Welcome to the Official Blog for Jenn Sterger...you may know me from the internet as the FSU Cowgirl, or from my TV and Magazine appearances...This is the place where I will update everyone with the things that are happening in my personal and professional life! It's been a wild ride since that 2005 Labor Day game that changed my life forever..so check back often for updates! Thanks for visiting! Please sign my Guest Book at the top so I can keep you informed with new content!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Notes on life
But one English teacher stands out in my mind. He was a tiny little man, with fiery red hair and beady little eyes that narrowed at me from behind his frameless glasses that told me "Don't ever do anything that involves writing. Ever. You're terrible at it." Harsh words to say to the youth of America that looks to their teachers for inspiration. Then again, most are getting paid duckets for a thankless job that helps so many.
Believe me when I say, I took that man’s words to heart.
In high school, I went through an identity crisis. I spent so much time questioning my life and was so ridden with teen angst that I would’ve made most John Hughes’ movie plots look like child’s play. Every few days it seemed I would find myself sitting in front of my guidance counselor, Mr. Peak, questioning why kids were so cruel, or why I had to deal with the hardships I faced. To anyone else outside his office, I probably looked like some overly pretentious spoiled brat, looking for a way to "legally" ditch class. But in all actuality, I was learning lessons about life you can't get from reading books or writing perfectly assembled five paragraph essays.
In our sessions, I shared with Mr. Peak the things I was scared to share even with my closest of friends. Like the extreme sadness I experienced watching my grandfather slowly slip away from us before our very eyes. Like the fact that someone took a baseball bat to my car just weeks after I had broken up with a guy on the baseball team… random right? Or like .. Well, there are certain parts of my life I can never bare for anyone to read. But for the few people that will read this, and instinctively know.. Yeah, that messed me up pretty bad too.
But the one thing Mr. Peak always understood about me was my love and passion for music. No matter how big life’s problems got, I always had my music. It was what got me through the other five grueling classes of the day. I knew come 6th period I would be among people that "understood me" and loved to create something as much as I did. I may not have been the best at it, but I poured my heart and soul into it. The 6th period wind ensemble, 7th period "showcase" or as most people in pop culture these days have come to address it.. "Glee." I belonged to the live band that accompanied them, but it wasn't from lack of vocal talent. I just preferred to play piano; after all, it was my one true love. Even on the really crappy days, where I bombed that AP physics exam or when the mean girls convinced my prom date "not to go to the dance with me or they wouldn't be his friend anymore"...I always had my music and it never broke my heart. In fact, I poured myself into variations of song. That is until the end of my senior year.
It was just a mere two weeks or so until our senior day, which I can only describe as a half ass version of the one depicted in "Grease." The teachers had already taught you all they could, the final exams had been taken, and essentially… Well, you were pretty much just going to mail in the rest of your remaining days anyway, so why drag this out any longer? With the end of the year came the end of the year music concerts. It was something I always looked forward to, but this one was special to me, as it was the culmination of four years of hard work on my life’s greatest passion. The band concert always went well, and I usually landed the all the flute solos. I even got to conduct some too, which I found I got as much joy from as actually playing. But then came “Finale”, my show choir’s end of the year performance. I had spent weeks preparing for this event: making a senior slide show, helping people with their solo numbers. I dealt with overbearing stage moms that insisted I was playing in the wrong key when it was really their kid just being tone deaf, then me learning songs in new keys to rectify said problem. And I did this all with a smile on my face. Why? How? Because I loved what I did, but more so the way it made me feel.
That Wednesday night was the big show, and boy do I remember it well. We had finished the final song.. And now came the curtain call. One by one the names of all my fellow band mates and glee clubbers were called until we were down to just me. This is it, I thought, my big moment..
But my name never came.
I looked out into the crowd of people, and found the faces of my family.. My mom, my dad, my grandmother.. All of whom had come to see me. And.. Nothing. The moment I locked eyes with my mom... I lost it. There on the stage, in front of a sold out auditorium, I tilted my head down, and wept. As they say in mean girls... "Gretchen Weiners had cracked."
The next day I came to school in a daze. I was a shell of my former self. My eyes puffy from crying, I tried to put on my best happy face for all those end of the year pictures people take while they sign each other’s yearbooks. Somewhere near 3rd period, I tapped out.
