Go Ahead, Blacklist Me.

For a while I was really afraid to post stories about working in TV because I was concerned that I’d “blacklist” myself if I pissed off the wrong person. While that might be true, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t care anymore and some stories are meant to be told. This one isn’t even that bad, considering this woman made my life a living hell for about a year.

My first year working in Los Angeles as an “Executive Coordinator” entailed a lot more personal work than I expected. And very little Executive Coordinating. I was a glorified Personal Assistant at best- I didn’t make enough money to live on because my rate was laughably low (I believe it’s the current minimum wage, which is under scrutiny) and I was restricted to “40 hours per week” even though this still required me to promptly answer text messages, calls, and emails 24/7. And if you’re asking why I didn’t claim those hours, it’s because my boss extensively reviewed my work hours every week and occasionally argued me down if she thought the number was too high. Did the same thing for my gas mileage tracker, which I never lied on but was still accused of tracking my commute miles.

I genuinely believed this job would fast-track me on to becoming a television writer’s assistant. I was one of the many aspirational 21 year olds who believed the false promises made to them by unhappy people at the top who resent them for “being the future of the industry.” I trusted this person who claimed to see potential in me, I invested myself fully in this job even though it made me miserable and wasn’t remotely close to what I wanted to be doing with my life.

This silly story sticks out in my mind, just to give you an idea of how out of touch I was with reality. And maybe it will make you realize how out of touch with reality you are too. Because if you don’t see anything wrong with it, something is off.

My boss asked me to watch her two dogs on a Sunday in Beverly Hills while she went out and had fun with her friends. My ex-boyfriend and I decided we’d make a morning of it and go out for breakfast at Hugo’s in West Hollywood. Granted- I probably spent all of the money I earned in that day on my meal at Hugo’s… Not because Hugo’s is expensive but because that’s truly how little money I made. (Can I also note that I had no health insurance, PTO, government holidays, literally zero benefits other than the occasional free lunch that I had to pick up for myself and all others in the office in the heart of Beverly Hills where parking is basically a hazing ritual for the new folk?)

Anyway, at Hugo’s I ordered this intriguing frittata called the “Go Green Frittata” it was a massive GREEN egg bake with quinoa, kale, and other various green ruffagey shit. This was back when I was desperately trying to be skinny by eating nothing and prancing on ellipticals a few times per week. The thing was gargantuan and tasted mostly revolting but I ate it all. Would highly recommend that no one ever allow themselves to eat anything bright green for breakfast. You’re asking for a weird day. 

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(this is an actual image of the frittata at Hugo’s)

I was nursing a bit of a hangover because what else do you do when you’re 21, new to Los Angeles and your boyfriend is pretty much the only friend you have? You get hammered and lament your life choices. You also starve yourself slightly so that it takes less alcohol to get drunk and you can save money. On this particular morning I had the kind of hangover that came in waves of brief, sweaty, panicked, nausea. The kind I now can cure with my bff edible marijuana and an alarmingly long nap. 

We went back to take care of the dogs and watch a little NFL. Boyfriend had to be at work later that afternoon so I would drive him and then come back to the house. I felt my stomach get that cute little nauseousness so I spent the majority of the morning napping while he gave me emphatic highlights from the games we cared about.

When it came time to drive him to work, I was fully ill. At this time I was dealing with severe digestive problems and had no way of predicting how my body would react to unfamiliar foods. Almost every meal gave me trouble- but not this kind of trouble. Not Go Green Frittata trouble. I was sweating and could barely speak as we drove the 5 minutes to his office. He was concerned, because anyone who knows me knows that it’s an issue if I go 5 minutes without speaking. I pretended to be fine even though I could feel that unmistakable lump forming in the back of my throat, the one that firms up the esophagus in preparation for a boot and rally. 

Once I dropped him off, I genuinely worried I wouldn’t make it back to her house without barfing all over the interior of his new Ford Fusion. 

As I was rounding the corner onto my boss’s street, desperately gasping for air and blasting cold air conditioning breeze on my sweaty face, my cell phone rang and it was the boss.

I answered the line knowing I’d be in trouble (and she’d just keep calling) if I didn’t, and she immediately started barking demands at me. My stomach gave a violent churn as I hung up on her and made a drastic swerve to the side of the road in this bougie Beverly Hills neighborhood. I ran to the sidewalk, fell to my knees, and proceeded to vomit a massive green mound of quinoa, veggies, eggs and shreds of pancake. I’ve never thrown up so much in one sitting in my entire life. I can almost guarantee you a curious dog or a lucky raccoon made lunch out of it later that day.

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(Another gentle reminder of what the frittata looked like to begin with)

I stared into the vomit for a minute and realized that this was probably going to be very representative of my time in Los Angeles. Laugh at me if you want- but this was a profound moment. Here I was… Amidst million dollar homes in one of the world’s most famous neighborhoods, finally “pursuing my lifelong dream”, but actually just staring into a pile of my own bright green vomit. Hollywood, where (if you REALLY want it bad enough) your dreams come true… Right???

I got back in the car fully knowing my stomach was not emptied and the storm hadn’t cleared. But that didn’t matter- I had hung up on her.

