazilian bartender/actor speaks Portuguese behind the bar to his shady, womanizing Brazilian friend. This is what I imagine them saying:

Brazilian bartender/actor: Jane's back again.

Womanizing friend: You should ask her back with you. She clearly wants you. Or give her...TO ME.

Brazilian bartender/actor: But she's had 13 Miller Lites tonight, and, frankly, she's a bit of old news around this joint, yes? And I'm more interested in the girl who taught my self-reflection class today at the academy. Maybe she'd like to take a ride on my motor scooter.

Womanizing friend: Maybe you can use Jane to get to her roommate.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Reinventing the Girl

I'm drawn to bartenders and actors like a fly is drawn to honey, so it didn't surprise me when I found myself having a nice chat with a young British actor boy at the Bar that Shall Not Be Named on Saturday night. Despite the fact that I think I insulted him when I predicted that his career trajectory would be akin to a Baldwin brother's (if he got that lucky), he was nice to me.

"What's the matter?" he said after a while, as my gaze boozily drifted off into space.

I paused. Then I abruptly swiveled around in my stool to face him dead-on.

"Okay. You want to know what the matter is?" I said. "I've met all of the goals I had for myself as a little girl, and now I don't know what to do next."

This is usually the line that sends guys scrambling for the door -- or at least the next blonde over. But this British boy was different, for some reason. He asked my Brazilian bartender of yore for a scrap of paper from the cash register tape and set about to scribbling with a blue pen. Then he handed the note to me. Here is what it said:



-Google & read "Desiderata"
-Get & read "The Law of Attraction"

See you next week!!

His "plan" was so incredibly sweet and young and optimistic and well-meaning that I had to keep the piece of paper, and I had to at least do some Googling to find out what the hell he was talking about. There's no way I'm going to spend my money on Law of Attraction, because I refuse to suspend my disbelief long enough to buy into notions like "good energy" and "bad energy" and "vibrations," etc. I think books like that (see: The Secret) are bullshit money-making schemes -- peddling half-baked psychological ideas to the weak and stupid who are willing to slap a credit card on the counter in exchange for a glimmer of hope. But I did find "Desiderata" online, and I liked it. It was enough to make me think and make me smile for two seconds today, so I'm posting it here for you guys to read. I hope you enjoy it for at least as long as I did:

by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Literary Life

I went to Rob the Bouncer's reading tonight at the Chelsea Barnes & Noble. I adore his blog, Clublife, so I wanted to go and support him as he makes his way into the literary world with his new book. He was completely adorable and sincere, and I wish him the best of luck in all his future writing endeavors.

But you know what the best/worst part of the evening was? Halfway through the reading/Q&A session, this douchebag that I've mentioned before on this blog (he also goes to my gym) sits down RIGHT NEXT TO ME, wearing the official jerk uniform of a blue shirt and flaming pink tie and crossing his left leg over his right in a manner that causes me to not only move all of my possessions one foot to the left, but also scrunch up in my seat as if I did not exist.

Then, the d-bag predictably asked two insanely dumb questions after missing the whole first half of Rob's presentation. The first had been asked already. (Of course.) For the second, he attempted to mock the "guidos" that Rob often speaks about by asking his question in a dumb-guido-like way: "Yo, so, what's the weirdest thing you ever did for money? Yo." Rob looked appropriately mystified. "Um, listen to that question?" he said. Perrrrrr-fect. That made me adore Rob even more. What made me hate the d-bag even more was his clarification of his question: "So, if I wanted to take a girl into the bathroom and have you look the other way, what would that cost?"


I am a New York woman. I've been propositioned, talked dirty to, insulted, harrassed. But this? This was vulgar. My eyes wide as saucers, I listened as Rob gave a somewhat intelligent answer to this horrid, horrid question.

The worst part? The d-bag recognizes me now. He actually nodded at me as he sat down. We've seen each other a total of three times (four, if you count when I saw him on the reality TV show). Out of allllllll the men in the city -- the hotties I can't muster the courage to talk to, the sweet-looking young boys on the train I occasionally make eyes at -- this is the guy the universe gives me to run into time and time again until he knows who I am? What did I do to deserve this?

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Off the Wagon

Here in the city, there's actually a bar named Off the Wagon, so maybe I should have gone there for my inaugural drink last weekend. Instead, I celebrated seven days of sobriety at a new Irish pub in my 'hood (not my usual hangout, the Bar that Shall Not Be Named) that has karaoke on Sundays. I sipped my Bud Light draft(s), chatted up some interesting fellows at the bar, including a fabulously good-looking chef, and sang the following songs:

"Black Velvet," by Alannah Myles
"My Favorite Mistake," by Sheryl Crow
"Why," by Annie Lennox (kind of a downer, but the crowd was sweet and attentive nonetheless)
"Don't Stop Believin'," by Journey

I felt my night was a rousing success and a fantastic entree back into the world of booze. It's my goal to respect the drink -- to harness its power and keep the abuse to a minimum. In the week that I've returned to drinking, I've only done a couple of dumb things -- namely frequenting the Bar that Shall Not Be Named a couple of times and sending some ill-advised text messages to a certain Brazilian bartender who's not having any of it.