A lot of dark shit went through my head that day at school, but mainly just that my music had failed me. How could it do such a thing after all these years I had been its loyal disciple? How could it break my heart in front of a room full of people like that and rob me of what little self-worth I possessed? I got so angry, and so upset.. I just wanted to pull a fire alarm and disappear into the parking lot so I could jump in my car and blow that popsicle stand. But as it turns out... I didn't have to.
My mom showed up to school mid-afternoon. She had found a note I had written the night before. It wasn't addressed to anyone in particular, just an open letter.. to my parents, to my friends, to my ex-boyfriends, to my music, to God.. To anyone that had ever touched my life in those four years. Before anyone goes jumping to conclusions, it wasn’t “that kind” of note or anything, just more so a list of all the crap I had silently endured over my tenure there. I won't go into all the heart-breaking details, but I can vouch for what happened next. My mother, an employee of the school system herself, marched into the principal’s office... and proceeded to tell them what I had written. They stood there, speechless, unable to pull together one coherent reason why such a bright child, with as big a heart as mine had been treated so poorly in their care. Beyond being forgotten at my own senior finale, and ridiculed by my English teacher, I had had enough.. And my mom had had all she could handle in watching me.
While my music may have failed me, my writing may have saved my life. It wasn't the perfect five-part essay. It was probably filled with spelling errors and sentences fractions. But no one seemed to care. It was written from the broken heart of a girl that wanted nothing more than for someone to understand what it felt like .. To be her... "To want to matter."
My life experiences these past five years have been anything but ordinary. They've often bordered on that territory of complete absurdity and randomness that have had everyone besides Daniel from the dentist asking.. "Is this real life?" Maybe that's why I took to writing. Music, though powerful, is hard to bring along for life’s journey. Sure, there's always the iPod, but it doesn't compare to the feeling I got when I touched the keys of my piano. So my computers keyboard became the next best thing.
I write for myself. I write because it makes ME feel better and keeps ME off a psychiatrist couch when shit in life just gets a little too real. If people want to rip apart my writing style, or my terrible spelling, or crude, mostly self-deprecating humor, then so be it. I am what I am... And whatever that vague, grey area is.. I wouldn't change it for the world. I can't promise you that I will write complete sentences, because I write in stream of consciousness. And that stream happens to be more contaminated than the Hudson River, with raging attention deficit disorder and borderline OCD. I can tell you I will probably never win an award for my writings, nor frankly do I give a damn if I ever do. I don't write to report on things, nor do I claim to be without bias. I would never dare call myself a serious journalist. Hell, I would never use “serious” to describe any aspect of myself. I'm simply a girl, sitting in front of a computer asking you to love her for who she is... a fast talking, southern girl with a big heart, a bigger mouth, and not enough self-censorship to tell her when not to use either of them. If my critics choose to write 2,000 word essays on “Why I suck at life” well… I really just feel bad for them. One, that they had that much time on their hands, and two, that they feel the need to tear others down to validate their own existence. I don't promise you that you'll always agree with me, or even find my humor funny.. But that doesn't say someone else won't. If that's the case, then you simply don't have to read it. No hard feelings. I was writing before you got here, and I’ll be writing long after you're gone. But for those of you that come back time and time again, have “ridden the bus,” and gotten to know me through the years, I thank you for your continued friendship and support. I figure, if life has to drag me through all the ups and downs it has, I might as well share it with whoever wants to read it. Because no matter how crappy life may get sometimes, it’s always better when you've got some company along for the ride.
"Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those that mind don't matter. And those that matter don't mind" – Dr. Seuss.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Year of the No-No
After all, you can't be a diehard sports fan without having a superstitious thread or two in your body. Me? I simply believe in karma… and jinxes. Maybe that's why my personal trash talk is so limited. I know the power of the sports Gods is both mighty and swift. And having been a loyal Tampa sports fan for many years, I raise my arms to you and ask, “Haven’t we suffered enough? Did you not SEE my Bucs last year?”
My superstitions not only revolve around my favorite sports teams.. But around my personal life as well. Confused?... Let me explain.
There are certain things in life you just don't talk about. In my small albeit random dating world, I view being in a functioning relationship like pitching the ever elusive “perfect game.” The less you talk about the X’s and O’s, and the sheer mechanics of it, the better chance you have at making it work. Anyone that's been around the Game knows that the jinx is real. I hadn't come close to throwing a perfect game since 2007. And it wasn't a pretty one. It was more of the Edwin Jackson versus the Rays variety. But do style points really matter at that point in the game? Some will say I was still using performance enhancers in the form of my 34Ds. And I while I wasn't trying to write José Canseco tell-all about it, I certainly didn't argue with them.
