Mar 13

Martin Lawrence Said it Best

It’s been well over a month since my last post and a lot of Paris-related things have happened.

Things like this:

That make me feel like this:

That’s right.

This shit JUST got real.

Did shit get real when I actually went to Paris and visited the AUP campus? Nope.

Did shit get real when I applied? Nope.

Did shit get real when I was accepted? Nope.

Did shit get real when I paid my non-refundable deposit that goes toward my tuition and confirms my attendance to AUP this fall? Nope.

This pathway to AUP has been three and a half years in the making and after every French class I took, every e-mail back and forth to my admissions counselor, every call to the French Consulate, every book read on how to live and work in France, every apartment inquiry to property agents, every project I did or job I took to beef up my CV to impress the folks abroad, the realism of the shit did not occur until I received my financial aid package and did the math (e.g., cost of living, student loan repayments).

After sitting down with my husband and conducting said math, we are going–for realsies.

According to my husband, he never had a doubt in his mind that we wouldn’t be able to go. I, on the other hand, had very huge doubts in our ability to go along with very intense insecurities related to having big dreams and not being able to live them out. My husband and I often differ in how we feel about things and usually I’m the one who is positive and optimistic and he’s the one making the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it face.

I’m not quite sure if my husband’s feelings are due to a newly heightened sense of optimism or a severe lack of research, but I’d like to think it’s the former even though it might be a combination of both.

Anyway, the husband’s giving the green light for Paris, the university thinks I’m cool enough to hang out with them, and now I’m completely on board. Having said that, a lot of things need to happen before we even go. Things like…

Leaving our apartment.

We pay $960 a month for a sweet 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath in the heart of Downtown San Jose, right next to the historical Naglee Park neighborhood. It’s a vintage apartment (built in the 1930′s), has no air conditioning, has shag carpeting and very crappy windows, and it’s less than 500 square feet, but it serves us well. We got really lucky with this place and we’re sad to leave it. I guess the trade-off is that we’ll be living in Paris. I think we’re cool with that.

Finding an apartment.

This is seriously one of the most important things we definitely have to do before we leave. Why? Because my husband can’t get his visa without showing proof of accommodation. That’s why. A huge complaint I read a lot online about apartments in Paris is the price. After doing the math (we’re doing a lot of math here) and looking at things like location, square footage, amenities, etc. a one bedroom apartment in Paris (not left bank) costs about the same as a fancy shmancy one bedroom apartment in San Jose. We’re currently looking at top-floor studio apartments (they get cheaper as you go up because of things like no elevator, no space, and they used to be quarters for servants/storage for rich people’s things in the past). Fortunately, my husband and I are low-maintenance folk who can make a home out of a hole in the wall. We’d be more than happy to live in a crappy, top-floor, tiny apartment… because it’ll be in Paris.

Leaving our jobs.

This will be tough as we both currently like being employed. My husband has been an employed citizen since he was 15 and is currently working at a full-time job that is hobby-related. He’s very content. I’m currently working in my field and getting decent pay. As a Child Development major this is huge. We’re voluntarily leaving our jobs to not be employed in a foreign country. Smart move.

Finding a job [would be nice].

My husband has to sign paperwork for his visa promising that he will not work while in France lest he be deported. I will be a student. We will be living on our own savings and my student loans. It would be nice to find work over there and have some income, but since the French are having a hard enough time finding work what makes me think that a jerk like me would be able to find any employment? In the meantime, I’ve sent letters of interest to language schools that cater to both children and adults. A handful have actually looked at my LinkedIn profile. That’s kind of cool.

Giving Kari back to her breeder.

We knew this might have to happen if this whole Paris thing panned out. Fortunately, her breeder knew that too and was still gracious enough to let us love Kari for a while.

Figuring out what my husband’s life will look like over there.

Remember how I said that my husband and I are often opposites on things? Finding out what his life will look like over there is one of my biggest concerns. Forget cost of living, medical insurance, student loan debt, finding a job abroad after grad school, etc.

I am extremely concerned about the quality of my husband’s life.

He is forbidden to work or else he’ll be kicked out of France.

His food palate is extremely narrow.

He doesn’t speak French.

