Good For Her! Not For Me.

I am at that age and it is that time of year.  Pictures of diamond rings and white gowns are flooding my Facebook timeline.

Everyone is getting engaged or married.  And it makes me anxious.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love Say Yes to the Dress and can marathon through a Sunday afternoon listening to Randy tell a woman that wearing a mermaid cut dress is doing nothing for her silhouette.  I live for the snickers of the bratty sister/cousin/snubbed bridesmaid that doesn’t want to be there and will put down everything the bride puts on.  And I love that moment when the consultant asks the bride about their fiance and she just gushes over how they first met, and the proposal.

Let’s be honest, I also love a good party; weddings are no exception.  The love and devotion the couple shares is palpable.  An amorous haze surrounds the day with love, laughter, cocktail hours, mashed potato bars, chocolate fountains, and bad dance moves.  It is truly an event.

And the buildup… with engagement announcements, save the dates, actual invitations, mixed with a scattering of wedding showers, bridesmaids and groomsmen selection, bachelor(ette) parties, venue selections, cake tastings, flower arrangements, guest lists, picking a photographer, limo rentals, dress/tux fittings, honeymoon bookings, hair and makeup run-throughs, the rehearsal dinner, and then the wedding… it makes sense why some people can be tense on their wedding days.

I was never a girl who put too much weight on my wedding day.  I don’t remember playing pretend wedding, or imagining what I wanted on my “special day.”  I don’t know, I guess it just never occurred to me.  Or if I did, it played such a small part in my childhood that I couldn’t care less about the memories of it (Mom and Dad, you can correct me if I am wrong here).  I can say that I married off my Barbie dolls to G.I. Joes or Ken dolls, but it was always Barbie’s day.  I couldn’t project my wants and desires onto her.  Specifically because I had no wants to project.

Although planning the perfect wedding is some people’s dream, it was never mine.  The idea of choosing the font for my invitations or who gets nixed from the guest list makes me nervous.  It also doesn’t help that I come from a large, Italian family.  Having to tell any of them they are not invited would be a bloodbath. It’s just a ball of anxiety that I would prefer not to deal with.  I commend anyone who does have a wedding — large or small — and can organize their perfect day. But honestly, it’s not for me.

I don’t want to have a wedding.  For me, the idea of getting married has less to do with the event and more to do with the end result.  That commitment you make with another person.  Promising to be with them in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, forever.  That is the magic.

I think this realization became most apparent when I was watching the 30 Rock: Mazel Tov, Dummies! episode for the first time.  Liz Lemon is a character that always spoke to me.  She is awkward and opinionated, does her best to be an independent feminist in a big city but sometimes falters.  And she has no problem shotgunning a pizza or reminiscing about her childhood weddings to Saul Rosenbear which was always a bit more realistic.

I got her, I saw myself in her, I was her.  So when Liz and Criss agreed to have a simple courthouse wedding, I thought to myself, That’s what I want.  That’s it.  I brought up to my grandma once that I wanted a small wedding and low-key reception and she said to me, “Well, there are twenty-five of the first cousins and plus ones, so that’s the smallest you get from us.”

Thank you, Grandma.  You are too sweet.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that by small wedding, I meant a courthouse ceremony, and low-key reception probably meant a bar with arcade games and craft beers.  But I guess she (as well as the rest of my family) will be finding that out when that bridge must be crossed.

I’ve shared this thought with a few people and some have told me, “You won’t think that way when you actually do get engaged.” But I don’t think that’s the case.  I know how I am.  I have watched shows about weddings, looked at wedding pictures of friends and family, and read articles about different themes and venues.  I love talking with people about their weddings, what they did, and how they felt. But it doesn’t make me excited to go dress shopping or pick centerpieces for my own special day. Instead, it makes me think about the great Amy Poehler quote in her memoir, Yes Please: “Good for her! Not for me.”

And so what if I get married in a barn made out of burlap, a grand banquet hall, my parent’s backyard or in a tiny courthouse downtown?  My wedding day doesn’t make my marriage more or less legitimate.  And my decisions are what will make my special day special.

What’s This? What’s This?

About a year ago, I needed help making friends.  I was a recent grad student graduate, with an anti-social job in a foreign country where all of my fellow international friends had moved back home.  I was cold and alone.  Wasting away with nobody to talk to but a filing cabinet.