In 2009, I laid off the "juice" I guess you could say and went back to the basics. I dusted off my heater. Shaped up my curve, and prayed to God that my slider didn't look like Scott Kazmir's. It was small yard ball, the kind you see outside your local YMCA or in sandlots across middle America or small town stadiums in generic Carolina cities. The mechanics weren’t perfect, but the talent was there. And at least no one was winning free steaks from hitting one off of the Bull at my expense.
The funny thing is I wasn’t worried about being perfect or throwing no-no’s I was just simply a girl having fun. That is until one guy dropped the dreaded title on me in public.
"This is my girlfriend… blah blah blah blah blah.”
Once someone had applied the Heimlich, I'm pretty sure I visibly shuttered. When did that happen? Better yet, how had this happened? Miss monogamy? Miss relationship? Miss perfect girlfriend? And all of the sudden I shuddered at the idea of being in a committed relationship. WTF was wrong with me? Here were perfectly good men. Who treated me well. Who I had tons in common with. And I couldn't muster up the two syllables they longed to hear. Boy... friend.
I mean, in the most literal context, they were boys, and we were friends. But, I had tons of male friends. So what made these so different.
I just didn't see the need to define things. Did relationships really need labels and boundaries? Maybe I was hiding from something? Maybe I was just keeping myself from getting hurt. I've never been the one to hide my feelings from people. Shit, I post them in my blog for the ten of you that may actually read my drivel, one of those is my own mom. But for the past year or so I had played my emotions close to the vest. I was that bad ass Angelina Jolie-esque girl. The kinda girl that had made boys cry and showed no mercy doing so. Well, at least publicly. When had I become such a cynical asshole?
Just the idea of being 'Pujolsed’ again made me haul ass faster than Willie Mays. My friends often joked when I'd show up in a new pair of sneakers, that I'd simply run the soles out of the other ones. I won't lie, I'm on my 3rd pair in less than a year... So their observations aren't totally inaccurate.
So for well over a year it seemed I did the dance about the mound. Sure, I struck some dudes out, but my pitch count bordered on insanity. Then this past spring, things were starting to come together. I was seemingly on top of my game. I had been consistent. I had been calm, and collected.. Things were awesome on this one particular day. It was the bottom of the seventh, I was playing it cool.. But then my head got the best of me over this one particular batter.
Next thing I knew there was a meeting at the mound. Self Doubt was playing first base, my emotions were at short, and insecurity was on second. Had one of those ridiculous Fu Manchu mustaches going on. He was forever in an image identity crisis it seemed and during the off season would grow out his facial hair only to shave it into some random configuration in time for team pictures. This look defined ridiculous on his young face as he tried to feign a “devil may care” persona.
Ego played third. He's the type of dude that had a portrait of himself commissioned as half horse, half man. And while we all publicly razz him for it, there's an inner voice in us that says, "Vain, and bordering on some weird Liza Minelli territory or not.. That shit is bad ass."
Each had their own two cents to add on the subject. When Self Doubt brought it up.
“Hey Sterg, you do know you’re in the middle of a …”
“SSSSSHHHH! What the French toast are you doing Self Doubt? Keep quiet,” said Ego.
Effing rookies. Don't you know the first rule of a no hitter..
By the time our meeting adjourned my mind was anywhere but on the mound. At that point in time, I might as well have been Doc Ellis mid acid trip.
“What are you doing? Are you sure you're the only one he's seeing? Don't you need to define what this is?”
“No!” I yelled back. “I don't. Why jinx it?”
I'm sure to the outside world I looked the Grant Balfour, glove to my mouth shouting obscenities at my inner voices, reprimanding them..
"Don't you jokers know.. You don't ever talk about a perfect..."
“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”
Maybe the time had come when I had to talk about it. This game had gone on for months now between us. And no one was willing to acknowledge what it was we were doing. So.. I did what I thought I had to do.. I broached the subject on the ride to the airport one day. The home stretch. The bottom of the ninth. “At least I would know,” I thought. So I served up what little heat I had left in me.. And..
I not only allowed a hit, but I allowed a solo home run shot. As my friend Billy Zane would say.. "It’s a walk off."
How had I committed a grievous rookie error? C’mon Sterger. Clear the f'n mechanism. You're better than this.
Maybe I had been right to just let things develop as they will and not overthink things as I tend to do. My brain often times had been my own worst enemy calling back memories of that time I’d be Albert ‘Pujolsed’ in front of my friends, my family, and on the airwaves that had watched the drama unfold before our very eyes.