“I’m so sorry- I had to pull over the car and throw up. What did you need?” I asked

“You actually threw up? Wow, good thing you weren’t driving my car.” She said, then quickly moved on as if I’d told her that I just sneezed on the steering wheel while driving. As if it wasn’t Sunday and I wasn’t spending my “free time” trapped in the apartment that had come to feel more like a prison than an “office.”

It was this moment where I realized that as much as MY life revolved around HER, I ceased to exist in her mind when I wasn’t doing something for her. I wasn’t a human to her. I was means to an end, something she could take advantage of with no remorse. There was no part of her that considered coming home early to relieve me of dog sitting so that I could go home and rest. There was no part of her that felt guilty that I spent the remainder of the day vomiting violently (and surprisingly painfully) into her various toilets while my boyfriend helplessly texted me from his office.

Tell me that this is what it takes to be successful in Los Angeles. Tell me that you have to “work in the trenches” before you can ever EARN the opportunity to do what you love. Tell me that I deserved to be emotionally abused and manipulated for a year, which amounted to approximately nothing other than teaching me never to trust what someone promises you. Tell me that I deserved to feel like I was never good enough and that I’d made the biggest mistake of my life by moving out here.

You can tell me any of that, I don’t agree with you. I don’t think I ever should have been treated that way and I don’t think ANYONE deserves to be treated that way. Yet this is just one tiny story in a catalogue of experiences I’ve had over the last four-plus years out here. And I’m just one person. There are hundreds of you out there still accepting this treatment because you believe some day you’ll get the chance to do what you love.

Consider if it’s really worth it. Consider the long term implications of this mentality. I wish I had stood up for myself sooner. I wish I had realized that no matter how shitty someone treated me that didn’t affect my personal worth. I’m still a writer, I’ll always be a writer, and no one can tell me otherwise. Please, if you’re going through anything similar, remind yourself that you’re worth more.

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(And for the love of all that is good in this world, please do yourself a favor and NEVER order this food item)

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Not a relevant image but it makes me giggle.

Insecurity Manifesto

On February 9th I remember feeling particularly horrible. It was one of those days where I didn’t necessarily know why I was so upset, but everything seemed to set me off. The biggest emotion I experienced was intense insecurity, just being incredibly unsatisfied with myself. I felt alone, afraid, and beaten down.

In the New Year I’ve tried to make it a priority to escape from these lows by finding strength within myself. I haven’t been great about that, I rely a lot on other people to help me out. It’s ok to depend on other people, but it’s essential to have a sense of stable security from within. On February 9th, I wrote up a “manifesto” of sorts to remind me of the things I wanted to change that were causing me to feel insecure.

I never planned on sharing this, but I’m feeling confident today. Very confident. I have worked on maybe 4 or 5 of the bullets on this list and I already notice progression in myself. While maybe this is a cheesy Seventeen-esque list, I figure if I can get some value out of it maybe someone else can too.

I have made progress with some of this, but there are several things on the list that I blatantly disregard on a daily basis. Change comes slowly but surely, and I’m optimistic. Oh did I really just say that? I feel optimistic? What a breath of fresh air!

Take a look at my list, and decide for yourself. You can follow mine, or you can make one for yourself. You don’t need to tell anyone, you don’t need to make any promises, just refer back to it once in a while to remind yourself what matters. Remind yourself what gets you to that negative place, put those reasons on your list and attack them.

Let’s fuck shit up, I say!

My Personal Insecurity Manifesto

  • I vow to communicate clearly and express my needs without fear
  • I vow to not invest time worrying about what people mean, but rather will listen to what they say
  • I vow to demand respect from a partner, sexual and romantic alike
  • I vow not to let the way a man treats me define how I go about my day and feel about myself
  • I vow to value myself and celebrate my strengths
  • I vow to stop calling myself an idiot when I make a mistake
  • I vow to stop apologizing when I’ve done nothing wrong
  • I vow to start taking the advice I would give to a best friend in my same situation
  • I vow to stop making exceptions for behavior that bothers me
  • I vow to stop placing my personal worth in the way others view me
  • I vow to stick to my priorities and quit shifting them to accommodate other people
  • I vow to recognize when I’m spreading myself too thin and make an effort to lighten the load in any way possible.
  • I vow to stop projecting my insecurities into my interactions with other people
  • I vow to acknowledge when I’m feeling lonely and learn to be okay with feeling that way
  • I vow to enjoy myself and be fully present when I’m with friends, not letting my mind drift to negative places
  • I vow to stop being so hard on myself when things don’t go the way I want them to
  • I vow to use my mistakes as learning experiences, rather than replaying them in my head over and over.
  • I vow to actually take action on my insecurity rather than pushing it aside
  • I vow to stop giving in to my vices to numb the pain I’m feeling
  • I vow to be patient when I slip up
  • I vow to make my self confidence a priority in my life

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A Comforting Exchange (I’m Listening to Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield rn I can’t lie.)

It’s nice to start off my day in a not shitty way, even if my definition of “not shitty” still includes me waking up in a cold sweat after having an unsatisfying sexual dream about former Bachelor lead Chris Soules. A dream that came at the end of a series of highly disturbing dreams, I might add. One of them my brother Kyle had an evil twin who was trying to slit his throat while Kyle played video games. The hard part was that I couldn’t tell which Kyle was Evil Kyle so I just watched. For more information on my fucked up dreams- shoot me a text. I’ll happily make you uncomfortable.

