Saturday, May 28, 2011

Like A Bad Episode Of "Mad Men."

So, that new little widgety thing at the top of the page there, where it says "I Majored In Creative Writing, Why?" and has a donation tab? That's not spam, or an extremely fitting ad. That's what happens when your parents are supportive of your dreams and don't stop you from graduating with a B.S in Writing and no job. So, if you, dear readers, happen to be a little more flush than I am, and enjoy reading what I put up here, throw a couple of dollars at me, and help keep me off the streets and instead, pounding them and the parties and lives of the influential, funny people and writing interesting, informative, and sarcastic little witty things for you to read and be entertained by. Thank you, very, very much, in advance. (My adorable little cat who relies on me for food, shelter, and litter thanks you too, as he has grown very used to being kept in the manner of someone whose housing used to be paid for by college scholarships and is no longer.)

In other news, I am at the S.O's condo all evening, trying to polish off this extremely arduous next Vermont Commons magazine column (which resulted earlier in me cleaning said condo during a bout of writer's block), and roasting a whole chicken, potatoes, and carrots so that the S.O will have dinner when he gets home from work. With a nice bottle of Italian white wine, perfectly aerated. (Italy was possibly the best finishing school I could have ever been sent to. Cooking lessons, everything there is to know about good Italian wines and liquor, and how to extricate myself from a very vehement European would-be Don Juan while hurting no one's feelings. Now, THAT'S an education for you; you can hold my B.S!)

Like I said, between that, and listening to him and his friends talk business in posh bars while getting quietly drunk in the corner of the table, what is this, the freaking '50s again?

But no, babe, I love it, really! (Now would be a good time to let y'all know he reads SATCG, so, if you want to know if he has any cute, similarly considerate and funny, single friends [which he does], now would be a good time to send a shout-out in the comments section! Or just for doing a great job all around at keeping me occupied and happy.)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Attack Of The Pod People.

My childhood best friend is getting married shortly (a June wedding; classic, of course). Despite the fact that we've been largely out of touch for the past few years, my family and I were still invited. My dad bowed out-- weddings aren't exactly his thing-- but my S.O gamely agreed to be my date, anyhow. What startled me the most about these upcoming nuptials wasn't the fact that I actually have a date to a wedding; it wasn't that my childhood best friend, one year older than I, was getting married; it was, rather, the fact that I remember sneaking downstairs for midnight snacks with her in 5th grade, laying on the carpet on our backs in front of the drink cart in my parent's dining room, and planning out her wedding. That's when it hit me as I read her wedding invitation and RSVP card--

We're not playing little-girl games anymore.

And it shows. Lately, I've been feeling a sort of shift in myself and my desires in relationships that I thought was imperceptible to everyone but myself, until in the eyes of my first college roommate, I finally saw reflected a very different vision than the college freshman who used to slink back into our cramped dorm room ashamedly at 2 AM from her forays in the RA’s room, sex hair rampant. I was poised. I was graduating. I was in a functional, happy, mature relationship that was defined by the both of us in accordance of what we wanted, what we needed, and what we were looking for from each other. I was—Jesus Christ—in love. What shocked me most was when she commented after I told her that my current relationship was making me realize how much the past, less-serious relationships I had been in irked me in their undefined, let's-just-see-where-this-takes-us-before-one-or-both-of-us-abruptly-jump-ship, laissez-faire attitudes, "I've seen how you've struggled and been hurt, even when you said you didn't want anything that was serious, because I knew you'd figure it out for yourself, one day."

Me? Actually be one of those girls her likes her relationships done defined with a side of seriousness, going in a positive, delineated fashion? Mais, non!

Mais, oui! As we stood on the corner of Church Street and Main last night, my S.O referred to me in passing to his friend as "my girlfriend." And that's when I realized-- I haven't had a guy call me his "girlfriend" since I was a junior in high school, and that's also the same guy who ended up proposing to me. Since then, I've been "my friend," "the girl I'm seeing," "the girl I'm sleeping with," or just plain "Carissa," but never the "girlfriend." Until now, when I've met the family and keep my pear-and-sugar exfoliating scrub in his shower and have brought him back to my hometown. It makes me wonder if all of this-- the meeting of the families, the mature partnership and cohabitation, the giving of solid, concrete titles, the endeavoring to actually, I don't know, BE TOGETHER-- was what was missing in the rest of my relationships, and thus, why they all ended up failing. While watching an episode of SATC yesterday, it brought up the question: If men and women are like cabs, cruising around with our lights off while we pick up and discard all sorts of people until we finally decide the time is right-- post-college, post-nearly a decade of dating debacles, post-living abroad, and now, pre-friend-in-the-same-age-group's weddings-- are our lights now suddenly on?