He doesn’t know anyone.

I’ll be in class for much of the day, therefore leaving him alone.

I can’t help but picture him developing depression and feeling lonely and then I start to feel guilty. In turn, I feel I have an enormous responsibility in making sure his life is still full, active, and happy. I would love this whole move to Paris to be his eat-pray-love moment. That is totally something a woman would say, but it’s what I really want for him. I want him to take that art class, read those books, get in a lot of me-time. I want him to really find himself in Paris, you know? So, that’s how I feel.

My husband disagrees with me and is totally not worried about what the quality of his life be. He says, “I’ll figure it out,” and thus ends the discussion.

Holy crap the visa process.

The visa process for me is easy. The university has provided me with the proper documentation and alls I have to do is walk into the French Consulate in San Francisco and I get the thumbs up. My husband, on the other hand, has to show proof of accommodation (which is why finding an apartment before we arrive is so important), show proof of medical insurance (whaaaat?), show proof of income (a.k.a. my student loans), and sign paperwork promising he won’t work along with a litany of other things proving he’s really married to me, that he’s not a criminal, etc. I’m not going to France without him, so his visa and all related processes are at the top of my list of priorities.

It’s a lot of work, moving abroad, but no one knows the hardships and benefits of the process better than my grandpa. Regarding my family’s lineage of adventurousness, he once said to me…

“Ilocanos are adventurous. You have nothing, you are a poor farmer, you have to be adventurous to go look for work for your family. You don’t have too much, so you can pack and move. Ilocanos had nothing in the Philippines, so we went on adventures and got to see the world. And if Ilocanos like where they live, they stay. If they don’t, they go on an adventure. My mom had an adventure to find work in Hawaii, so I was born American. I had an adventure, I came to America. I am a survivor and I survived so you can live.”

Yeah, I know. That’s a totally cool thing to say. When my husband and I told my grandparents that we were moving to Paris, they looked very happy and my grandpa has put his hand on my shoulder many times and told me he’s proud of me.

And now it’s my turn to be adventurous.

Because this shit just got real.



Feb 13

Dear Undergrads: Stop Trying to Contact Me

The following is a word-for-word facebook correspondence with an incoming AUP undergraduate, complete with my exact reactions in brackets:

Undergrad: I feel like for undergrad already talking to everyone, it seems like it’s going to be like the GG series.

[What the hell is “GG”? … Oh geezus, is she talking about “Gossip Girl”?]

Me: Sucks for you undergrads then. Let’s hope not though.

[If she keeps up with this GG talk, it’s outskies for me.]

Undergrad: Us undergrads are going to have tonnes of fun moments… Realising there are already cliques formed it’ll be interesting.

[Oh geezus, she can’t be serious. She’s probably serious.]

Me: I don’t see a lot of incoming grad students on the AUP fall 2013 FB so I have no clue what the graduate program will look like. But a GG environment would be terrible.

Yes.

A Gossip Girl environment would be terrible.

TERRIBLE.

I’ve had a heck of a time trying to connect with incoming AUP students for the fall 2013 semester. So far I’ve had conversations, all with undergraduates, that look just like that.

The type of boring and informative conversations I’d like to have about majors, experiences in Paris, why AUP, etc. are quickly redirected to stupid shit from hoping you’ll land a large modeling contract in Paris (that ain’t gonna happen), to knowing you’re going to live in a large one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in the 7th (yeah right!), to motherfuckin’ Gossip Girl.

My thoughts exactly, Liz Lemon.

My thoughts exactly.

From my incredibly annoying conversations with incoming AUP undergrads I’ve come to terms with the fact that the we all need a healthy dose of reality… even fancy know-it-alls like me and wannabe Blake Livelys like them.

Some notes to the undergrads:

Your major is stupid.

If anyone knows anything about stupid majors, it’s me. Trust me, I should know. I’ve been there done that. But I’ve “been there done that” at a local state university where I didn’t have to pay a dime for my tuition, for both degrees. Fucking lucky, right? (sorry taxpayers!) I made my mistakes on the cheap. You, however, are majoring in Psychology in Paris. Let’s hope your parents still love you later.

Be thankful there’s only 1,000 students.