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(Definitely never going to be able to think of him the same way)

Full disclosure, I’m trying to teach myself how to properly wear makeup on a daily basis. When I say that, I specifically mean I’m trying to learn how to contour. Before you laugh, please realize that shit is highly complicated and the reason a lot of people look ridiculous when they attempt it is because it’s an artform. I honestly don’t think I’m doing it right yet, but I’ve covered up most of the failed effort using “bronzer powder” which just makes my skin smooth and sparkly like a Twilight-era vampire.

I had an extra half hour to do my facial reconstruction today, and since I don’t have a functional hairdryer I’m working with the “wet rat” base look. I went ham at TJ Maxx last week and bought a few contouring kits as well as bronzing powder, a blending sponge, and lipstick. Yes, lipstick. I have a lot to say about lipstick, we can talk about it later. Maybe on another post.

One of my contouring kits specifically outlines on the box exactly where to put each color and even includes a diagram. I have been strictly following this as if it were a bible, and to be honest I question its credibility as a few times I’ve just looked like a tribal warrior at the end of it. No doubt, I’m still missing a few steps (primer, tinted moisturizer, setting spray… etc) but I am in the process of learning and that’s what counts, right? I’m trying and eager as ever. About as eager as I am to finish off the remnants of whatever appetizer is on the dinner table in a large group, because I guarantee I didn’t get nearly enough of it.

Anyway. I showed up to work today with my experimental makeup look on, and immediately felt insecure. Not only because I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup, but also because I have no idea if I look ridiculous in this lighting as compared to the dim sea cave I call home. I realize that half the battle with feeling confident is appearing confident, but it’s hard to do that when there’s a serious possibility you look like you have dirt/soil/excrement smeared on your face.

I went up to order eggs and bacon in the staff cafeteria and immediately when I approached the chef, I got insecure. I was certain he was giving me a weird look, as he probably knows me as the weird girl who always asks for an extra egg and seems ashamed about it. (It’s true, I do emotionally need that extra egg and it pains me to make it known.) In my mind, he noticed in a bad way, and I was about ready to sprint off to the bathroom and wipe off my fake face.

Quick aside here- I’ll give you a flashback to the first time I ever attempted to wear makeup in sixth grade. All of the other girls were doing it, and I was sick of being called a tomboy (note: I exclusively wore XXL mismatching sweatpants and sweatshirts for the entirety of my sixth grade year, this is fact.) So one day, after my mom left for work I raided her makeup stash (which is very minimalistic I might add- props to you mom… you’re fackin gorgeous!)

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(Above is a good example of what I was working with at this time in my life, please appreciate those jeans for the love of god where did we find those?)

At this stage I really did not know how to wear makeup, I wasn’t even sure what most of it was for. I put mascara on, shockingly correctly. But then I found some dark blue eyeliner that my mom probably bought by accident and discarded. I put that at the back of my eyelids, not the line of them. I outlined the base of my eyeball. And then I probably did another line on the inside of my bottom eyelid. While this terminology may not make sense- trust me, it did not look good. The mascara was passable, but the rest… ooooof.

Immediately when I got into school, Kaitlin Barry, one of the popular girls, asked me what the makeup was for. In a condescending tone. My stomach fell into my colon and I nearly shat out my internal organs. I was insecure and she knew it. When I didn’t answer?

“Katrina… What’s the makeup for?”

Mind you, this girl had makeup caked on in the punk rock Good Charlotte era style that was quickly becoming the new norm. I still couldn’t say anything, because I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself for even trying to be like the rest of the girls. When clearly I’d made myself an “other.”

“Katrina… Are you trying to impress someone?”

I shot up from my desk and ran to the bathroom and started wiping off my face with wet paper towels. I wasn’t crying or anything, I was just humiliated. And honestly I don’t even know if anyone else ever noticed I had it on in the first place. But it felt like the whole class saw and was laughing at me. (Just like the time I accidentally farted audibly during silent reading time.)

I spent the rest of the day asking one of my closest guy friends in paranoia if it was smeared or visible in any way shape or form. We’d pass each other in the hallways and he’d give me a thumbs up to assure me he couldn’t tell. Thank god for dude friends before hormones were a real thing. I somehow survived the day, but definitely had panic diarrhea.

Anyway- with that aside in mind, I was having panic flashbacks this morning. Sure it was 14 years ago and I’ve come a long way in my makeup skills… But I’m still the oversized sweatshirt wearing woman at the end of the day. I’m comfiest when I’m dressed like Stan Kovack, the middle aged real estate worker who cheers on the Phillies and listens to Toto. I like wearing makeup and feeling pretty, but I’m terrified of doing it wrong and looking like a fool.

Moments after I got my bacon and eggs and went to pay for it, I was met by one of the friendly cafe staff members. We frequently banter over my daily kombucha keg cup that legitimately looks like a cup full of beer… She playfully calls me “drunk girl” and has no idea how accurate of an assessment that really is.

“Your makeup looks really good today, did you do something different?” She said casually

I felt a full body sigh of relief and thanked her. “I was just thinking about how I’m afraid I look ridiculous.”

“I know what you mean,” She said “Sometimes when I wear makeup differently I feel like I look like a drag queen.”

It’s funny, because I’ve said that so many times about myself and no one else has ever humored me. We had a quick chat about the downfalls of wearing heels, purses, etc and I walked away feeling 100% better about life.