While pop culture knowledge may say that I should now be desperately plotting how to wrangle a man into my marriage bed now that my friends are starting to say their "I do"s, I say "I don't"; I may not be on the fast-track to engagement or marriage (the only thing I like about engagements is the ring, because I adore diamonds, and the only reason I'd really like to get married is to put my Star Wars-themed wedding plans into action; both of which don't quite seem like good enough reasons to do either), but there are some disturbing signs pointing to the fact that I may, quite possibly, be one of those "pod people" types who is actually happy inside of her relationship, just the way it is. You know, those couples who are always together, just happen to end up wearing matching outfits, and constantly use the word "we" all the time? You know, pod people. "We" people. "'We' went here," "'We' did that," people. But then I rolled over this morning, and suddenly realized the novel "Chasing Harry Winston" by Lauren Weisberger was on top of my reading pile, while "The Bridesmaids" was on my Movies-To-See List, and my mother and I had recently debated the choice of my childhood best friend having her reception at The Legion and the S.O and I had ended up in front of the engagement display, comparing tastes, while on a trip to Periwinkles to find him a watch. I started getting suspicious. Maybe I was getting antsy. Meanwhile, in the formulation and brainstorming process of writing this post and getting into the "wedding" frame of mind, I've been trolling countless big-name jeweler sites, ring-watching. (If you don't think it's not a competitive sport for women, guess again.) And until I found this ring on Harry Winston's site, which isn't even an engagement ring, I was rather lackadaisical about the whole thing. Still no real drive to hear wedding bells. Still entirely loathe to put together a guest list (my own personal nightmare). And then, I saw the ring. Imagined what it could look like with a diamond crowning it, instead of a sapphire. Thought about how I could rope my father, a jeweler, into designing and making something similar. And I suddenly got it. The itch. The diamond fever. I realized that every relationship before now was wrong because we weren't on the same page. They were all in the casual lane while secretly, unbeknownst to even myself, I was in the "Skyscraper ring on my left ring finger" lane. I started wondering where I could find decent flower arrangements and a hot pink Gerber daisy bouquet. Then, I caught myself. I almost, unknowingly, without being on guard, let myself slip into the "we" people zone again. The diamond almost got me. While I may be the sort of girl who has rediscovered that she cherishes being called "the girlfriend," I'm still not the sort of girl who thinks picking place settings and napkin fabrics out is a good use of my time, when I could be, I don't know, catching up on all the new episodes of Sons of Anarchy or creating a new, catchy acronym for inappropriate relationships (P.I.W.B: Professor I Would Bang, anyone?). So, while I may be discovering, through my relationships, through my friends, and through myself, what sort of pod person I really am, I'm also still not overly tuned into my biological clock or life plan. It was all the ring. The fucking ring. Weddings. They're still on my "highly skeptical; treat as you would a leper patient" list.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name Is Still A Slut.

While my ex seems to be content with popping up on my cell phone's screen at all hours of the night, now plagued with a need to reconcile after all this radio silence, my S.O's ex didn't seemingly take to the news that he was seeing someone new so well, which has resulted in such jewels as "Makes more sense now; Carissa is a whore's name :)," popping up on HIS cell phone's screen.

I Googled. There seem to be no whores named Carissa. At least, none with websites or internet access.