I don’t want to hear you cry about how it’s “half your high school population” or that you’re “such a people person” you don’t know how you’re going to “deal” with the student body “being so low”. I went to a university that had 30,000 students. It’s quite difficult to be remembered as a unique student and it’s a daily challenge to stand out in class. Why? Because you are just one of your professors’ couple hundred students. Use the small class size of no more than 20 students as an opportunity to not only be remembered, but to network and establish connections [with people that might be able to put in a good word for you when you graduate].     

Shit happens in Paris.

From riots to discrimination based on language, religion, etc., Paris isn’t immune to the shit that happens in other large cities. If you take a taxi to Paris from Roissy, go to Clingancourt to shop, or even take a train out to Versailles you’ll know what I’m talking about. Not everything looks like the 7th. Some places look worse than worst parts of Oakland (sorry Oakland).

Goddammit–learn French already.

I don’t want to hear how hard it is, or how much time it will take, or how you’re going to an American university where courses are taught in English so learning French is irrelevant, or how you were told that “everyone there speaks English as a second language anyway” (which is untrue). Just learn it already even if it’s enough to be polite or ask for directions, you ass.

Gossip Girl is a stupid television show.

I know you’d love to be a fashionable, independent, responsibility-free, wealthy potential runway model in Paris who walks along the Seine with an obscene amount of shopping bags, but unless you’re a trust fund baby I’d get that idea right out of your head.       

I live with a sweet balance of optimism and cynicism, so I’ve already gone through all of the aforementioned undergraduate suggestions in my head. I’m a know-it-all, remember? What I have to come to terms with is this:

I will be attending an expensive, private, liberal arts college in one of the fanciest places in the world.

In turn, there’s a high chance I might be going alongside trust fund babies and GG wannabes.

While this will be irritating, I’m optimistic that normal people will exist in the graduate program.

In the meantime, if I hear another goddamn incoming student mention how AUP will be like GG my response will be:

GTFO



Feb 13

“I Can Explain”

I’ve had a few moments in my life where I’ve had to stop a situation from happening and say, “I can explain,” before the other person gets a chance to say anything. These moments are typically quite awkward and my offering of an explanation only pacifies any wild response or reaction that would have come had I not provided the individual proof of a logical reason or explanation behind my actions. Here are some of those I-can-explain moments…

My First Mohawk

When I was a freshman in high school, a senior guy friend of mine and I decided to go and get our hair done together at my neighborhood hairstylist. He died his hair black and asked for it to be spiky. I decided to go balls to the wall and say, “Just give me a mohawk.” The hairstylist, who had known me my whole life and remembered “little Sarah with the long beautiful hair” went with it and gave me a five inch mohawk with a #1 on the sides.

My mom picked us up and before she said anything I said, “I can explain,” and told her how I’d have hair like this just once and grow it out for my senior portrait. She seemed okay with it. Dad would later shake his head, but let me keep it anyway and in different colors.

My Second Mohawk

When I was a senior in high school, our senior class kicked everyone’s ass in a battle-of-the-classes annual event. A few friends and I went to Cuong Phan’s house to celebrate. I told Cuong to give me a celebratory mohawk. He cut my hair in his bathroom, leaving me with a seven-inch mohawk and a 0 on the sides. I came home suuuuper late and snuck back into my bed. I woke up the next morning, walked to the breakfast table where my parents were sitting and said, “I can explain.” They didn’t say anything. They just looked at me.

My dad said, “Well, I hope you know what you’re doing,”

And I said, “I do,”

They went back to eating their breakfast.

I went on to get good grades, scholarships, and college acceptances—virtually a free pass for no-harm-no-foul impulsive behavior in my house growing up.

Racist Stuff in My Kitchen

Anyone who knows me well knows that I think cartoony racist things are hilarious and stupid, especially old-school racist Americana crap. That’s just what it is: hilarious and stupid crap. Granted, for many people Mammy stuff, sleeping Mexicans, etc. aren’t funny. At. All. They’re reminders of America’s openly racist past and secretly racist present. For me, however—that shit’s hilarious. Anyway, I digress.