Not even because I am sure I actually look good, but more because I realize everyone has their insecurities about their femininity. Especially women like me who tend to err on the side of masculine or “tomboy.” It’s not that we don’t have the desire to look pretty, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally to us. For that reason, showing up to work in “experimental” makeup feels about as awkward as wearing a fedora, although far less shameful.

Having another woman’s support, even just something as small as commiserating, meant a lot to me and reminded me we’re all in this together. And we run the world. So for anyone out there who feels weird in their own body today, just know that we’re all feeling a little weird in our own way. If you see someone taking a step outside of the norm, give them a compliment. I like you already for making it this far down in the post, and please know that it means a lot to me.

o7NgowX

Nick and Vanessa: I’m Sorry, But I Need to Tear You a New One.

I was going to attempt a movie review today- but instead I’m going to focus on a newly formed “couple” who got a lot of buzz a week or so ago, but I’m still clinging to this material because I watched the finale on Sunday. I live under the false assumption that everyone who watches the Bachelor realizes just how fake it is. The more I pry my head out of my own “Unscripted Television” ass, the more I realize that many people don’t comprehend just how far from “reality” this Garbage Island of a show is. Taking this moment to formally compare The Bachelor to the Dumpsite in the Pacific that apparently is the size of Texas. Click here for more information

People say subtle things like:

“You could totally tell Nick loved Vanessa all along.”

“I think he has WAY stronger feelings for Raven!”

“Nick finally found love!”

I’m going to give my thoughts on the absurdity of the above exclamations, but I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of the mind-fuckery at play in this series. Full disclosure- I had preworkout again this morning for the first time in a while and my brain is all over the nuts and who knows where that will take us. Go ahead and hop aboard the Magic School Bus! We’re taking a dive into the Digestive System!!!!

Side note: If you aren’t following me on Snapchat, feel free to scoot on over and gimme an add. I did a tutorial of how to unclog a swampy-ass drain last night and I’ve gotten some good feedback on it. I’m going to continue posting tutorials on the daily for as long as I can think of good ones. So there’s my shameless plug- go check out my Snapchat story!

 

Let me preface this entire analysis with one key piece of wisdom that you must grasp…

 

Virtually NONE of the Contestants Are On the Show to “Find Love”

Big Beak aka Chris Harrison constantly uses this language for a reason- it has a hypnotic effect both on the viewer and on the contestants. The more you are primed with this concept the more your brain starts to contextualize what it’s seeing. I’m not gonna cite any resources because, fuck that- you’re reading my opinion not the DSM-IV. Also, every aspect of this show is produced like a soap opera. It’s undeniably fairytale-like for the majority of the episodes. (Barring the ones where they shovel livestock turds on a farm in Wisco… SIDE NOTE: My uncle knows the farmer who they filmed that episode on…If that’s not the most Midwestern thing you’ve ever heard me say…) Can’t fault them- they make the show look beautiful.

All of that being said- this is the highest rated show on ABC, one of the “Big 5” networks. The audience remains consistent and the rating is steady year after year- even competing with live athletic events on occasion. There are millions of eyeballs on this shitstorm, that’s pretty fucking impressive considering we’re experiencing the downfall of the network system as we know it.

A contestant’s reason for coming on the show may vary, but generally it has little to do with them having a realistic expectation of falling in love with the lead. Typical reasons?

  • Exposure: Especially important for small business owners (think personal trainers, salon owners, boutique owners, vague ‘entrepreneurs’ and aspiring dolphin trainers.)
  • Fame: Goes hand in hand with the first one- a lot of these people think they have that “it” factor to become a model or actress. Too bad most of them will fail. Too bad none of us really have that “it” factor and it’s all a matter of luck, timing, and whose bum you can tickle in Hollywood. (Am I bitter? I might be.)
  • Instagram Whoring: They see other former contestants do it, they want in. Some of these contestants get a fuckload of followers and therefore get paid to promote trash products on their social media pages. Yum. I wanna sell me some subscription vegan meal delivery services using photos of me frolicking in a corn field! #TrueCornVegan
  • Travel: Of all the reasons, this one makes the most sense to me. Free vacation all over the world staying in luxury hotels? Sign me up. Except for the whole dating the same guy as 45 other women thing. Sounds like a bad night at the Harvard Finals Clubs.

 

With that in mind, let’s talk about Nick and Vanessa. I’ll start with Nick.

 

Nick Viall, 36 (I think?): His last name is Viall for Christ sake… He’s about the most disgusting human being who has ever slugged his slimy body across your TV screen. And can we just remind ourselves for a second: This is his FOURTH time appearing on the franchise? They’re spinning the whole “Poor Nick can’t find love!” narrative when he’s actually the one who rejected someone in Paradise so that he could be the Bachelor. COOL NICK. With what authority do YOU get to reject people in paradise?

I also don’t really get the appeal of a 36 year old former blue-collar software salesman from Waukesha Wisconsin…(Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick’s resume included a late 20’s prolonged managerial stint at the Radio Shack at Fox River Mall in Appleton.) If he weren’t specially groomed for TV and paired frequently next to Chris “Bad Dye Job, Toucan Beak For a Nose” Harrison I think he could pass for a tiny-dicked (may be true) neckbeard locked away in his dark Wisconsin basement making sexually repressed and hateful remarks about women on r/redpill.

