Sunday, November 30, 2008

27 Dresses

There is something to be said about being “just one of the boys.” You’re the girl that isn’t afraid to get dirty, even if you just got a manicure. Your favorite accessories are cowboy boots and baseball hats-- not because they are trendy, but just because they feel good when you put them on. And there is nothing better tasting than an order of boneless Buffalo wings and an ice cold beer… no matter what time of day it is.

While I am sure every man reading this is going, THAT is my dream woman… I will have you know you are slightly misinformed. Somewhere between my love for sports and my no bullshit knack for calling things like they are, I am normally relegated to a realm no woman ever wants to be shelved in.

You’d think my ability to think like a boy, act like a boy, and be one of the boys would put me in a class above the rest. It would make me the no drama, low maintenance… none of this why didn’t you call me last night so we could listen to each other breathe nonsense.. in short, the perfect girlfriend. I, like you… live and die by the three-day rule unless otherwise specified in the terms of our relationship. And I, unlike most of the other girls you have tried to date have my own thing going on, my own life aside from yours… and you should feel lucky I let you park in it every once in a while. But no.

That’s right.. You’ve unlocked this door with the key of awkwardness. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of ‘asexual’ness, a dimension of embarrassment, a dimension of doormats. You're moving into a land of both closeness and distance, of things and ideas; you've just crossed over into… the Friend Zone.

With the holidays upon us, I found myself heading south back to Tampa to spend time with my friends and family, and avoid the harsh winter weather that had been hanging out since it snowed two days before Halloween. Sick joke, right??.. So aside from lazy days on a boat with friends and nights out with the girls, I also spent some time catching up with an old friend of mine. Did I also mention, we used to date?

Yeah, I know another blog of mine started out very much like this one, but I assure you this one has a very different twist. You see my business with the previously mentioned ex (Mark??) had been resolved for many years now. This other one in question?… Well, bruises on my heart and ego were still pretty fresh. Still, I agreed to meet him for dinner since he insisted he needed someone to talk to. The first half of dinner was just the typical nonsense.. “How is NYC??” “Do you like it??” “What have you been up to???” But, as the sake started rollin, things quickly shifted to the heart of the problem. He told me how unhappy he was in Tampa, being from the Lonestar state, and how he just felt like he was missing something. Given my current situation, I totally understood what he was going through and more. Then he drops the bomb. My ex was sprung on a new girl and he wanted my help.

WHAT?.. I nearly choked on my edemamme. You can not be @#$%ing serious. We don’t speak for months and now you want my help to “get the girl.” Surely, this kid must be high?... Well, he wasn’t. And I shouldn’t call him Shirley.

Over the next few hours, I sat and listened. Through the sake bombs and the awkwardness he poured his heart out over this new girl in his life, and all the hurdles it would take to get her: ruining her friendship with her best friend who he used to hook up with, and possibly ruining a friendship of his own with a buddy that used to date the girl in question. It was a page six scandal in the making, or at least a really awesome Jerry Springer episode. I mean, what was so magical about this one girl that was worth all the drama??.. He continued to lament on and on about how this girl was chill, just “relatable.” The no drama type of girl that “got” him, and loved sports, and didn’t need the nightlife scene.

Wait a frickin' second there, cowboy. Hold your damn horses. He was describing ME.

I was all those things and more back when we used to talk, only he never chased me like this. Never went crazy over me like this. So what was so different about THIS girl?.. As our dinner began to more closely resemble a therapy session with a psychologist, I couldn’t help but feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest. It’s not every day that someone you still have unresolved feelings for tells you they think they found the real thing.. and want to settle down with someone else.
But there it was. The truth. As cold and nasty as the sushi that sat in front of us.

I was the Julia Roberts of my own life. The girl, sitting in front of a boy.. asking him to quit being a moron and see what’s in front of him. My life was one sick romantic comedy. The kind where it’s supposed to be a happy ending, but the girl doesn’t get the guy and she ends up having fun at the reception with her gay friend. The kind where she is supposed to feel happy her best friend ran off with Cameron Diaz, and found true happiness. She was hot back then, anyway.

It was a long and awkward car ride back to his place, as he continued his story, and I did my best to listen objectively. I helped him weigh out the pros and cons of the situation, as it wasn’t exactly the easiest or most rational decision he had made to pursue this girl. But he seemed to think she was worth it.

As I dropped him off at his place, I turned to him and asked him…

“Do you think she can make you happy??.. Do you think she is what you are missing??”

The smile on his face said it all.

“Well then,” I said, “Get r done.”

As I turned to leave, he ran back and knocked on my window, motioning for me to roll it down.

“You know Jenn,” he said, “that’s what I always loved about you. You were like the girls from back home.. simple, laid back, unselfish, blue jeans and baseball hat kinda girl. You’re good people and amazing. Thank you.”

A quick kiss on the forehead.. and he was gone.