Any kind of experience like that will have even a seasoned vet questioning themselves. Maybe I didn't have what it took anymore. Maybe my Smoltz years had come and gone, and not only had the team I had been so loyal to didn't want me, but I hardly had enough gas to be traded for a pile of used bats, and a half empty box of big league chew. I was doomed to wind up teaching pitching methods to dumb ass kids with stupid nicknames and hooking up with a much younger hotter Susan Sarandon as I faded into obscurity.
Why is everyone else around me pitching perfect games? What do they know that I don't? My stuff is just as good as theirs. I'm just as dedicated. Maybe it really was all just a giant mind f*ck I had put on myself. Being around sports as long as I have been, even I know a pitcher can be his own worst enemy. A few wild pitches, lousy officiating, and you could start second guessing yourself.
My next few starts didn’t go so well. Ok, they were downright disgusting. Finally, I just found myself sitting on the mound for what seemed like months, and waiting for the inevitable: for the manager to stroll out to the middle of the field and give me the business in front of a crowd of people. And put me out of my misery. But a funny thing happened.
He never came.
Instead I looked over to the dugout, and found a team had rallied around me. Mostly the usual suspects, but a few new faces that had joined the team in the past few months for no other reason than they liked me for me. The goofy girl who is far too smart for her own good. The girl who knows no strangers that spends countless hours socializing with random people whom she's never met, yet considers friends. The outwardly cynical tom boy, that's 2 parts bad ass to 1 part Julia Roberts.. all while still remaining open to the idea that the right dude could convince her to change her wild ways. Eh.. Or something like that. I made a rookie mistake that so many guys had made in their dealings with me.. but rest assured I had learned from it.
I'm not saying I'm going back to the horn rimmed glasses or carving patterns in my head that would embarrass Kid n Play.. But I’m definitely going back to the roots of the game.. And the pitch I knew best.
Confidence was crouched behind the plate. He calls all the pitches and knows me best. Sometimes we don't always see eye to eye, but he's definitely pulled me through some tough situations. I think that's the veteran in him.
He's always the first to remind me, "Hey remember that time when... Yeah? Well, this ain’t shit compared to that. So settle down Sterger. You've got this! Give 'em the heater Sterg.”
To quote a very wise friend of mine.. Sometimes you just have to step back and look at it all.
"I'm Jenn effin Sterger.
“I'm effin in. And they're effin out."
That’s the thing about No-No’s. Sometimes they happen when you least expect them to, but more often when you need them the most. Just don’t try to talk about them. After all, that is what arbitration is for later.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Smurf Ninjas, Panera, & Lessons in Sleepwalking
One such instance was this morning. I crawled out of bed sometime around noon after having been up most of the night, and made my way a few doors down to my usual lunch spot, Panera Bread. For anyone at home that is thinking of chastising me for eating at a chain restaurant… a giant middle finger to you. I love chain restaurants, mainly because most have a standard of excellence. However high or low they may set the bar, it’s been set regardless. So you always know what you are going to get. And I don’t mind that. I am after all like every other human a creature of habit. It’s when I veer from that habit that the Rainman-ness of my day gets thrown for a loop. This is one of those stories.
I rolled out of bed, and proceeded to search for my signature “Lil Ninja Jenn” uniform as my makeup artist Amy has come to describe it. In short, it is an all black track suit. There’s nothing about it that draws attention to it, no crazy neon trim or letting across the ass of the pants to tell people just how “Juicy” my ass has gotten since the last time I worked out. It makes me feel surprisingly strong, stealth, and dare I say it.. sexy… to the point I’m beginning to think I actually have a chance to be cast as the next Lara Croft, or some other gratuitous booby ridden action movie that is NOT classified as porn. I should note I own about 10 pairs of these pants and various formfitting tank tops. I should also note that it has been about two weeks since I have had a chance to pick up my laundry, or drop of the next load of dankness which means two things: I had run out of my signature Ninja Jenn outfits. And 2… If I didn’t claim my laundry in the next day or so, there would be some foreigner going through my unmentionables laughing at the pair of Victoria’s Secret underwear I own with the phrase “IMPRESS ME” emblazoned on the front of my hoohah.