Just my two-cents. The guy has been on the show four times for no reason other than to be famous… He is taking acting lessons. He is going to be on Dancing With the (Well at Least They Tried Their Best and ALMOST Made It) “Stars.” If he has anything to do with it, he will not be leaving your screens anytime soon. In fact, Nick wants to move into your living room so you can stare at him all day every day and tell him how pretty he is. Just like my fatass cat Max used to do when we watched the Price is Right. Except at least Max KNEW he was only there for us to laugh at during commercial breaks.

Vanessa Grimaldi, 29: I really don’t know what to tell you about her. I think she lives on a different planet than the rest of us. She doesn’t seem like the type to seek fame after this, but she does seem like the type who came on the Bachelor to “win” the Bachelor. I think she might have gotten suckered into applying by friends and family who truly believe the show is real… Then when she arrived it became real.

Vanessa seems easily manipulated and highly suggestible, due to some extreme insecurity. She was the classic contestant who doesn’t seem to remember what she signed up for. She was aware other girls existed but in denial that any of them “formed meaningful connections” with Nick. But the reality was that NONE of them formed “meaningful connections.” They formed artificial ones, and for whatever reason… Hers lasted longest.

I usually skip the finale of every season because I read spoilers and by that point I’m bored by everything happening in the unbearably long final episode… But because the After the Final Rose was so controversial (and hilarious) this year I decided to watch the entire finale.

I think the hardest pill for everyone to swallow while watching the show, is how genuine the two people sound as they’re exchanging words at the…. Pulpit? (Like honestly what do you call the weird room where he proposes?) I had a very hard time watching Nick say all of the shit he said to Vanessa, knowing approximately none of it was real.

I think in that moment those two probably felt a lot for each other, but not because they’re in love… Probably for some of, if not ALL of the below reasons:

  • They’re sexually attracted to each other
  • They just shared extravagant experiences together in a foreign country
  • They’re constantly being primed by producers to believe that they’re falling in love (Vanessa more so than Nick, he’s a seasoned veteran at this point and has lost the ability to feel emotions)
  • There are literally cameras all around them…I imagine it feels similar to performing on stage.
  • Both of them are wearing clothes they could never afford in real life (3 years of Nick’s Radio Shack salary couldn’t have afforded him that snazzy tux) and have probably had their makeup done professionally (I’m fully convinced Nick demands extensive contouring and expert-level beard grooming before any appearance in public.)  They look about as attractive as they possibly could ever look, they only have downhill ahead.

Not only do all of these things cause heightened emotions… They also create a scenario that is entirely unrealistic. When you strip all of those things away, and it’s just Vanessa and Nick sitting next to each other on a couch and no one is talking about them… What do you have? Two people who are stubborn, overconfident (to the point of cockiness), fame-hungry, superficial… And bored. The sex was probably fun for a month or two, but from what I’ve heard… Nick has a voracious appetite and even at 36 does not plan on settling down anytime soon. Use it or lose it am I rite Nicky-Boiiii? Nah, he will be like Hugh Hefner and keep on rockin till the day he don’t wake up.

The success of Nick and Vanessa has very little to do with Nick and Vanessa as people. It has everything to do with going on a television show, “dating” someone for 6 weeks and spending about a total of 24 quality hours with them TOPS and then deciding to get engaged with the intention of having a highly publicized wedding. If I can’t even get a dude who I hand select from Bumble to stick around for more than a month, how the fuck does any woman expect a slimy Nick Viall to marry her and stay faithful/devoted/speak real words to her?

The answer, kids… Don’t go on The Bachelor if you’re looking 4 love. In fact, avoid Los Angeles in general if you’re looking for it.

-Seacrest Out!

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(Lovers in the moooooonlight)

 

 

 

 

 

My 90 Year Old Grandpa Runs a Greenhouse and I Can’t Even Write a Damn Blog Post?

After almost a month of radio silence on here, I didn’t think my first returning post would be about my grandpa’s horticulture habits but… Here we are. It’s the only thing I could get excited about on this Friday afternoon. I know it’s St. Patrick’s Day but can I just admit that I don’t give a shit? I’m not even a little bit Irish and frankly my European genes resent this holiday on principle.

Let me give you the scoop- I thought it was a thing for EVERYONE’S Grandpa to have a massive garden full of vegetables in their backyard. I thought that was just what grandpas did… Pop Pop had his… and my Opa had a massive swampland surrounding a ramshackle barn filled with uncategorizable paraphernalia, there had to be a garden in there somewhere right? The obligatory grandpa garden?

Pop Pop lives in Wisconsin in a podunk village called Greenville. The most exciting things happening in this village are A.) Anything pertaining to the Green Bay Packers B.) The massive Costco a couple miles down the road and C.) Tractor style lawnmowers (both in practice and as a concept.) Wisconsin is booger-icicle cold for 75% of the year and for the other 25% (I really had to think about those percentages… Math is hard for me) so humid that your tears of anguish mix with with your sweat and blood to form an unrecognizable fluid that even renowned doctors don’t have a word for.