Sigh. So goes the curse of the wing girl. I am but the Robin to his Batman. The Boo Boo to his Yogi. The Barney to his Fred. And that’s where the story ends.

My car ride home was significantly less awkward, and tad more defeated, but seeing him finally have some resolve in his life made all my pain seem worth it. Sometimes you really don’t know why certain people come into our lives, or why we play such limited roles in theirs. But at least he felt close enough to me to trust me with his heart, even if he intended to give it to someone else. I may not have gotten the guy, but I gained a friend. So what if I am always the bridesmaid, I’ll catch the bouquet in life sooner or later… right?..

And until then, I can still have fun trying on all the dresses.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Quarter Century Crisis

There are many milestones we reach in our lives that open for us the next chapter in our existence. There are some that open with a fanfare and have you jumping for joy, while others have us fearing for our lives, and running to our plastic surgeons office.

First there was the obsession with the whole “getting to drive” thing. There was nothing like having your first taste of freedom, the kind where you roll your windows down, blare something other than your dad’s brand of classic rock, and say… “Screw you guys; I can drive myself to the mall.” No longer were you those kids loitering outside the movie theater, because now, you could come and go as you please. Take that officer.

Then, there was the whole “I’m a legal adult” thing. Congrats, now you can vote, be those teenagers giggling in the aisles of the porn store, buy your own cigarettes, and oh yeah, get arrested and be put in jail … and your parents can’t come bail your ass out.

Finally, there was the “Yes sir, I’d like another… and sure you can see my ID” thing. You’d flash that baby everywhere you went, because now.. the picture was actually yours, and you no longer needed to convince your older brother’s friends the merits of buying you beer. And you suddenly began to wake up with many more headaches than you used to.

Sigh. Is it just me, or have these supposed landmark moments of our lives have gotten progressively a whole lot less significant as we have gotten older?.. Or seriously, is it REALLLLLLY just me?... Have I gotten to the age where I stop counting birthdays???..

As I looked into the mirror at my one year older self, I realized I was staring gravity in the face. What were these lines underneath my eyes? Why did my ass suddenly seem to belong in a sir mix a lot video? And what the @#$! are THOSE??????????..

There they were, like a tombstone marking the end of my youth, two grey hairs. There is absolutely no frickin' way this was happening to me. Surely, I had to just be going blond. I mean, I always thought I had blond moments, and at least now I would have an excuse. But alas. upon further examination, it was concluded they were in fact… GREY hairs.

Calm down Jenn. Seriously, there is no reason to panic. After all, you have been under an enormous amount of stress as of late. So why don’t you just grab those tweezers, rip them out and no one will ever have to know.

WAIT!... Doesn’t everyone say that if you rip out one, two grow in its place???.. Pshhhh…

Silly old wives tale. And damn it. I am NOT old.

I guess I could just leave them there. But then, what would all the guys say?.. I like older women??.. You have the same color hair as my grandmother??.. Yeah, total game killer. These babies HAD to go.

One box of chocolate brown hair color, and a super long shower later, I emerged a newer, bolder, and certainly younger looking version of myself.

“Notice anything?” I asked my parents as I did a quick spin for approval.

“You got a new outfit??” my mom asked.

“Nooooooo, what about you dad???”

My father just stared at me blankly, as he like most men wouldn’t notice if I dressed in a clown costume, so long as I didn’t come home with any weird tattoos or crazy piercings. Sigh. MEN.

Maybe I had just over reacted. Maybe I wasn’t really getting older. Maybe, just maybe I had forgotten how to have fun and just be a kid again.

Your twenties are supposed to be the best years of your life, right?.. Or at least that is what everyone tells you anyway. So why had the first half of my twenties slipped away from me seemingly in one big blur??

Why was everyone so obsessed with age anyway?.. It’s just a number. And you’re only as old as you feel. And on most days, I felt just fine. In fact, I feel better than fine. I feel twenty something and fabulous.

Suddenly the lines around my eyes had diminished into nothing. Sir Mix A Lot videos seemed a helluva lot more en vogue. And Jenn Sterger?.. Was back to her old rockstar self.

Oh… and the grey hairs, you ask?.. those bitches still gotta go.. Sorry George Clooney and Brett Favre, there are certain fashion trends no girl should ever touch.


Happy birthday, Jenn!!! Nothing better than a Saturday birthday, so enjoy the birthday weekend...Best of luck to the 'Noles and the Jets!!

PS: Hope you enjoyed the pics I added.. :)

Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanks to the stalkerific technology that are status updates and away message, anyone anywhere can know exactly what you're feeling and doing at any given time. I've never been one to find the need to lie about or hide my personal life. And why should I? My real friends want to know what's going on in my life, and if anyone else reads it, well.. So what? They want to judge me based on some status remarks and blog updates? Hell, if people are going to talk, I should at least make sure they have all the facts straight, or in some cases give them something to talk about. I figure the better majority of them are experiencing a lot of the same things I am anyway. People forget it wasn't too long ago that I was just your average college student, going to classes and tending bars before my life took a turn for the unexpected. This journey has had its ups, its downs, and certainly its price. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

When people write me and ask if this profile is really mine, or if I check it personally, nine times out of ten, I try to respond back, even if it’s a simple yes or no, because I'm happy to know they cared enough just to write. In some instances I have made pen pals, even great friends from perfect strangers, because I was there to listen when they needed someone and vice versa. Why on earth would I bother conversing with someone I don't even know?? I guess because I'm polite, nice, and I would expect the same in return.