But now I am back in the United States, closer to my old college friends, have a (temporary) full-time job, and *gasp* work friends!  Which has all lead to *another gasp* having a social life!  As of now, I am living in a suburb of Chicago that is 15 minutes away from my work, and 20 minutes away from Chicago.

It is pretty awesome.  I have weeks where I am in the city every day for trivia nights and dinner dates.  Sometimes I even have to tell one person that I cannot hang out because I have already made plans.  If this is what life was supposed to be like in high school, then I get it.  Being popular is awesome.  I get why young teens do whatever means necessary to become part of the elite.

This whole experience has also opened me up to dressing better, caring about my appearance, and just embracing my femininity.  I am wearing jeans and tee shirts far less than I ever have in the past 5 years, wearing boots and flats instead of Vans and Converse, and utilizing blow dryers and curling wands.

Not saying that if you do not like these things, then you are not a woman.  They’re just parts of my life I never thought I would embrace.  Unfortunately, first impressions are still very important when meeting new people.  So I am simply putting my best foot forward and using fashion to express certain aspects of my personality.  Whether it is through wearing a skull spotted blouse or maroon colored tights.

**Old Me vs. New Me**

I have group texts that don’t annoy me when they go off.  I have regularly scheduled plans.  I am having fun and enjoying life.  This is probably the first time in a very long time where I am genuinely happy with all aspects of my life.  Work is good, friends are good, family is good, my self-esteem and confidence are at an all-time high.  Everything is good.

I am good.

Who Do They Go To?

 

I close my eyes.  The cold, hard surface of my desk props my elbow as I lean my head into my hand while automatically rambling off the conjugated forms of hacer.  Hago, haces, hace, hacemos, hacéis, hacen.  On and on and on.  I open my eyes again and they begin to glaze over as I stare at the clock.  It’s only 9:13 am and I mentally groan from exhaustion when Greg accidentally kicks the back of my chair, snapping my attention back to the chalkboard.  A few more swift kicks follow and I suddenly realize Greg’s kicks aren’t an accident.  Principal Connor pokes her head into our classroom and calls Mrs. Amore into the hallway.  “Look at exercise 2C in your workbooks, class,” Mrs. Amore instructs. Her heels clink against the tile floor and she closes the door behind her.

The class erupts into sudden chaos before the latch even clicks into the doorframe.  The girls clutter and begin giggling over the new Heath Ledger movie, while the boys discuss the much anticipated Xbox release in November.  I pull out my Walkman from my desk and raise the headphones to my ears when Greg kicks my chair again.

I turn to face him. “What’s that about?” he asks, nodding towards the door.

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

We look at the door, out the small rectangle window, seeing half of Mrs. Amore’s back.  She is stiff, as if cold water has been poured over her, but then her shoulders begin to rise and fall as Principal Connor rubs her back, trying to calm her down.

“It doesn’t look good,” I point out.  “She’s crying.”

We look at each other and back at the door.  The heels of Mrs. Amore’s palms wipe vigorously at her cheeks, erasing any sign of sadness.  She then takes a deep breath as she tries to regain composure and reaches out for the doorknob.  I shove my Walkman back into my desk and face forward.  Greg places his hands folded on top of his.  Mrs. Amore walks back into the classroom with puffy, tired eyes.

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FALL AWESOMENESS PART DEUX

You should know this by now.  I love Fall.  I am majorly, totally butt crazy in love with Fall.  And I know that I went into some detail about what it is that just makes this season the best in the entirety of humanity.  And to keep the love going, I have decided to compile an even better list of why Fall is just so goddamn amazing.

Television —  With the changing of leaves comes the return of great television shows.  What television shows, you ask?  Well let me tell you:
The Mindy Project: DANNY CASTELLANO DANCING HIS FEELINGS. NEED I SAY MORE?!

But I will anyway.  The Mindy Project is of course the refreshingly beautiful and hilarious take of the career-driven woman living in the city, and still looking for love.  Mindy Kaling is brilliant.  She is the perfect combination of a woman who knows her shit as well as every celebrity’s.  She makes being pop-culturally sound, intelligent, witty, and feminine work.  You can be smart with a career path and still care about The Royal Baby 2: Little George is Not Impressed.  And let’s be honest, the writing is fresh, the characters are hilarious, and Danny Castellano is the best thing to happen to mankind shut up yes he is you cannot tell me differently.

Sleepy Hollow: Ichabod Crane.  In the present.  Hold the white-washed cast. THIS IS TELEVISION AT ITS FINEST.