Sadly, with no ninja outfits, I reach for my dark blue tracksuit. It’s not nearly as awesome as any of my black ones, and to be honest, I find quite obnoxious due to the fact it has sequins all across the bust. Sure, I could search for something that with some semblance of an outfit, but damn it.. I’m hungry and need to feed myself before I turn into a diva from one of those snicker commercials. So, I pull on my rap stars girlfriend meets high school dance team ensemble.. and walk right out the door.
Panera is only a few doors down, so I really don’t see the necessity to put myself together. Honestly, they are just lucky I brush my teeth before I go down there, that is how entirely lazy I am. From the moment I walk in, I sense that something is oddly different. For one, babies that had been crying suddenly stopped, and actually looked up at me and smiled. I shrug.. eh.. kids love me. And though Panera’s target demographic is typically limited to people who only have enough teeth to eat soup or large quantities of macaroni and cheese (read… babies and old people), there were a surprising number of decent looking younger guys there this particular morning. Clearly Steven’s has to be in summer session. God bless them.
The table of guys I walk past stare at me, but more of a mouth wide open stare. Hot damn, I think to myself.. I’ve still got it even with no makeup on, and in this awful tracksuit. It wasn’t until I walked up to the cashier to place my order I got the sense that something was terribly wrong.
“Um… Jenn.. you have something on your face.”
She does like a hand wiping gesture in front of her face, and hands me a reflective mixer cup that was by her register. I pull up the cup into a makeshift mirror to see what the fuss was about.
The image that looked back at me… was Smurfette.. meets Braveheart… meets avatar.
So preoccupied with getting myself fed, and so thrown from my usual OCD game, I had forgotten to take off my facemask before I left the house. Luckily for me, I didn’t leave home without my sense of humor. So I casually mentioned I may or may not be shooting a Smurf live action movie, I was dressed in head to toe blue. I took my Sierra Turkey (no onion) sandwich and what was left of my dignity “To Go”… and went home.
For those of you that read my blogs, hoping for some enlightenment… on this one.. I’ve got nothing.
Actually wait… that’s not true. Even the best of us can get thrown off our game from time to time. Just gotta learn to roll with the punches... the moral of this story is.. don’t brush your teeth in the dark.
Now if you’ll excuse me.. I need to go pick up my laundry.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Good talk, Russ
A long, long time ago.. in a suburb far, far away.. while my sister was busy with her Barbies, I was fascinated by my Pow Pow Power wheels and my Dad’s crazy ideas on how to make my bright red Jeep four wheeler go faster than Tyco had ever intended it to. (Of course, it did catch fire one time, but we won't go into that. Lesson learned.) I remember my Dad driving me to school in the ghetto, because they bussed all of us suburb kids there in attempts to either harden us as human beings, or scare us into getting a proper education. He would be cranking Jethro Tull, or The Beatles, or his all time favorite, Billy Joel as we made our way through the maze of pawn stores, liquor stores, and gun shops before we pulled in the parent drop off line. So I sacrificed the 30 minute ride, countless retellings of his “roadie days” stories, and any street cred I could’ve had by exiting the car in front of the cool kids jamming to Dad’s old school tunes. But in the heat of those late August days, that thirty minutes of air conditioning far surpassed spending my afternoons crammed into the faux leather seats in a pool of the kid next to me’s ass sweat.
The truth is.. while some kids are embarrassed by their parents at this particular age… I was actually quite proud of mine. Sure, they had their quirkiness about them, but I think it was more just a generational thing than anything else. After all, it’s why my friends dubbed them Clark and Helen Griswolds. They were the kinda parents any kid would be lucky to have, and I just happened to be one of those kids. While some would argue I was a Daddy’s girl, I would tend to disagree. I think I was an “equal parts” kinda kid. I had my mom’s no nonsense stubborn, independent streak with my dad’s streets savvy and go-with-the-flow attitude. In short, I was the like the “son my father always wanted” trapped in the body of a girl that would later force him to purchase & “load up” many a metal baseball bats with a weight.. making them great for hitting serious line drives or dismantling some kids jaw should he break his daughter’s heart.
My dad will never admit this, but I’m sure some part of him is a little sad God gave him two girls. He has no one to blame but himself though. After all, it wasn’t my mother’s fault.. she was only capable of donating 50% of the kid. The rest was left to chance & God. Karma being the bitch that she is, decided my father needed to suffer for something he did in a previous life, and gave him 2 X’s, which in bowling would’ve been quite awesome. But in the Russian roulette of his little swimmers… well, they have a site to list those kinds of stories.. Fmylife.com. Gone are the chances he had to toss a ball around in the backyard. Forget going to Varsity football games, unless you count being a band or dance team chaperone. And God save us all if mom leaves it up to him to have the birds and the bees speech with us.