One of the many criticisms I have been given since relocating to the big city is that I'm too nice. Too nice? I had never heard such a thing. Since when had treating other people the way I wanted to be treated ever been considered a flaw? Had "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" joined dinosaurs on the list of all things extinct?? I began to think.. Maybe I just wasn't cut out for this place or even this career path in general. I had to escape, if for nothing else.. My own personal happiness.. And sanity.

When most people think of "clear your head" vacation destinations they think of warm sandy, beaches. Or if you're in the Hollywood line of work... this wonderful place called rehab, where "happy drugs" are all inclusive, and the padded rooms have a view. Not wanting to end up spending my time at Lindsay Lohan's time share, I opted for skipping town to a quiet place in the Midwest, my own personal sanctuary.... Indianapolis.

I have never had a bad experience in Indy, partly because it still exudes that southern hospitality feel, and partly because a few of my favorite people in the world live there. Whenever I have felt lost or lonely, I could always count on a trip to Indy to clear my head and set me straight.

For months now, I haven't really been myself. Sure, I've done my job, taken my meetings, and smiled at most everyone I met, but I simply wasn't happy. I love my apartment, but it’s been the only place I have really seen other than the inside of an office building or the sideline of the meadowlands. In short, I was pretty miserable. I feel sorry for the people that have only met me in the last few months, because they really haven't had the chance to meet the real "Jenn." Instead, they met this cyborg femme-bot Jenn Sterger. Just a machine going through the motions of every day life. I was Sterg on auto pilot. And for anyone that knows me.. You know I'm anything but that. I pride myself on my outgoing fearless fun loving nature. And I missed the old me .. The girl with the pajamas on, the girl in the cowboy hat, the girl who threw caution to the wind... More than anyone.

My usual reasons for going to Indy would have been sufficient enough to put a smile on my face, or at least deliver a bitchslap back to my old self. This trip however was a little bit different. Aside from the usual faces (Will and Barb—who have taken me in like a stray dog), there were new characters added to my Indy experience: an old friend from college, and … a pen pal.

OK, before you start with the “Know how I know you’re a gay… because you have a pen pal,” I say… “shut the @#$! Up.” Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to converse with, from a completely different world than yours. They don’t have to know all the gritty details of your day to day life, though most would sit around if you wanted to tell them. My particular pen pal does just that. He listens.. or reads, I guess. There’s absolutely nothing in it for him, but someone to shoot the @#$% and trade stories with. And he’s okay with that. Even from a thousand miles away, this person has the ability to change my day for the better, especially considering how lonely I have found living in NYC to be. They say there are people you meet along your journey that significantly change your life for the better. They come into your life not necessarily at the best of times, but at a time where a few kind words can make all the difference and a smile can tell you.. That everything is going to be okay.

This past weekend I got the chance to sit down and meet my pen pal face to face, just to thank him for all the times he has pulled my head out of my butt when I was in a bad mood, or all the times he made me laugh. I thanked him for being honest with a perfect stranger, and genuinely caring when sometimes I felt like no one else did. Not that our conversations were super deep, but they were a welcome distraction from my everyday life, something we could all use a little more of every now and then. At the end of the weekend, we both went our separate ways but we’d always have Indy.

The other welcome face this past weekend was an old friend from my college days. He and I had bartended together back in the day, but he had always been too cool for school to hang out with me during our Tally days. Back in college, he had been the bad boy, and the trouble maker, but now.. he was different. He had moved to Indy to be with his college girlfriend, but his relationship had dissolved, leaving him in the middle of a city he didn’t really know well, and a city that really didn’t know him. (Sound familiar??) At first things had been tough, but somehow he had persevered. As I sat across the table from him and listened to his story, I realized the person sitting across the table was a changed man. Could I really start over, in a city I didn’t know, and make it so I could call my own??.. It gave me hope to see someone in such a similar situation thriving under some not so ideal conditions. Maybe there was hope for me yet.

Indianapolis was just the medicine my soul needed. It felt great to be around people I love, but more so… it just felt great to be wanted and appreciated. We all deserve to be surrounded by people that have our best interest in mind, the kind of people that will be there when things aren’t so perfect.

I have spent the past few months of my life, as a girl, interrupted. I’ve been so scared of moving forward, that it had made me almost scared to live. But somehow this weekend had changed me. It was about time someone or something knocked some sense into me. It was about time.. I got my groove back.