In case you haven’t gathered- this is not the ideal climate for gardening. Unless you’re really into pine trees and other coniferous fare (Pop Pop is not into that type of fare.) Pop Pop was in the Navy and he doesn’t take no for an answer. He also worked at a meatpacking plant back in the Upton Sinclair days (I’ve asked him how accurate that hot dog description was and he wouldn’t tell me.) Pop Pop will defeat mother nature while still maintaining a Midwestern Charm that makes him such a threat to society. Pop Pop scoffs at impossible, because really, nothing is impossible for Pop Pop.

I was the pickiest eater in the world when I was younger, I blame it on not having a sense of smell but honestly I was just a finicky turd. I’d pretty much only eat pizza, chicken tenders and peanut butter. Somehow, though, Pop Pop got me to eat green beans from his garden. And when I say this I mean the man literally got me to eat the entire pod raw and covered in soil. To the point where my mom was like “Is that even healthy?” And Pop Pop told her it would help my immune system and make me big and strong (jokes on you, mom, he was right!) I didn’t really like the taste, I just really wanted Pop Pop’s approval and I hoped that someday I could inherit his garden AND rare coin collection.

“How does Pop Pop’s garden survive the winter?” You’re wondering with concern…

You probably figured Pop Pop didn’t think about that… But what did I tell you? Nothing is impossible for Pop Pop. He spits on “impossible.”

He turned his entire basement into a greenhouse. If you didn’t know it was Pop Pop’s basement you’d think it belonged to a serial killer, an aspiring and confused surgeon, a museum curator who takes his work home with him, or really anyone who feels the need to hang fluorescent lights from every inch of their ceiling in hopes that they will stimulate the growth of another lifeform by providing synthetic sunlight. I don’t really know why Pop Pop trusted us kids to go down there back in the day, because all we would do is take running leaps onto his plant wagon destroying everything in our path. Except the plants. Somehow.

Today I got a text from my mom letting me know she’s planting in the basement garden to prepare the seedlings for spring harvest. She told me they’ll be cleaning out 75 pots whilst listening to soft classical music (AKA Pop Pop music.) Pop Pop has every detail about the garden plotted in a tattered looseleaf notebook that only he can read. Not because it’s in code, but because his handwriting is so horrendous that he’s the only living human who can interpret it. He keeps this precious notebook locked safely in his “Coin Room” a room that my brothers are often dragged into for unsolicited rare coin lectures. My dad goes in willingly and is secretly lobbying to inherit the coin collection (even though he’s not blood related.) A battle for another day I suppose. Just beware… I see you, Alex.

In all seriousness, I’ve been complaining about not having any inspiration to write for weeks now. I claim that writing is my passion and I want to make a career out of it. I claim it comes naturally to me and that I’d do whatever it takes to succeed with it. But I just went a month without posting to this blog, with no valid excuse for it. I’ve been the prototypical “uninspired writer” with the insufferably cliched “writer’s block.” And if I’m being totally honest, I’ve felt pretty damn insecure about everything I almost posted.

Pop Pop is 90 years old. For the last 10 years my mom and her siblings have begged him to stop gardening. They don’t want him to get injured walking down the steep stairs to the basement (they’re VERY steep, no joke I’ve fallen down them several times.) He assures them that he’ll tone it down, but he continues to sneak in there day after day to tend to the glorious Wisco Greenhouse he’s worked tirelessly to perfect. The only time Pop Pop won’t garden is when he PHYSICALLY CAN’T.

Yet, here I am. Living in Los Angeles, spending hours on Reddit saving memes to a folder on my desktop at work called “Dank Memes” and sending them to my friends on iMessage. Here I am buying Kombucha on tap for $4.00 at work and still living with myself. Here I am getting stoned, eating an entire pint of ice cream and watching the Bachelor on Tuesday nights to feel better about my life. Here I am, afraid to write about things that matter because of how I believe people will react.

All of us unmotivated pieces of shit need to live like Pop Pop. Pursue your passion until your body refuses to let you do so anymore. And even then, keep doing it and do it well. There’s no excuse for giving up on something that you claim to love doing. If you really want to be successful you have to devote yourself to doing so. No more of this month long gap bullshit. No more fear. Chips Are Back in Town.

And as Pop Pop loves to ask “Whaddya say to that!?”

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The man, the myth, the legend… And the woman who constantly keeps him on his toes.

 

Great Ways to Confuse the SHIT Out Of Women

This is probably the tenth time I have attempted to write a new blog post in the last few weeks but I’m confident that this one will make it past the initial stages of me reading it, rereading it, hating it, and exiling it to the darker part of my Google Drive folders. This time I have purpose. And honestly, this one tags directly off my last post “The Games Men Play.” It’s a hybrid of a lot of different things I have written about, inspired by my personal experiences as well as the experiences of my close girlfriends.

Let’s talk about the different ways you, as a man, can confuse the shit out of a girl you are dating, banging, texting, friend-zoning, or otherwise interacting with. Because nothing can just be easy and fun these days, let’s analyze things.

1.) Ask her if you can “take her to dinner” (because you did something that annoyed the shit out of her) then make no motion to offer to pay when the bill comes.

I’m sorry, I’m all for ~equality~, but if you are the asker in this situation, and you make the specific language “take you to dinner” the assumption is that you’re paying. I don’t care if I’m a feminist who feels highly uncomfortable at all mentions of money and formalities… If you are going to “take me” out to dinner I am assuming that you are going to pay. Because otherwise I might have suggested we go do something else. The devil is in the details, dumbass… Now I’m sitting here thinking you’re a poorly adjusted dick-stick who potentially isn’t even trying to date me? Chivalry is not dead, and holding the door for me when I’m easily 30 pounds stronger than you doesn’t count.