While it's not the first time I've been called a whore-- let's be serious, this blog's name is "Sex and the College Girl," not, "Aeronautical Nuances of the 21st Century and How They Effected Young Women,"-- it still bothered me more than I thought it would. I think the hardest part for me is that I've been on both sides of the equation that I currently find myself in, and so, I have empathy for my S.O's ex, even if she did call me a slut. Her life was torn apart when she realized her ex had moved on and started seeing someone else, and I've been there, too. While she feels emotionally (and maybe physically) cheated on, I've also been both cheated on, as well as the cheatee, in previous relationships. All in all, it leads to a confusing war of emotions-- part of me wants to land a good right hook on her nose for calling me a whore when I have done absolutely nothing wrong (or whore-like,) while the other, greater, more Gandhi-like part of me wants to help comfort her and work her through this, since I have the knowledge and experience on how to survive something like this from before. If we were men, it would be so much easier. We'd have a good rough-and-tumble fist-fight, and then we'd be best bros. Instead, it all just gets to be awkward and I get to live in fear of opening his bathroom door after a shower, dripping wet, naked, and vulnerable, to find her standing there when I'm home alone at his place. Have I mentioned that she apparently has 8 inches on me? Yikes.

But maybe, it's not all so cut-and-dried. As I guiltily found out when the ex cheated on me, it's easy to hate someone you don't know. I was CONVINCED the girl he'd slept with was born with the express purpose to ruin my life, be a bitch, and look horrible in her Facebook profile photos. (There may have been many, many catty references to her resembling a wall-eyed bass. Not my finest moments.) But gradually, I started to realize that she probably A.) Had no idea I even existed, and B.) Was just looking for the same sort of love I was. Unfortunately, we were both looking for it from the same guy, but all the same, I couldn't fault her wanting her happy ending. And so, little by little, I started to forgive. The other day, thinking about her, about me, and about my S.O's ex in the current situation, I looked the ex's indiscretion up again. And you know what? She looked good. She looked happy. And not even the least little bit fishy. Maybe it had just all been me, being a cat-fish.

Then again, maybe it wasn't. The other night, at dinner, my S.O mentioned something inside-joke-like in passing about his mother, a different women than his father is currently seeing. I happened to be looking at his dad's girlfriend when he said it, and I saw a look flash across her face as quickly as it was then gone. But I recognized it. It's the same look ALL women, when the name of the woman who came before, or who they're afraid will come after, adopt as soon as the syllables hang in the span of air between mouth and ear. As I sat at our table in the dining room of the Woodstock Inn and looked at my S.O's father and his girlfriend, it hit me-- The ex-girlfriends of our past and present are only going to become the first, second, and ex-wives of our future. And it'll still be just as difficult, awkward, and confusing as it is now, so we just might as well get used to it, and get good at letting all the flack slide off of our shoulders. So here's to turning the other cheek and waiting for the day when she knows better than to think I'm actually a whore, or that I ever meant to hurt her. Because I, possibly more than most other girls, know both the exquisite pleasure AND pain that comes from these sort of relationships past-yet-still-present. I've been in those tight size 8 shoes, and it's not a fun trip, not in the least.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of A Relationship.

You do things for relationships that you normally wouldn't be caught dead doing, right? I mean, after all, we always hear about how "sacrifice" and "work" are the two hot-button words in the game of being a two-some. For some women, that means learning how many minutes are in a quarter of football (that's 15, if you were wondering,) and what player's names to scream at the TV. For others, it means learning how to dirty-talk, or indulging in that odd vinyl fetish. For me, it apparently means sacrificing life, limb, and new Urban Outfitters' dress. After watching a 20-something guy hammer a screwdriver into his motorcycle’s locked gas tank, I’m literally sitting here, writing this to you perched on top of an old black plastic milk crate, listening to a neighbor say “I took my dad’s bike to go meet my girlfriend in South Burlington; I met her in Kmart’s parking lot, ‘cause that’s where she was, Kmart…” Why? In the name of male bonding.

Now, there are three things I love, and three things I really, really love when in conjunction with each other: Men, beer, and oil grease. An elusive and usually sheltered sacred act, I found myself out of Burlington and in the wilds of Winooski after I was promised by the S.O some Steel Reserve and a chance to watch men physically pull apart a motorcycle; I jumped on that shit. But much like taking the pants off of a new beau after a Beergoogle Olympics night out at your local dive bar, I wasn’t ready for just how hairy things could get in a land where the Y chromosome had replaced a fun time for logic and was wailing away at a gas tank, cigarette dangling from lips. While any half-way intelligent person would be running for their life and diving behind the closest Jersey barrier, here I perch, on my milk crate, listening to four men talk about guns, bikes, engines, cigarettes, and penis length.