My kitchen is filled with kitschy, racist, vintage and antique Americana. My most prized possessions are my racist salt and pepper shakers. Normally, I don’t like to explain why I have things in my house and I certainly don’t force my guests to like my choice of décor. Whether it be the paint color, the layout of furniture in our den, or the racist Americana in my kitchen I don’t give a damn what you think about it. It’s my house. It’s not like I’m putting it in your house. For guests who are openly offended or curious about my kitchen, I give the, “I can explain,” explanation from the preceding paragraph. Many are satisfied and find my unusual interest in racist Americana to be an “Oh, that’s just Sarah!” endearing kind of thing. Others are offended. My kitchen, for new guests, constantly creates “I can explain,” kind of moments.

P90x

Just because you’re thin, doesn’t mean you’re healthy. I learned this the hard way. Throughout the first half of college I would experience numbness in my extremities to the point where I wouldn’t be able to feel my nose, put weight on my toes, or be able to properly grasp items. I was also experiencing vision issues. I was freaking out. I was an apparently healthy, thin, 5’1”, 115-pound, 19-year-old. So, I went to the doctor only to learn that I was prediabetic.

I remember what my doctor said to me when she was going over my blood results after my fast…

Doctor: “We had to test your blood many times. We just couldn’t believe it. This is extremely uncommon. Do you have a history of diabetes in your family?”

Me: “Yes, on both sides of my family.”

[conversation about family history of diabetes]

Doctor: “With your family history, results like these, and the terrible way you’ve been eating we’re surprised you don’t have diabetes already.”

Me: “But I’m not overweight or anything.”

Doctor: “Doesn’t matter.”

Me: “So… what do I do about these results?”

Doctor: “You’re prediabetic, Sarah. If you don’t change the way you eat now you will have diabetes before you’re twenty-five.”

Me: [shits pants]

I changed the way I ate completely, let some time pass, and got tested after my wedding. My doctor compared the results and said, “You are a completely healthy twenty-three-year-old. Congratulations.”

Now that the inside’s all good, it’s time to take care of the outside. When I tell some people I’m trying my hand at P90X they think I’m trying to lose weight or that I’m developing some kind of complex/problem worthy of intervention. “I can explain,” is certainly something I have to start off with and I tell them about my prediabetes diagnosis pants-shitting moment. They quickly understand. Paradigm shift about thinness and health: complete.

Paris

This is certainly something that needs constant explaining to pretty much everyone. It’s like people are surprised that I’ve been a Francophile this whole time. Brown girls who choose to learn Spanish in high school and don’t have hot pink Eiffel Towers on everything can be Francophiles too. Anyway, for something that seems so stupid to have to explain (Come on, doesn’t every girl want to live in Paris??), it’s something that comes up often.

These are the [sometimes stupid] questions I get and my [relatively simple] answers:

And just what are you going to do over there?
Go to school and live.
Is that right?
Yes, that’s right.
And just what school have you been accepted to?
The American University of Paris already accepted me last fall.
Is that even a real school?
No, I’m being scammed. Yes, it’s a real school.
Well, is your husband going with you?
No, I’m totally abandoning him. That’s the dumbest question ever, of course he is.
And just what does he plan on doing?
That’s up to him. He’s still going to be my husband, that’s for sure. If I had a chance to start over in France on someone else’s visa I’d do it in a second.
Why are you going?
We don’t have a mortgage, we don’t have children, we don’t have any serious debt, we have no enormous obligations, we’re both under thirty, and are still shaping our careers and path in life. So, why not.
How are you going to pay for it?
Scholarships, tuition discounts, student loans, and savings.
Why Paris?
I’m a woman and this is a dumb question.
Do you even speak French?
I’ve been learning since 2011. It’s not hard.
You know Paris isn’t really like how it’s portrayed in the movies, right?
You’re right. It’s not.
Do you even know what’s going on in Europe?
I’m not living under a rock. I’m well aware of what’s happening over there socially and economically. Whether I’m living in the U.S. or in the E.U., shit’s going to happen.