Once Upon a Time:  Let’s be honest here.  Captain mother-effin’-Hook.  I feel like I am completely discrediting myself as a writer and observer when half of the things I have said is about how amazingly hot characters are.  But that sexy little tart isn’t the only good thing to come out of Once Upon a Time.  There is such a strong female cast in OUAT that it gives so many girls — or women — so many different idols.  Snow’s strength, Regina’s passion, Emma’s courage, Belle’s quick wit… I can go on.

Bob’s Burgers:  I can not ever give this show the justice it deserves.  I freakin’ love Bob’s Burgers.  With so many cartoon shows relying on crude humor, bad language, and offensive jokes, it is so refreshing to watch an animated show that relies on impeccable writing, terrible burger puns, and Gene’s megaphone of farts.  And Bob’s Burgers is the home of the best character on television chosen by we the people, Tina Belcher.  Tina Belcher, giving teenage awkward girls a voice and ringing true to the feminist name.

American Horror Story:  Season one of AHS  will always reign supreme and flawless while last season was a disaster.  There were so many opportunities for American Horror Story: Coven to be everything.  Women who can use witchcraft and better their lives.  Yes! feminists cheered.  But what happened?  It turned into an unnecessary race war, with woman vs woman catfights, and a competition over who the better woman was with scenes of Gabourey Sidibe having sex with a minotaur sprinkled in.  It was a shit show disaster area.  So season 4, Circus can either be really goddamn amazing, or just another wasted opportunity.

Wearing My Glasses —  I have come to notice that when summer hits, eyeglasses wearers hit a bit of a snag.  When going to the beach, you can’t wear your contacts and go into the ocean without fear of your contacts falling out by a wave, beachball to the head, what have you.  But at the same time, you can’t wear them in the water because you will lose them.  And then the ocean will swallow them up in the deep unknown.  There are probably some hipster angler fish rocking thick-rimmed specks thanks to Poseidon’s torturous ways.

It’s a double edge sword that glasses wearers have, so we usually go for the easier loss: contact lenses.  During summer, my glasses almost have to be abandoned. You can’t wear sunglasses with glasses on. Well you can, but you’ll look like a doofus. And transition lenses should be burnt at the stake as being a terrible idea because they always get stuck on that half-way transition level where your lenses are kinda tinted, but not completely. Creepfest.

But in Fall, it’s glasses’ time to shine.  They prosper in the Fall.  I don’t have to soak up sun and worry about blindness in the Fall.  Wearing my thick-rimmed glasses like a champ and loving every minute of it.

Not Having to Shave My Legs —  Men, get over it.  When women say how much they loooooove Fall and pumpkin spice lattes and Ugg boot-legging-sweater weather and apple picking, they are really thanking their lucky stars that their razors can go through hibernation until April.  because shaving in the summer sucks.

When a woman takes a shower and has to shave, you would not believe what kind of pretzel-like contortionist we transform into.  All done without falling on our asses or cutting the crap out of our knees, ankles, etc.  But with Fall, we have options.  We have tights.  We have leggings (yes, the true reason why we love them).  We have jeans.  And, we can go the lazy way and only shave our shins.



You tell ’em Linda.  You tell ’em.

Fall 2014 arrives September 22.  Prepare yourselves.  Live it.  Love it.

AND DON’T FORGET: FALL MEANS MEN IN FLANNEL


Confessions of the Dog Walker

In case anyone didn’t know, I kind of live in the town Footloose was based off of.  So when I get the chance to run into the night towards the big city, I take it.

For the past two weeks I have been living in the city at a family friend’s house watching her dog and cat.  They are delightful pets and I truly appreciate the opportunity it is to be (somewhat) independent in the city.  Dog walking is kind of like babysitting.  Except there is less crying, more picking up shit, and an odd feeling of “Oh, my god, I am the only one keeping you alive!”

2014-08-07 20.18.59  2014-08-07 18.31.37

This little nugget is Roki, the Shiba Inu.  He doesn’t jump around, he doesn’t lick your face, he doesn’t beg for food.  What does he do all day, you ask?  He lounges.  This dog is a Canine of Leisure.  He is basically a cat.  He has his own lounging chair with a window view of the courtyard.  Not that anyone else would want to sit on it — it’s covered in dog hair.  He is the Queen of Shiba Inu (see what I did there?).