But I'm working at getting past this awkward life stage.

I am trying -- as hard as possible, after this breakup and during this new life that I'm carving out for myself -- to be normal, which, for me, Jane, is sometimes hard. Much like the drink, I'm learning to respect my individuality and my quirkiness -- to understand when it works for me and cut it off when I go into overdrive. It's exciting, being single: I have new interests and new likes that I'm not sure would have been possible had life not been stripped down to its barest: just me.

So (because I'm such a huge fan of lists) here is what I'm digging right now -- what I've discovered now that I'm on my own and learning to get along with that:

New favorite bar: the Russian Vodka Room
- Stepping inside is like transporting yourself into the 1940s -- or the 1950s, at the very latest. They have a piano player who sings songs in Russian and a sweet veteran female bartender who will bring you a new drink, no questions asked, if you accidentally spill yours. (Not that I would know this firsthand.)

New favorite musician: Feist
- Check her out on iTunes. I'm listening to her newest album for the first time as I type this, and it's fantastic.

Old favorite musician who's going to blow up huge in no time flat: Sara Bareilles
- I saw her at the Bowery Ballroom a couple of weeks ago, and she's rapidly developing a fanbase that will preclude her from appearing at any more small venues for the rest of her career. I'm happy for her, but I'm sad that she's not my obscure little piano gal anymore. She's opening for Maroon 5 this summer, and I consider that a nail in the indie coffin.

New favorite vacation destination: Miami
- Can't remember the last time I took a vacation that didn't involve going to see relatives. A girlfriend from work and I are buying our tickets tomorrow for a trip to a place I've only fantasized about going. And the hotel looks beautiful and inviting.

New favorite TV show: Mad Men
- There are so many amazing things about this show that I can't enumerate them all here. This is AMC's original series about Madison Avenue ad execs in 1960, and it leaves nothing untouched, including the rampant sexism and racism of the period. Love the costumes, love the actors, love everything about it. It reminds me a little of one of my favorite books, The Best of Everything.

What fun things are you guys obsessed with right now? Do share if you feel so inclined.

And, of course, listen to Blogstein and me keep on rockin' in the free world Tuesday night at 9 on Blog Talk Radio. We'll be expecting you, so show up on time, pen and paper in hand, ready to take notes.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Songs to Drink To

Okay, so we already did breakup songs. Check and double-check on that one. But now, since I've been (sort of) happily sober for five-plus days now, I think we need a list of drinkin' songs. Here's what I've got so far. What am I missing?

1. "Sober," by Tool (Dear Lord, I love this song.)

2. "Rehab," by Amy Winehouse

3. "One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer," by John Lee Hooker

4. "Spill the Wine," by War

5. "I Drink Alone," by George Thorogood and the Destroyers

6. "I'm Drunk Again," by Hank Williams Sr. (though I prefer the Hank Williams III version)

7. "Family Tradition," by Hank Williams Jr.

8. "Gin and Juice," by Snoop Doggy Dogg

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

On the Wagon

So, um, some of you who read this blog on a semi-regular to regular basis may have noticed that I enjoy the drinking. And by "enjoy" I mean "love." In a good way, of course. A genial way. A totally not trashy-and-yelling-at-bartenders way. Really.

Despite that, due to several drunken...shall we say "incidents" this past weekend, I've decided, dear readers, to put myself on the wagon. For how long? Dunno. I've been dry since Monday. Here's hoping I can make it until Sunday at least.

Here are a few thoughts I've had about being a drunk girl who's trying to stay dry, holding fast to that last little plank of the wooden wagon before a nail gives way and I tumbles onto the red clay:

-When you make a pledge to "not drink," "drinking" becomes one of the only thoughts in your head, even if you've only previously drunk on weekends. Ordering a sandwich at the deli? A beer would go great with this ham on rye. Stressed at work? Lord, I need a shot of Jack. Have a spare 30 minutes in your schedule? Man, the bar would be a great place to kill some time.

-When you're a drinker who makes a temporary sober pledge, it becomes your mission to tell everyone, regardless of whether they care. A coworker of mine asked me if I wanted a beer the other night (we have a pretty laid-back work environment). I could have easily said, "No thanks, man." What I did say -- quite happily and brightly, I might add -- was, "No thanks! I'm on the wagon!" and then I actually skipped away.

-Even if you're holding a nonalcoholic beverage, you shotgun it. I was at a bar with my buddy the other night after a concert, and I was swilling that Diet Coke like it was the lifeblood that would sustain me. He finished his whiskey and soda, and I said, "I'd be happy to get another with you." And another crisp, clean DC with lemon I sure did order, and I downed it within minutes.

-"Sober" can mean "time ticks by like it's molassses." I think to myself, as I'm home and clean at 10 p.m. on a Thursday night, that I would normally be into the wine or into the Bud Light or into a deep, drunken conversation. And then I have another thought: This is where my novel has gone.

Maybe these non-drinkers are onto something...?

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