Many of the questions I’m asked about this whole Paris expedition are really stupid and are asked based on the assumption that I too, like their stupid question, am stupid. Some of the questions I get about it feel a little insulting, like I’m an ignorant, Paris-obsessed, disillusioned  hyper-emotional vagina-bearer who thinks that Paris is all about fashion, fun, and romance and that nothing bad ever happens to people. Aside from the vagina-bearer part, everything else is entirely untrue. I’m completely aware of the struggle and possible misery that might await us over there. I’m ready to face that if it happens.

“I can explain,” is a common clarification-starter/argument-ender for me when it comes to calming people down or answering questions people might have about my decisions. I’m quite tired of doing this. Frankly, I know what I’m doing and I don’t have to explain myself to anyone.

As I’ve grown into my twenties/become more hard-headed/suddenly know everything I’m really leaning more toward the no-I-won’t-explain approach.



Jan 13

General Know-it-All-ism & My Path to Paris

The internet is rampant with know-it-all-ism. Everyone knows everything and strangers thrust their in-person inhibitions aside to be assholes online, inciting arguments and correcting total strangers they don’t know and will never meet offline. The bold I-know-everything-look-how-enlightened-I-am attitude online is annoying and phony.

Having said that, I “suffer” from know-it-all-ism though more in the realm of real life than online. While I’ve grown over the years to openly admit when I’m wrong and when someone is probably right, I pretty much act like a know-it-all offline. In sum, like many others, I too am a general know-it-all, or at least I pretend to be.

When asked, “What do you know a lot about?” and “What are you good at?” a few things come to mind:

I’m really good at driving in reverse.

When I was a teenager and learning how to drive, my father took me to Peterson Middle School’s empty parking lot on a weekend. We spent a great deal of time driving in reverse for no other reason than to be as good driving backward as I am driving forward. This skill will really come in handy next time I’m driving a Rez Car on an Indian Reservation.

I’m really good at making and writing thank-you cards and knowing just what I want to say.

The handwritten, USPS-delivered, hand-made thank-you card will never go out of style and is something everyone appreciates. Nothing executes a proper “Thank you very much” quite like a good old fashioned thank-you card. I’m a pretty proud of this skill.

Of all the things I think I pretty much know everything about, what I’m really good at, my number one thing has got to be school.

I’m just really good at school. Really good at it. “School” not being a location as one would say, “I’m really well-behaved at school,” but more like “school” used as one would say, “I’m really good at fishing,” or “I’m really good at knitting.”

I’ve been in school for 79% of my life. Thinking about it, school came easy to me for a few reasons: Follow the rules and no one gets hurt. I hated getting in trouble (with my parents, with teachers, etc.), so listen to the teacher, read the instructions, don’t slack, and everything will be okay.

The number one reason is fear.

Fear (of failing, of punishment, of a parent, etc.) is a great fuel for doing well in school.

Related to school is the concept of what you want to be when you “grow up”. Having been a know-it-all from the beginning, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. While the other kids in my preschool class at Laurelwood Elementary in Sunnyvale all wanted to be ninjas and princesses, underneath my yearbook photo was, “I want to be a teacher.” I adored my teachers and they doled much of their favoritism to me, which I certainly didn’t mind. The teachers knew it all and I really wanted to be like them.

Years went by and from preschool until the seventh grade I was absolutely certain that I wanted to be a teacher. Then, for no reason other than that I thought I was a know-it-all, I suddenly wanted to become a child psychologist. Oh, the prestige, the “Dr.” title, knowing so much more about children than everybody else… it’s a know-it-all’s dream profession: to be the psychologist that tells other people how to do things, listens to their issues, and places them in the right direction. That lasted until the ninth grade.

From high school until my freshman semester in college, I went back to embracing my childhood dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. Being a Child & Adolescent Development (ChAD) undergraduate major at San Jose State University really opens your eyes. With the exception of a few of my former high school classmates who became ChAD undergrad majors, my grad cohorts, and my brilliant teachers growing up, every other young woman in my ChAD courses was either a bimbo, an over-idealistic liberal optimist, an all-around idiot, a professional babysitter, someone who overused the word “cute” to describe everything from Juicy Couture track jackets to children, or all of the above.

“Where are all my friends!? Is this where my brilliant teachers came from!? What have I done!?” were all the questions that came to mind sitting in my first ChAD course in my undergrad.