Queen of Shiba

He doesn’t need you to pet him, he tells you when you can.  As if he is doing me a favor.  Oh thank you, Queen Roki!  I am humbled by your acceptance.  Please take this dog treat as a sign of my gratitude.  But honestly, that’s what I love about him.  My dog at home is so needy.  She stares at you intently, waiting for you to pet her.  You can see her trying to will you into a scratch behind the ears.  She sneaks in a lick to your face when you put her leash on.  She will crawl onto the couch, nuzzling against you until you tell her to get down.

But this guy, he’s like, “Eh, rather not.  More treats, slave girl!”

We have a routine.  Every morning I wake up at 6am, hit the snooze button til 6:30, and get up for our morning walks.  People are lucky if I am fully clothed for our morning walks.  I usually wear whatever shirt I slept in, a pair of shorts, and Vans with the heels folded over.  I don’t like our morning walks.  But funnily enough, even Roki doesn’t like our morning walks either.  He feels just as passionately about them as I do.  We do it because when we look at each other right before we open the front door, we telepathically say to one another, “It’s either this, or cleaning up dog shit first thing when getting back from work.”

We do the bare minimum for the morning walks.  We walk to the park right next door, do what needs to be done, and run home as fast as our combined six legs can manage.  He doesn’t like them so much that sometimes he tries to make me turn around and go home.  He blocks my path, which makes me almost trip over him every time.

He doesn't want to go on his walk today. #Shiba #Dogwalker #SummertimeSadness

A post shared by Allex (@allexhorrendous) on

But then he gets to mock me while I get ready to leave for work in the morning.  I get out of the shower to this little bastard:

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I get it, Roki.  You get to lounge all day while I put food in the dog bowl.  But you don’t have to rub it in!  Wait until I leave at least.  

But it’s the evening walks where we truly shine. There is no time limit for the evening walks.  There is no rush.  So I let him lead.  This dog is amazing.  For the evening walks, he is completely in charge.  I let him go wherever he wants.  If he wants to go all the way up Kimball and then cut through a sleepy neighborhood street to poke around, I let him.  I let him because no matter what, he knows how to get home. 

He knows how to get home.  

I don’t need to pull out my phone, wondering where we are.  Because it doesn’t matter.  When he is ready, he will go home.  It’s like Doggie SatNav.  It’s awesome.  The only thing I have against the evening walks is that I get a lot more attention than the morning walks.  People stop me to ask if Roki is a fox.  It’s an alarmingly ongoing occurrence.  Yes, person I do not know, I have successfully captured a city fox, trained it, and can now gallivant about town with it.

But I can say that what’s worse than the dumb fox question, is the larger amount of cat calling that happens from our dog walks.  I have had people shout at me from cars, and ring the bells of their bicycles at us.  But Allex, you’re thinking, maybe they’re just excited about how cute Roki is.  I wish this was true, dear reader.  But one does not shout, “Hey pretty lady!” while admiring a dog.  I even got a few kissy kisses thrown at me.  This is part of the reason that I wear headphones while walking Roki, which blocks out the harassment, but also puts me in a dangerous situation from getting attacked.  Granted, it’s usually 6pm and still daylight when we go on our walks, but still.  It can happen.  I can either get harassed on the streets, or subject myself to danger.

Leave me alone, people.  I am walking my dog.  I am tired from working, and the last thing I want to deal with is what you have to say about me.  Just let me dog walk in peace.

But there are a lot of good things that come from our walks.  I know the local dogs — and sometimes even their cute owners.  The cute black collie that comes with its tall, dark, and handsome pseudo tortured artist owner.  The pug and beagle with their business-casually clad, thick rimmed glasses wearing Looper.  Hoping for my very own 101 Dalmations meet cute.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?  Either way, it’s fun making these connections when I really don’t know these people at all, but always smile and say hello to.  That’s camaraderie.  I like dog walking.  I like dog sitting.  I like it all.  Except the picking up of dog shit.  That’s not ever fun.

 

I’M NOT DEAD YET — Librocubicularist’s Unintentional Hiatus

I feel like taking a walk!

Hello dear readers, I apologize for this unintentional dry spell of usual updates, banned book gif-fests, and all-around holiday shenanigans and fun.  But for the past two months I have been very, very, very busy.

I am back in the United States, living with my parents, and with a temporary job.

My commute barely makes time for reading, and I am trying to read as much of Lolita and other banned books as I possibly can.  But until then, I just wanted everyone to know that Librocubicularist is still alive and well.

Just a bit banged up.