“They.. uh.. teach you kids that in school now right?”
“Whew… Good talk Russ.”
Yup, instead it was Spice Girls, Drum major uniforms, & a crap load of boring piano recitals. That didn't stop him from instilling tom boy like qualities in me. I love fast cars, sports, and anything that causes an adrenaline rush. Unfortunately, I’m just not coordinated enough to play anything remotely cool. And despite the beast of a car I own, I am still a female driver with an extensive accident record and the speeding tickets to prove it. Sigh.
But one thing my dad has always been good for… is advice. After all, if you want to know how the other half thinks, it works best when you can just ask one of their own. Mom’s have a tendency to sugar coat things. They would never want to be the one to make you cry. But Dads? No way. Dad’s are straight-shooting, no bullshitting kinda people. They’ll hand you the answer even if it’s something you would have preferred not to hear.
“Why do guys do this? Why’d he say that? What should I do?..” And the most heartbreaking question I'll ever have to ask him .. “Will he come back?”
Time after time, he’d give it to me straight. Maybe that's because men tend to view their interactions with others as more business-like transactions, while women can't help but get emotional sometimes. We’re just hardwired that way. My father was the captain of the stone faced stare. I think he may have cried four times in his entire life.
One day I got to thinking though.. What if I had really been a boy? If I'd have been a boy, people would have taken my drive to succeed more seriously. Guys wouldn't be shocked when I step out of my Shelby or when I spout off movie quotes. My voice wouldn't blend into the background of conversations, and my opinions wouldn't always be dismissed for those of my male counterparts. My jokes, my sense of humor, and general mischievous perversion wouldn't be so frowned upon, or viewed as social awkwardness. And if I stood up for myself I certainly wouldn't be called a bitch. I'd just be assertive.
More so.. I've always said, if I were a boy, I'd make an awesome boyfriend. It’s not that I'd be some sappy chump that gets turned out by man eating bitches, because I certainly have more backbone than that. But I'd definitely know how to treat a woman while still maintaining my sense of self. Basically, I’d be the same person I am today, only with an Ellen DeGeneres haircut.
Sometimes I think my membership to the fraternity does my brain more harm than good. Because for every promise I’ve had a man keep, I've heard him spout some other bit of absolute bullshit he fell through on. I know their games better than they do. And that being so, I could probably run them if I wanted to. Better than they do. And I'd never get caught. But that wouldn't make it right. Besides, I’m a woman.. I have no penis to “think with” and more importantly… we have consciences. Damn all this estrogen.
The fact my brain operates like a man’s is downright scary sometimes. It creates a ton of inner turmoil. Why? Because the logical or “male” part of my brain tells me one thing, while my inner chick gives me a while different set of instructions. The result? Awkwardness that usually manifests itself in my life as some self sabotaging behavior. I find myself trying to balance two totally different sides of my personality, playing up the one society says will help me be accepted, while banishing the one that shows I do indeed have weaknesses otherwise known as “feelings.”
I’ve had a lot of these arguments with myself lately, both congratulating myself for my professional accomplishments, while calling offensive pass interference on my dating life. 10 yards.. 4th down. How could I keep doing this to myself?.. Was I really saving myself from getting involved with bad people, or was I keeping myself from evolving as an adult. Even if I like a guy, I would be the first to pull the plug if I sense there is any bullshit being pulled behind the scenes. Or I’d make excuses as to why I couldn’t go on dates… “my career dictates my social life.” It got to the point where I valued my quality time with the treadmill over the company of other human beings. That was the most recent predicament I found myself in, weighing my options in my current situation as “complicated” as it already was.
Trying to keep it casual while actually having feelings for someone, coupled by only seeing each other once a month or so, really wasn't cutting it for either of us. So I simply just waited for the other shoe to drop. When it did, I didn't cry or get upset. I actually.. felt relieved. It wasn't that I didn’t care for him, because our times together were like spending days on end in this super "high." It was more so... well, he's just not the boyfriend type, and I'm not the girlfriend type. And neither of us has time for anything messy or remotely complicated. I know what you're thinking... "Jenn.. you're so full of shit." And until the other night.. I would have argued with you. But now.. I'm not so sure.