Well, maybe not penis length, but close enough. This could not get any manlier if Hulk Hogan suddenly showed up in a Ford F250 and promised to teach them all some top-secret wrestling moves and how to get into a scorecard girl’s booty shorts.

Any time when men and women coexist in a non-professional setting, a few differences between the genders become self-evident: 1.) Grooming techniques. 2.) Conversation topics. And 3.) What is really important and constitutes a good time. For women, these things include some strong drinks in martini glasses, the receipts from the last shopping trip’s spoils, and the latest gossip. For men, it seems to be beer, anything with an engine, and anything BUT gossip or recent headlines, possibly other than, “Did you hear about the Royal Wedding? Prince William—what a bitch now.” They ask about family, mutual friends, recent car accidents. They talk about the price of things—TVs, motorcycles, cars, cell phones. They compare the quality of beer, cigarettes, knives, bikes, cars, and housing. After three hours on this milk crate, I feel strongly in the validity of my statement when I say—men and women don’t like the same things. While my S.O and I both have subscriptions to GQ and I’ve watched him flip through the pages of my Cosmo, and we both have an affinity for expensive clothing and fine food, I have finally found an area in which I can’t follow him in—it seems to be, after all, a man’s world, and I suddenly feel like I should be asking if anyone wants me to make them a sandwich.

...Aaaaaaand my very white-collar boyfriend just craned his head around his shoulder, and spat. Oh yeah, Toto—we’re not in college or the Hill Section anymore. Time to get out of here.


How To Not Meet The Parents

After over 6 years of dating, NUMEROUS relationships, and both some long and short distance flings, I have finally managed to stop dodging the bullet, and put my Big Girl Pants on and met a guy's mother. Mostly, I managed to accomplish this tremendous feat of chicken-shit-ness by either A.) Dating guys without parents (read: orphans, foster kids, or extremely independent children of nasty divorces who moved out early and aren't really "family guys"), B.) Dating guys whose family's live far enough away that it wasn't an issue or even topic to broach (read: Vermont to Virginia, hundreds of miles, etc.), or C.) Dating men who had no interest in either keeping me around long enough to deign meeting their parents a possibility, or dating guys who just didn't give a shit about the whole parent/family/girlfriend/girl-he's-sleeping-with equation. Mostly, it worked for me. The closest I actually ever came to suiting up for parental battle was agreeing to go to a potential dinner with TGIS's dad after we'd been together for 5 months, but mostly, that was because he was a foodie as well and I thought he and I would have no chance in hell that we WOULDN'T hit it off over our steak frites and vino.

Now, other than the occasional foodie daddy, I feel a couple ways about meeting parents, and in particular mothers, because when you think about it, fathers are just really grown up men, and I tend to do really well with men. We get each other. We have similar senses of humor. In general, I tend to know what a guy is looking for from me in terms of behavior, conversation, attitude, etc. Women, however, are a whole different barrel of slippery eels. Women are fickle, fickle creatures (and I should know, being one of them,) and if a woman decides she doesn't want to like you, not even an injunction from GOD is going to make her suddenly change her mind and give you the time of day. But with mothers-- MOTHERS-- here's the deal:

Mother-Law #1: If given the choice between meeting someone's mother or a psychotic ax-murderer in the darkness of my apartment hallway late at night while home alone, I would take the ax-murderer GLADLY, because one of those, you can kill in self-defense, where as no matter how badly it goes with the other, you can't.

Mother-Law #2: Now, if (god forbid,) I were to ever have a son, and he were to somehow make it to the appropriate ages for dating and copulation himself, and if he were to be charming and intelligent and pretty much all-around my child, and were to bring a girl home for me to meet, as she would be telling me how nice it was to meet me and how much she's heard about me and what a lovely home I had!, all I would be thinking is, "yeah, yeah, and all those nice words are coming out of the same mouth that sucks my baby boy's dick."