Lord of the Flies, Where Everyone Hates the Smart, Fat Kid

#8 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Published:
1954
Reasons For Being Banned/Challenged: 
Challenged at the Owen, NC High School (1981) because the book is “demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal.”
My Rating: 1 Powerful Conch Shell

Hello dear readers.  It’s been much too long since our last Banned Book Chat.  I wish I had a good enough excuse as to why I haven’t written anything recently (moving back to the United States into my parents’ house, or looking for a new job, or anything justifiable) other than the fact that I didn’t really like Lord of the Flies but I don’t.  I just really didn’t like Lord of the Flies.

Flipping through it, I thought it should be easy.  Barely 200 pages, 12 chapters, and a fat kid gets killed.  How long of a read would it be?  Long enough, apparently.  I realized that if I know someone is going to be killed before reading a book, I want instant gratification.  Everyone who hasn’t read Lord of the Flies like I didn’t, basically know two things about it: kids are on a desert island, and Piggy gets offed because he sucks.

I knew something was wrong with me when I read Piggy’s complaining and was like, You’re right, Piggy.  These other kids are little assholes.  From page one, I was sympathizing with the annoyingly useless kid on the island.  He couldn’t collect firewood, or help hunt.  But he was smart, rational, and had glasses for fire.  I’m sorry, but I feel like for any tribe, the one who makes fire IS THE MOST IMPORTANT.  Everyone should have been kissing Piggy’s fat ass instead of teasing him.  Bunch of jerks.

Lord of the Flies was basically the English children’s version of Survivor without Jeff Probst riding a skidoo at the finale from Borneo (or wherever they’re Survivor-ing from) to New York City with the vase of winning votes.  It may have been nicer if the kids were just like, “Piggy, the tribe has spoken… you suck” and kicked him off instead of smashing him to oblivion.

Of course, the two characters I did like were Simon and Piggy.  I am still grieving over Simon and never want to hear anyone chant, Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in! ever in my entire life.  And reading this book was like one giant cliffhanger for me.  I was turning pages carefully, waiting for the moment to come where Jack — the ginger from hell — would just murder poor, fat, smart Piggy.

Only to find out that it isn’t even Jack who kills him!  Fucking Roger hides his psychotic tendencies the entire novel until Jack gives the okay to become savages and he just goes bananas.  Sticking sharp sticks up live pigs’ rectums, killing Piggy with giant boulders, and hunting down Ralph with the intention to cut his head and offer it to the beast of the island as a sacrifice.  Holy lord, this kid is a maniac.

Even better, whenever that conch shell was mentioned, I immediately thought of that episode of SpongeBob Squarepants where he and Patrick start worshiping this magic conch shell that they use to tell them what to do.  And when they are abandoned somewhere, the conch shell tells them to do nothing… so they sit there, driving Squidward insane.

What really bummed me out about Lord of the Flies was how both nothing happened, and everything happened all too soon.  The first eight chapters are of these English boys trying to survive on a beautiful island, electing Ralph as chief, and doing whatever they can to survive.  Jack was being a bit of a spoiled brat most of the time, but then all of a sudden everything shifts.

The last four chapters try to throw in all the chaos with Jack Merridew (best last name ever, by the way) breaking away and taking all the others with him.  And then IT happens.  Those savage little brats kill Simon.  Poor Simon!  He was the best thing on that crappy island.  Although he did begin tweaking out, walking alone in the jungle at night, and having hallucinating seizures.  But other than those issues, he was the best one!  So he had to be killed.  Way to Game of Thrones me, Golding.  Killing the TWO characters I liked and leaving those shit kids alive and well.

It also just ended so abruptly.  Right when things get good, with the kids setting the entire forest on fire, beginning the man hunt for Ralph, Piggy finally getting bowled off a cliff, and complete chaos breaking loose, a military ship sees the smoke and comes to rescue the boys.

Of course, the adults think the kids are just playing games, unknowing of how savage they have become.  And when one asks if anyone has died as a joke, Ralph is like, “Yeah, asshole.  Two of my friends.  But don’t worry, their bodies got swept into the ocean.”  Even better is when he asks who is in charge and Ralph steps up saying, “I AM,” while Jack Merridew shrivels into himself and realizes how he is weak.

And then Ralph cries from sadness, causing the other boys to cry, causing the military man to turn away, because of the awkwardness of the situation THE END.

Seriously, that is how it ends.  THAT IS HOW IT ENDS.

Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.

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Want to read along with me?
Check out the Banned Books Challenge page to see my progress!