So, I continued my education on its “Plan B” course and was looking forward to perhaps pursuing a career in Child Development research. I did extremely well and graduated Magna Cum Laude for no reason other than being great at following instructions and deadlines.

I freaking hated my college major.

Sounds like a first-world problem, I know. But I dreamed of a more business-oriented field, of working with adults while somehow still impacting the lives of children with my, you know, know-it-all-ism. After much cajoling from nearly all of my senior year professors, I went and pursued my M.A. in Child & Adolescent Development. Right in the middle of it, I realized that this specific field was just not for me. Being a know-it-all who’s good at school, I still did extremely well. But I freaking hated my major and was too stubborn to do the right thing and jump careers.

The year I received my M.A. was the year I went and did just that. I did the ballsiest thing I could think of and decided to give in to the feelings I felt when I graduated with my B.A.: jump careers, move abroad, and start over. Perhaps in that order, perhaps not, perhaps here, perhaps there, but at least one of those things was going to happen to me and I was going to make sure of it.

So, I did. With a sweet CV, transcript, and Statement of Purpose, along with confidential and what I assumed to be well-written letters of recommendation, the American University of Paris (AUP) accepted my application to their Global Communications graduate program.

AUP Statement of Purpose prompt:

Statement of Purpose – An essay of approximately 500 words (in English), indicating (1) what undergraduate research and/or professional work you have conducted in the field of global communications, (2) your reasons for applying to the program, and 3) your career objectives.

And here is that winning Statement of Purpose:

 ———————————————————————————————————-

I am applying for admission to the M.A. program in Global Communications at the American University of Paris because I am seeking to develop a career in public relations, specifically with organizations that serve the needs of children and families in communities outside of the United States. I am particularly interested in the methods in which organizations utilize technology and media to achieve visibility, enhance the continuum of services, and effectively establish and maintain long-term, positive community relations with stakeholders and constituents. In order to achieve these objectives and practical application skills related to an international and multicultural career in public relations, it is vital that I develop a robust foundation in image management, business communication skills, as well as a well-rounded understanding in the globalization and intercultural perspectives of public relations.

I feel strongly that my background in Child and Adolescent Development has prepared me to pursue a career in public relations. I have successfully dedicated my academic studies to be strongly rooted in the development of children and adolescents, family dynamics, and the positions, interactions, and future of children and families in a multicultural, ever-changing society. These studies have enabled me to develop an intensely thorough understanding of an important demographic. These studies are particularly relevant in my pursuit of a career in public relations with organizations that serve the needs of children and families.

I also feel that my present and past experiences working with children and families in direct-service and program coordination capacities have also prepared me for a career in public relations. As a Behavior Therapist with Trumpet Behavioral Health I have worked more closely with parents and their children as well as collaborated with other professionals in order to provide quality services to children with autism. This work has provided a professional setting in which I have learned and gained a greater appreciation for and understanding of the dynamic relationships between an organization and the stakeholders to whom it provides specific, long-term, and individualized services.

My previous work as Program Coordinator for the Steinway Society’s school-based music education programs had me actively working and communicating with multiple groups of individuals: students, teachers, directors, donors, media, and representatives of partner non-profits. By effectively communicating in dual languages with, between, and on behalf of different groups, program coordination provided me with the underpinnings of public relations skills and inspired my path toward such a career.

I firmly believe that the M.A. program in Global Communications at the American University of Paris will be invaluably essential in helping me to achieve my career objectives as well as develop and refine public relations skills in a multicultural city with an international focus. The program would also enable me to apply my thorough knowledge of an important demographic through a comprehensive education in and professional trajectory toward an international career in public relations. I look forward to shaping my career and being a part of AUP’s legacy of international scholars and professionals as I apply for admission into this program.

———————————————————————————————————-

I used words and phrases from the program’s description of the academic work and expectations of students, I feel I followed the prompt to the tee, I kept it at 504 words, and I was completely honest. Good, right?