2.) Make absolutely no physical contact with her unless she initiates it.

You know what a great way to tell a girl you like her is? Refuse to touch her. Even if you’ve been on a few dates before and sacked up enough courage to kiss her (ON THE LIPS!!!), make sure to not ever hug her or greet her in any way on the subsequent dates. She will definitely NOT be wondering if that weird joke about animals mating at the zoo she made yesterday has changed your opinion of her… She will NOT be thinking that you felt how hairy her legs are and are appalled by her physically… She will not be mentally running through all of the reasons why she is undateable. Once you have initiated physical contact with a girl on a date, you should probably continue to do so on later dates or she is going to think something went wrong. And if something DID go wrong, how about you let her know and then you can stop seeing her and confusing the shit out of her?

3.) Text her a question, then when she sufficiently answers it… Wait about an hour to respond then give a short, curt response as if you’re annoyed she’s talking to you.

I will never understand this. If you want to chit chat via text, then just fucking do it. Don’t half ass it, don’t be weird about it. I don’t have the flexibility in my work environment to sit here for 3 hours staring at my phone wondering why the fuck you responded the way you did. And guess what? I’ll probably be screenshotting whatever weird shit you said and sending it to the panel of my weirdo friends who will also offer their analysis OR just tell me I’m being crazy and overthinking it. Either way, if you would just be fucking conversationally coherent and not make me feel like the biggest DOTA playing neckbeard ever… That’d BE SWEET.

4.) Tell her you’re too tired to “get intimate” within the first month of dating (when she’s laying barely clothed next to you in bed.)

No. I will accept a lot of excuses for turning down fun times, but being “too tired” is probably the pussiest of them all. I think I was at least close to a year into my last relationship before I started using the “too tired” excuse. If you’re “too tired” and it has been less than a month, something is wrong. Something is missing. That is a red flag if I’ve ever seen one. Head for the fucking hills. Every man I’ve ever known with a healthy appetite for fun will go to extreme lengths to have that fun. Even if it means being a half awake uncoordinated, poor excuse for a sexual zombie. Even if it means putting off a couple minutes of precious beauty sleep. You little bitch.

5.) Reach out to her and let her know you’d like to meet up, then make it really impossible to ever meet up with you OR just flake on the agreed upon time.

There’s nothing I love more than difficult communication surrounding plans. Especially in this city where it’s so easy to get from place to place on time/efficiently. I never have to plan ahead of time anyway, so when you flake at the last second it’s super convenient for me! Please, if you want me to remain interested in you as a human being… Cancel plans with me as often as possible and make even the easiest coordination a nightmare for me. You’re a dude, you’re supposed to be simple to plan with. You give me a time, I show up. I give you a time, you show up. I find the typical Los Angeles man needs to make it this complicated song and dance (of course, all you aspiring singers and artists) which makes me, once again, want to put on a steel plated chastity belt and close down shop for eternity.

 

I didn’t realize until recently how much I value directness in a man. I value the man who refuses to let me be a stupid head case of a human being. I value when someone won’t deal with petty mind games, says what they mean and sticks to their word. I value the guy who quite literally tells me to stop overthinking everything because he’s being completely honest with me. 

I’m sick of playing the game constantly, expecting a different outcome, and being repeatedly disappointed. We’re all tired of it. We’re all exhausted by it, frankly. I hear other women having this conversation regularly, I have this conversation regularly, the world is having this conversation at every imaginable moment.

Bottom line, fellas, we’re people just like you. We have insecurities, we have depth, we have fears, we have needs. We’re not just going to be there to entertain you when it’s convenient for you, we’re not just going to agree with everything you say. We’re distinct and complicated and that’s what makes us dope as shit. If you think finding the “perfect woman” means finding someone who will stand by and be endlessly supportive while you enjoy your life the way you see fit… Good luck, it ain’t gonna be me and it ain’t gonna be any of the amazing women I associate with.

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The Games Men Play

I’m playing in an all women contact football tournament this weekend, so if you don’t hear from me at all next week it’s because I’m dead. I’ve never played contact football but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get my shit tossed around. Fun life updates ❤

Anyway. We all talk vaguely about how people play “games” when dating, but have we ever really got into the nitty gritty of what those games are? I thought to point of a game was to be mildly enjoyable. Let me tell you, I enjoy none of these games. I’d rather live in the 1500s where the “games” were as complicated as giving yourself a sponge bath, rubbing a bit of baking soda under your hairy armpits, and standing close to a potential mate to express interest.

So what “games” are us ladies ambiguously referring to when we say single dudes in their 20s play stupid games? See below:

The Inconsistent and Unclear Communication Game.

My favorite thing ever is when a guy texts me then I respond and he hits me with a “haha” or something else conversation ending that leaves me wondering if he even wanted to talk in the first place. I’m super down to shoot the shit over text, I sit at a desk for most of my workday and am really good at multitasking. But when you pull shit like this you’ve now sidetracked all of my productivity and I’m trying to figure out why the fuck you reached out to me.

