Friday, August 14, 2009


I'm a fraud.

As I'm sure you all know (because I assume that your daily well-being hinges on being updated on my happenings), I'm in graduate school right now. I love the program I'm in, and I find myself constantly intellectually stimulated and challenged by my classmates, and I love that. It's swell, and they're honestly really cool people. Earlier this month, I spent two weeks at Goucher College, immersed in an intensive summer writing residency. It was a quirky juxtaposition of terribly draining and wonderfully energizing. It was also two weeks of being surrounded with completely brilliant, inspiring (albeit sometimes exhausting) writers. They love things like music, art, philosophy, big words, theoretical adventures, and asking just one more question at the end of a lecture. In many ways, I identified beautifully with them. In other ways, I did not.

What follows is my confession to my fellow graduate students. Please do not eject me from the program, throw rocks at my car, or smudge my lip gloss.

1. I would much rather read the latest issue of Cosmo than the latest issue of The New Yorker.
You hate me, don't you? But it's true. I am much more interested in giggling over first-time sex bloopers, having my most embarrassing beauty questions answered, or learning more ways to score a 6th consecutive orgasm than reading about Sotomayor's trials, the health-care debate, or a Russian road trip. I'M SORRY. I will be the first to criticize Cosmo's perpetuation of the horrible, mythical female ideology that exists in America. I know it's trash...but I still like to read it.

2. I don't listen to NPR.
Gasp. I don't like it. I've tried. The people have boring voices, and I just can't pay attention to them. I know I'm in the minority, and I'm aware that all self-respecting, liberal, hip people wake up and fall asleep to the sounds of NPR, but I just can't. AB listens to it all morning every weekend. During a lecture at school, one of our professors, Laura, was talking about her love of NPR. Let me explain...this woman is awesome. Laura Wexler is not cool. Cool is Laura Wexler. I digress--she mentioned that her alarm in the morning was set to NPR, so that's what she woke up to. Everyone chucked that "Oh yes, so do I" all-inclusive chuckle. I looked around, certain that I had some kind of heathen mark flashing above me. Stupid NPR.

3. I like listening to Britney Spears.
She's catchy. She's a beautiful disaster. She Did It Again.

4. Harry Potter rules.
He does. The past decade has given us some phenomenal literature. But J.K. Rowling made billions of people care so much about the fate of a fictional little boy that on the day it was released it sold a record-breaking 8.3 million copies. IN ONE DAY. I should know. I was there, with my friends at midnight, costumed in our homemade Harry Potter attire. I will probably read the entire Harry Potter series 10 or more times in my life. I will probably read Angela's Ashes one or two more times...although I love that book. My hypothetical children will be debating the virtue of Severus Snape as they put on their pajamas and settle in for storytime at night.

5. I generally have no idea what I'm doing.
I sometimes try to guess! But the truth is that I just love to write, and I actually feel like I'm pretty good at it (most days.) But as a rule, I'm kind of just bumbling along, trying to meet deadlines and not make a complete literary ass out of myself. Just a girl who sometimes likes to play in bathtubs at parties with her friends.


Thursday, August 6, 2009


Perhaps you have noticed that I haven't posted a new blog in quite some time. I suck, admittedly. In my defense, I've been immersed in an extremely intensive graduate program for the past two weeks, and hopefully will be able to apply some of what I'm learning to making this blog extra fun and awesome.

Or perhaps you haven't even noticed my blogtastic absence, in which case we need to sit down and have a serious discussion about your priorities.

In any case, my amazingly talented friend Christine has generously stepped up to save my online ass, and has written a witty, handy, practical blog that speaks on a multigenerational level. Please look for at least two blogs of my own next week (one about the surprising and beautiful simplicity of living with AB and another that will be a virtual confessional to my grad school colleagues), but until then, what follows is all Christine:

Wardrobe Professionalism: A Brief Guide to Faking It.

You can’t deny it: we’ve all had a shitty morning (or in some cases 5,284 shitty mornings) that we can blame on a number of circumstances such as: staying up too late talking to a friend on the west coast, drinking too much, general insomnia, closing down a gay bar with a karaoke rendition of Baby Got Back, accidentally sleeping with the TV and lights on, the extended release aspect of your Adderall refusing to stop releasing, forgetting to change your BlackBerry to silent mode causing it to violently vibrate on the nightstand when Saks randomly sends a late night email, deciding that listening to Britney Spears and Coldplay repeatedly at 3am is the cure for insomnia, Benadryl, staying up late because you just HAD to watch a rerun of Nancy Grace, taking the red-eye from Vegas and failing to schedule off work the day of your arrival, the alarm forgot to beep… you know the deal.

Ladies, let’s assess the situation: you have 20 minutes to look normal and don’t know where to begin. Here are some simple suggestions that will make these mornings seem less like giant case of armageddon:

• Pretend the Guinness Book of World Records is timing you for the fastest shower record. Everything is easier when you are clean. You cannot go wrong with a ponytail as long as it looks like it’s been brushed, straightened, or attended to with some other kind of minimal grooming… a 1875 watt hair dryer and a bit of product are handy at this stage of the process.
• Invest: You are employed and need to appear professional at your place of employment, so one would assume that you’ve managed to attain a level of responsibility that would involve you participating in some kind investment activity such as stocks, mutual funds… Well forget about that business because we’re focusing solely on looks in this brief guide. Invest in CLOTHING. If you work in an office environment and occasionally need to appear particularly professional, you absolutely must begin stockpiling blouses and dresses by Diane von Furstenberg. I don’t care if you lost every penny you own when the economy crashed or you are simply a shitty poker player. Put money in a piggy bank, wait for a sale at Nordstrom, toss some adult guilt in the direction of your parents so they pay, sell yourself on Craigslist…whatever it takes. Sure Diane von Furstenberg can sometimes be on the expensive end of the blouse industry but it’s worth the money - appropriate, classy, classic, dressy, flattering, consistent, stylish and most importantly easy. Next to your stockpile of Diane Von Furstenberg blouses there should be another stockpile of dressy, knee-length pencil skirts. Essential colors: dark denim (no stitched seams) and black. You need multiples of these colors because they will match every Diane Von Furstenberg blouse you own. Choosing an outfit will now only take 30 seconds of your life and will be successful regardless of your state of consciousness.
• Shoes with high heels are a vital part of this occasion. Bare feet are for pedicures, flip flops are for the beach and plastic is for working the pole at a strip club. These things have nothing to do with your morning so they should also have nothing to do with your choice of footwear. Owning several pair of ‘comfortable’ black heels and ‘comfortable’ fancy heels in fun colors are imperative. The litmus test for comfortability: the ability to run in aforementioned shoes regardless of obstacles including, but not limited to, brick sidewalks, blisters, stairs, etc. These shoes should be stored in an easily accessible area of your closet….now grab a pair and put them on your feet.
• Accessorize: Always keep a pair of earrings and matching bracelet in your purse or desk (or both) and sunglasses in your car. I recommend sunglasses of the large, dark variety. Morning people never forget to accessorize…and now neither will you.
• Side Note: In case you are having a bad morning and you are also completely incompetent, do not forget normal activities such as: brushing your teeth, wearing panties and a bra under your clothes, deodorant, perfume…

In conclusion, practice makes perfect. Practice also makes for numerous late nights and stressful mornings. You can decide whether or not that’s your thing. Now if only you didn’t have 8 minutes to battle traffic in an anxiety-ridden quest to reach an office, it would be the perfect time for a bloody Mary.