In two bulleted points, THAT sums up how I feel about mothers, and why, in general, I've tried to avoid them. But, after being told, very gently, that I might as well get it over with in a no-pressure situation, I actually entered under the threshold of a mother's front door with her son. And made it back out alive. She was lovely. She thinks I'M lovely. And since then, I've met nearly the rest of his family, including my first over-night stay at a parent's house, and he's met MY immediate and extended family. And Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, everyone seems to be doing just fine. Who ever knew-- I am really capable of growing up and getting over my emotional bullshit.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Live, Single Girls!

After my third friend in a row was recently dumped by her long-time partner in lovin' crime, it started to put my ladies in the Burlington area in a bit of a panic. First, TGIS had gone MIA, then, one friend's 9+ month f-buddy called it quits on her while citing the need to emotionally distance himself before moving to Beantown, and to top it all off, one of the longest-running couples I knew decided it was time to part ways, effectively rendering everyone's general mood as if it were the end of Scrub's era again. At the beginning of the winter, everyone was shacking up. Now as the season is almost turning to summer, it seems as if they’re all shedding us ladies like winter coats and beards. It’s bizarre, but it’s biological.

When I came home a few weeks ago late at night/early that morning from a successful date #2, I realized then that I haven't been without at LEAST the prospect of a man for the last two years. I went from a summer fling to a feel-it-out situation, to breaking the feel-it-out situation when I slept with someone else who I then started an on-again, off-again relationship with for about a year, then finally ended up facing the music, the relationship's downfalls, and the lack of my desires being unfulfilled when I met and started hanging out with someone else, and just kept going from there. So much for being a "Single Girl." But it's not my fault-- there are men EVERYWHERE. The key to finding them, it seems, is to apparently not be looking for them.

While I may have achieved success (more or less,) in the really odd way of just continuing to date via the ex's friend pool-- not by choice; Vermont is just that small-- the lesson that I've learned here is that "the end" does not really start the sentence "the end of the rest of your romantic life." When I finally reached the conclusion on my own thanks to lack of any communication or response from him that my relationship with TGIS had run its course, I cheered myself up by doing two things-- remembering that he himself had been a random stranger I'd met while intoxicated at a party (true life,) and didn't remember until he popped up out of the blue and started talking to me on Facebook, ergo, that you NEVER know who'll you'll meet or click with, and secondly, taking my bed back by sleeping in the direct middle of it so it didn't feel quite so big and empty and pathetic and lonely anymore. (Wait, are we talking about me or my bed, now? Hmm.) Partially thanks to that, and partially thanks to probably my Zoloft prescription, it was the least painful break-up I've ever had, even though the relationship in itself was probably the most involved and serious to date.

And then I was asked out again out of the blue. I wasn't expecting it. It wasn't like I was planning on being a sex-kitten man-magnet right out of the emotional gate again. I actually intended to take some time off, be single, and re-evaluate myself and my life. But instead, I'm content to just feel things out, meet new people, and take things slow for now. Nothing, after all, is written in stone. Other, of course, than monuments, historical road signs, and castle dedications.

The other night, as the beau and I picked up the ingredients to make a late Sunday night dinner dressed in a motley assortment of "wow, laundry day needs to come soon" clothing, I looked across the self-check-out station at another young couple. He was in Timbz and sweats; she in jeggings, flip-flops, and an off-the-shoulder t-shirt that could have been identical to mine. She and I were bagging what was obviously going to be dinner for the night as the guys swiped it across the scanners, and suddenly, it hit me-- this isn't that weird; this is what people my age do. We date. We get in and out of relationships. We find out what we're looking for in a partner, and we adjust our thinking accordingly. So, while I may eternally feel like that Single Girl, what I really am is a Normal Girl, one who goes on dates, gets into relationships, still deals with her ex's drama, and more than anything else, is actively and eternally curious about learning what the words "love" and "relationship" really mean.



This is also a massive apology for the lack of posts in the past month-ish. Between my thesis, finals, Senior Week, graduation, family, my new relationship, finding a new apartment, and traveling, I've been more than a little tied up. However, I HAVE still been taking notes and writing, so be prepared for a slew of posts flooding your RSS feed. Thanks for all your continued support and kinds words in my Comments box; I can't tell you how appreciated they were and how much they meant to me!