What we also don’t understand is when you are gung-ho about texting us one week, keeping conversation every day… Then you fall off the face of the earth the next, only to reemerge at an arbitrary time (weeks or even months later) that correlates with exactly ZERO events in our lives. The best is when we send you a text or two that go completely unacknowledged. Why the fuck do YOU think we’re confused?

If you are pursuing someone, I don’t care if you’re a “shitty texter” you can figure your shittiness out enough to not be weirdly evasive and inconsistent.

Making Plans Chess Match.

If you want to meet up, rather than carry on pointless banter via text//Tinder//fuckall app… Ask us to hang out. If we aren’t available right at the precise moment that you ask, then let’s fucking find a time that works for both of us. The chance of you catching a self respecting woman available at a random moment on a Saturday afternoon is miniscule. Even if she is just laying in bed listening to the Spotify playlist “Move On and Don’t Look Back” on loop, she’ll pretend she’s doing something worthwhile. Here are a few lines to try out with a woman in order to ask her to hang out:

“Hey, what are you up to this weekend?”

“Hey, are you free any night this week to meet up?”

“What are your plans this week? Would love to hang out.”

“Let’s find a time to hang out!”

As you can see, you have some options. And if plans don’t work out and one of you has to cancel? Social etiquette requires the canceller to reach out to set up the new encounter. This is because cancelling plans could be a sign of disinterest, in order to refute that assumption you must be the one to reinitiate.

But before we even get to that point, we’d need to get to the baseline of you getting your dick out of your hand and making plans for once in your life. I don’t care if you’re “not a planner” be a considerate human being, because some of us enjoy having our shit together.

The End of Date Ultimatum Game

Sort of like Deal or No Deal but more awkward and less shiny bald Howie Mandel head. On the first date, you have to make a decision at the end of the date. Either you had fun and you’d like to see this person again, or you are pretty certain you’re better off not meeting up again. You should make this decision clear. Here are some ways to show you DO want to see this person again:

  • Say: “This was fun, we should do it again sometime!”
  • Mention a specific event you’d like to invite your date to, then see if they might be available to go to that event with you. (Bonus points if the event includes a shared hobby!) 
  • If you’re pretty damn sure the date went well, go for a kiss.
  • Send a little follow-up text saying you had fun once both of you have headed home for the night. (Bonus points if you bring up something the two of you talked about.)

If you don’t want to see the person again, just be as polite as possible and initiate NO PHYSICAL CONTACT. I repeat… ZERO PHYSICAL CONTACT. Unless you wanna be a dickhead and go for the handshake. (Nothing says “fuck me” quite like a good firm handshake at the end of a date.) Here are a few things you can do to confuse the shit out of your date and leave her wondering if she’ll ever hear from you again.

  • Give her a weird diagonal armed hug, bonus points if you pat her on the back. Slap her on the back if you want to also make her choke on her own spit while you’re at it.
  • Mention something the two of you could do together, then don’t follow up on it at any point in the next week.
  • Remain radio silent for several days after the date, even if she reaches out.
  • Add her on Facebook, but still don’t text her or communicate in any other way. (Same idea with following on Insta, SnapChat… etc.)

Both parties are responsible for dropping stink-bombs (not the cutest title for it but let me have this one plz) at the end of the date that clue the other person into whether or not they’d like to hang out again. I personally like it if the dude makes the first move, because I am so far stuck in my own head that the tiny people from Inside Out went on strike and a team of mice have taken over for them. Literally my brain is crawling with mice, someone send help.

Actions Not Matching Up With Words- A Riddle.

If you tell me that you had fun with me and want to hang out again, then are consistently flakey and weird about making plans… I’m gonna get confused. If you’re just swamped with work and need a few weeks to really focus… JUST TELL ME THAT. I won’t be personally offended if your work life is interfering with your social life, I just wanna be kept in the loop so I don’t reread our text conversation 500 times looking for something weird I said.

This riddle is especially relevant when clarifying a purely physical relationship versus an actual dating relationship. Don’t tell your parents about me, make “we” statements that are weirdly far into the calendar year, and exclaim to me that you “deleted all of your dating apps,” then be weirdly withdrawn and bitchy to me two days later. What the fuck am I supposed to make of that? Whether or not I shared the excitement in the first place is irrelevant, you’re sending MIXED SIGNALS.

Ghosts n Pussies (Same Thing, Different Game.)

If you can tell a girl is super into you but you’re not really moving in the same direction, just tell her. I know every woman says this but then reacts poorly when it happens, but honestly…I’d way rather just know that you’re not feelin it than guess for weeks why you suddenly dropped off conversation. There are several guys I have “dated” where I still have no idea what happened because communication just died after 4+ dates. If we’ve gotten past the 3 date mark, you should probably not ghost me if you are a decent human being in any capacity.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re super into a woman and she continues to say yes to (and show up for) dates, she hasn’t mercilessly friendzoned you, and she returns your attempts at affection… PROBABLY A SAFE BET THAT YOU CAN TELL HER HOW YOU FEEL WITHOUT DYING. I’m a forward person and I’m not afraid to admit when I like someone. I know it doesn’t come as naturally for guys to express feelings like that, but if you really want a woman to know you’re interested… Tell her.

Ladies get a bad rap for being overly analytical and hypersensitive, but men have to admit their part in our fucked up communication. At the end of the day all we want is to be told the truth and treated with respect. Dating is terrifying, it would be a hell of a lot easier if we could all get on the same page.  

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