One night, as I was leaving the gym, I happened to walk through the lobby and discover a brand new piano sitting in the rec room. Sure, it wasn’t my grandmother’s old upright Steinway… but it would do. It’s been so long, I wondered if I even remembered how to play. As I sat down at the piano, years of lessons and performances came rushing back to me. But it wasn't Fur Elise, or Beethoven’s Fifth that came from beneath my fingers. It was something much more familiar.
By the time I reached the chorus, I was already singing along, oblivious to the people that had gathered in the doorway behind me.
"And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it's better than drinkin' alone"
Somewhere in the chorus that followed, my voice cracked, and I realized there was a tear rolling down my cheek. I blinked through it as if it had been a technical glitch in my system, but then another tear followed suit.
As my hands rolled through the final chords, I heard the door close behind me. The crowd that had gathered in the door way had dispersed, and all that remained was the quiet little door man. He had to be in his late 60s, and his English was broken.
"You're very, very good," he said, "but why so sad?"
That's a great question, because I honestly had no idea. I think sometimes I go to such great lengths to put up walls, I block everything out. Maybe it’s alright to feel something. To feel homesick, to feel lonely, to feel hurt, to just.. Feel. I’m so used to people disappointing me that I’ve almost become numb to it… like.. emotionally botoxed.
"Please don't tell anyone I was in here.." I asked.
"Don't mention it. It’s no problem"
My time in the city has done a number on me. It’s made me a much more cynical, hardened version of myself, so much so… I really feel like I’ve morphed into my father. He always did his best to protect that my inner little girl for as long as he could, telling me to “grow a thicker skin” or to “toughen up.” And in some instances, I think it worked. I’m sure now he realizes I'm old enough, and have made enough mistakes in love and life to usually handle myself. But every once in a while, my father’s tough exterior will break down, and he’ll show a little compassion to the sensitive side in me, and not the hard ass he's tried so desperately to raise to protect her from boys like his old self.
"If a guy isn't smart enough to realize what he's got in front of him,” he’ll say, “he's not worth hanging on to. Regardless of any of the crap people tell you.. even the best relationships require work. And you are the hardest working woman I know next to your mother. You just have to focus on your career right now, and the rest will happen when their supposed to. Because the guy that's smart enough to see what he's got, will be the one that will never let you go."
The bad ass boy in me thinks he's spouting a crock of crap.
The inner girl in me.. Secretly hopes he's right. But I’ll never let him know.
“Good talk, Russ.”
Monday, June 07, 2010
There's no hugging in baseball
During my first two years of college, I spent my off days from school as a nanny to a six year old kid. Some argued that Thomas had a form of a learning disability, but no one really defined what it was. In my non-expert opinion it was probably just a little ADD and an excessive amount of energy from ingesting way too much sugar. Honestly though, Thomas was bright kid with an extreme passion for sports, which I was one of the first to help him to indulge. He could tell me all the names of the Rays starting line-up, and even recite their batting averages. He regularly schooled my ass in Madden, but what kid these days couldn’t? (If you’re saying you’ve never had your ass kicked by a kid with a headset & a hand controller at a video game, well, you sir are a damn liar. Today’s kids come out with ever y cheat code to Modern Warfare Gazillion ingrained in them, like its genetic coding.) Of course, it wasn’t long until Thomas got the itch to play organized sports of his own, which prompted his mother to sign him up for every sport imaginable except for maybe Cheerleading. After all, when a kid had as much energy as Thomas, you certainly didn’t want it to go to waste driving you insane and destroying your house now, do you?
So every day after school, I'd take him Thomas to his little league practice or his games. I was always there to cheer him from the bench, even if it meant getting ogled by the Dad’s and death glares from the Mom’s. But like any new skill set or activity, Thomas still had to learn the rules of the game. And that’s where I came in. I was there to remind him not to hug the kid who tagged him out at second.
“THERE’S NO HUGGING IN BASEBALL THOMAS!!!!”
When soccer rolled around, I was the one on the sideline screaming for him to not sit down in the middle of the field til the ball came back his way, or that he was in fact, about to score a goal on his own team. Or to tell him to stop running in slow motion like they do in replay mode on the NCAA football Playstation game. It was a challenge at first, teaching a kid logistics that some grown ass umpires still don’t even understand. ::cough.. Jim Joyce..cough:: But, once he learned them, Thomas was the greatest stickler for rules.