Looking at it now since I’ve been accepted into the program at AUP all I see now are intense run-ons (INTENSE run-ons) and a young woman whose honesty reveals an almost pathetic yearning for change after making a lot of poor and incorrect academic choices amidst more than plenty of academic achievement. I know an awful lot about how to get an A with integrity and how to produce quality work for the grade, but throughout the entirety of my academic career I knew very little about what I really wanted to be when I grew up. It took me a B.A. and an M.A. in the wrong field to realize that. Definitely a know-it-all on paper, but not in real life.

What I learned from my entire experience with school, grades, and career is this:

Know-it-alls know nothing at all.



Jan 13

Your Double-Date is an Invitation for a Bad Time

I had plenty of other titles for this entry:

No One Wanted To See This Movie & You Both Suck at Bowling

Competition’s Over: We’re a Better Couple than You Lame-o’s

A Boyfriend’s Night Off: Getting Your Girlfriend to Complain to Someone Else & How to Get Your Friend’s Wife to Do the Listening For You

Let’s Be Frank: Your Girlfriend Made This Stupid Double-Date Happen & We’re All Secretly Mad at Her

Stop Conversation-Hogging My Husband—Your Girlfriend is Boring

And other related titles that put down the other couple and completely blame the other guy’s girlfriend.

It’s always the other girl’s fault. Never forget that.

Anyway, I hate double-dates. Don’t get me wrong. I mean, I really hate double-dates. Nothing to misunderstand there.

The following are reasons why double-dates generally suck…

Your guy’s stupid friend’s stupid girlfriend suggested this stupid idea of going on a stupid double-date to some stupid place to spend an unreasonably stupid amount of money to be bored and to talk about stupid things.

Stupid. Just needed to say that one more time.

It’s really a competition.

Couples choose double-date activities based on the strengths of the couple who initiated the double-date and the weaknesses of the couple they are inviting. For example, Couple A are foodies who are really good at Scrabble.

Couple B are totally not any of those things.

Couple A invites Couple B for a “fun-night-out-at-this-neat-new-restaurant-that-opened-downtown-we-know-the-owner-come-back-for-drinks-and-game-night” kind of horrible evening.

Because Couple B is competitive, as most couples are whether they admit to it or not, they agree to the idea.

Couple A drags Couple B to the restaurant and the date begins…

Couple A knows everyone. Couple B knows no one. POINT–COUPLE A

Couple A knows the food. Couple B has no idea how to pronounce “Chole Bhature” or “Khichdi”. POINT—COUPLE A

Couple A offers to go Dutch/pay for half the bill. Couple B totally hated the food, but has to agree to the payment method lest they look like jerks. POINT—COUPLE A

Couple A invites Couple B over for game night at their place. Their turf, their rules. POINT—COUPLE A

Couple A kick the crap out of Couple B in every—single—game. POINT—COUPLE A

At the end of the night, Couple A feels awesome. They were good at everything, they knew it, and needed Couple B to remind them of it.

They used Couple B not for company, but for a double-date competition to make themselves feel awesome.

Unfortunately, Couple B is obliged to say that not only did they have a “good time”, but that they should “do this again sometime”.

No one will call.

No one will arrange that.

The Separation of Genders.

The two couples meet, say hi, and separate immediately.

The men hang out and bond over things women typically care little about.

The women hang out and bond over everything that everyone typically cares little about.

Once the separation begins, the double-date rapidly places you in the most boring position possible: listening to the other person talk about themselves all—freaking—night.

The girlfriend is boring and everything is her fault.

That other girl, the annoying one, always seems to talk about at least one (or all) of the following.

And she will talk about other people you don’t know. And she will talk about them using their first names.

From the beginning to the end of the double-date, she will talk about…

-Herself.

-Her friend [whom you’ve never met] who, apparently, is “soooo funny”. She will bring up their inside jokes. You will not be in on them.

-How much she hates [this one guy you don’t know].

-Things her boyfriend does that annoy her that a woman of her caliber should just learn to put up.

-Herself.

-Women [you’ve never met] she hates at work [she won’t tell you what she does].

-This one party she went to that was just so crazy you “had to be there”. [again, no clue who or what the hell she’s talking about].

-Herself.

“Oh my gaaawwd! Me too!” is what you’re supposed to say.

But you don’t.

Because she’s still talking.

Then you guys will go for drinks.

Suddenly, she’ll open up to you in ways you’ve never expected a total stranger to open up to you and say. Things like…

-Events in her childhood that have made her question her trust in men.

-That one ex-boyfriend that made her question her trust in men.

-Things her current boyfriend does that makes her question her trust in men.

-Herself

“Oh my gaaawwd! Me too!” is, again, what you’re supposed to say.

But you don’t.

And you shouldn’t.

Because this whole double-date is her fault, remember?

And we’re mad at her.

Or, she won’t talk at all.

And that will be both a blessing and a boring, boring, boring curse.

Fourth-wheel Syndrome.

Three of you know each other pretty well. And let’s face it, no one cares too much about that fourth person.

Let’s walk six feet in front of them.

And bring up inside jokes.

All night.

One of you sucks at everything, we all know it, and you’re ruining everyone’s time.

This is completely different from fourth-wheel syndrome.

Rather than being completely ignored all night, you’re the one that can’t mini-golf, needs/requests bumpers at the bowling alley, can’t draw for crap when you play Pictionary, and asks the server at the restaurant for “more time with the menu” and things like, “What would you recommend?” multiple times like you don’t realize that you’re at a freaking restaurant and everyone’s waiting for you.

Your incompetence isn’t cute.

It’s infuriating.

And now no one likes you.

In conclusion…

Here’s the part where you’d expect me to say things like, “Now, not everyone is like this,” and “I have gone on double-dates that were fun,” but that’s not happening.

Because no matter how cool you and your significant other are as a unit, once you’re put on a double-date everyone is like this.

And I have never gone on a double-date that was fun.

Terrible things happen on every double-date.

And it’s always the other girl’s fault.



Jan 13

Trust me. I know what I’m doing.

Or at least I think I do.

You know what, screw that. Let’s be bold.

I know exactly what I’m doing.

Now that that’s settled, I decided to write a blog because I is kind, I is special, I is important got tired of writing a little bit at a time on Facebook, I only use Twitter to follow Nick Hexum and the Pope (seriously), and I certainly don’t feel cool enough to have a “tumblr”. Pretty sure they spelled that wrong anyway. Lame people tend to do that. See, it’s all about making good decisions at the start. Like having the title of your blog be nothing anyone can pronounce right on the first try. Or starting a blog in 2013 like it’s a fresh idea. Or using “fresh” as a synonym for “cool”. Good decisions. All good decisions.

A lot of things happened to me last year: I graduated from San Jose State University with an M.A. in Child & Adolescent Development in May, got married in October, and found out I’d been accepted into the American University of Paris in November. And the year before that I started a new job, went to Paris, and got engaged at the top of the Eiffel Tower (to a total winner, by the way. I mean, he proposed at the top of the Eiffel Tower. See, total winner/genius.).

So, 2011 was my Romantic year, 2012 was my Banner year, and 2013 is… well… see, 2012 felt like your last year of high school. You’re on top, you’ve cashed in an obscene amount of cool points you earned from all the crap you took from people as an underclassman, you’re right about to graduate, turn 18, and go to college–it’s your year! Then you graduate from high school, wind up in an okay college (if you even go), take on a mediocre job, etc. The excitement doesn’t increase or level off–it freaking plummets!

And I certainly don’t want 2013 to look like those people who graduate from high school who still wear their letterman jackets and hang out at their old stomping grounds. Oh please, just admit we all felt a little sorry for those people. All grown up. Wearing their letterman jackets. Showing up uninvited to school assemblies. Keeping up inside jokes with their teachers who totally forgot about them and that stupid joke. Trying to impress underclassmen who are extremely underage. Just. Really. Sad.

The purpose of this blog will be to make sure 2013 is my Interesting year. I anticipate a lot of challenges, a lot of cool things, maybe even some let-downs and not-so-cool things, but it’s cool. I think I got it.

2013 will be interesting because it will be my and my husband’s first full year as a married couple. Our 7th year as a couple in 2013. Lucky number 7 with unlucky number 13. See? Interesting already.

2013 will also be interesting because I’ve been accepted into the American University of Paris and, if FAFSA, scholarships, etc. come through, my husband and I will be moving to Paris.

“Yeah, let’s document that,” I said.

Geezus.