By the time he was eight, Thomas knew what the rules for every game were. But even more so, he knew the consequences if he broke those rules. He never once tried to cheat at Candyland, or Chutes and Ladders, or anything else for that matter. And that's more than I can say for some of his playmates who were not only older than him, but also some of the biggest shysters the game of Monopoly has ever seen. But don’t think this babysitter let those little bastages get away with it though. If there’s one thing I won’t stand for, its kids that think they can get away with cheating and cutting the rules. Sure, I could teach Thomas to cheat and beat the little snots at their own game. Even I knew how to rig the deck of Chance cards in his favor. But what good would that do?.. I would just be setting the example that it was OK to stoop to their snot-faced little level. So instead, I sent them home to be their parents’ problem. It was “Do not pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.” I’d be damned if I wanted to watch a room full of Dennis Mitchells. Especially if I wasn’t getting paid for it.
At twenty six, I’m still not sure I want kids. I mean, they seem cool and all. And I love all my friends’ kids. But that is because I view them like I do my Netflix subscription. I can keep the ones I like as long as I want, and the ones that suck, well, you just stick them back in the mail and send them back from the movie hell they came from. But when I’m around kids, I certainly try to set a good example and be a good role model. I can have fun, and be the “Cool Aunt” while still showing them I’m a bigger boss than Tony Danza. And the kids generally respect me for it. My friend’s daughter even wrote a paper about me. Did I mention that her teacher “Googling” me also resulted in a parent teacher conference? Oops.
I try to instill in the younger generation what my parents did in me. My parents have always taught me the importance of playing fair even as far back as my Green Acres Preschool days. I remember the boys in the sand box that would constantly throw sand in my eyes and tease me about my curly hair. Or the boys that would cheat at Duck Duck Goose because they knew I was faster than them. That didn't stop them of course from tussling my hair as they went past just to show they liked me. Hell, I admit that I may have tapped one boy’s head harder than the rest.
Though I may have grown since then, I certainly haven’t grown up. And why should I? The games really have never changed. There are still those boys I refer to as the sandbox lovers. The boy that throws "sand," quirky little barbs, and acts way cooler than you just to keep your attention focused solely on them. And the funny thing is.. Nine times out of ten, their methods are absolutely effective. Isn't it ironic how certain guys have the ability to turn even the most confident of girls into bumbling idiots? It’s because even in their adulthood, they still remember how to get under even the toughest of girl’s skin.
From the minute the dating puck is dropped with the exchanging of the numbers… it’s game time, bitches. Do you text her right away? Do you wait the standard three days? I guess there are still some no bullshit kinda people out there that will tell you up front that their motives are to either: 1) Start a relationship with you or 2) Have sex with you. Very rarely does a guy who only wants #2 ever discuss #1, but I almost applaud him for his brutal, albeit crude honesty. And as for the guy who states #1 up front, while planning our future together and naming our unborn children.. well, I usually pretend my phone number was mysteriously changed should we ever encounter one another again.
Most of the time, dating is just two people testing each other’s limits, pushing other people’s buttons.. seeing what they can get away with.. and how the other person will react. Reaction shows that you care… to care is to show weakness. And weakness lets the other player know they’re winning.
I remember back when playing games used to be fun. Sure someone would win, and someone would lose.. but at the end of the day it was just a game. It’s not like anyone went home crying about it. Oh, wait.. I forgot about the Little League World Series, my bad.
Back when we were little, and society hadn’t turned us all into completely jaded assholes, we still had a sense that life was fair. That if we played by the rules, all would be well. We also used the phrase.. "First is the worst, second is the best." Who came @#$! up with that crap? Because nowadays, if you ain’t first, you’re last! That’s just how real life is. But if I have learned one thing about myself, it’s that I refuse to treat someone like a priority that only sees me as an option.
What fun is a game when you're constantly watching your back and second guessing someone’s motives? Why do we have to pretend we don't like someone to get them to like us? Aren't we all just playing the same bullshit games we did in preschool, bopping kids on the head, throwing sand in their eyes? And we still expect them to LIKE us? More so, how are we expected to keep up this whole charade while we’re trying to drive our careers and maintain our own personal lives? Who really has time for all the nonsense??... More so, does anyone ever really win?
I want a guy that gets excited over the fact I want to see him, not act like it’s some chore or great favor to ask of him. I want a guy that has the perfect balance of friend time, family time, and significant other time and doesn't define himself by any of those things. I don’t want a person that NEEDS me. I want someone that WANTS me. And if you really want someone.. why chance it by playing games? Risk is only fun when it involves little plastic pieces and a game of chance, not in real life scenarios. Why do you have to wait three days to call someone? Or act too busy for them when they text you? If I like a guy, but he continues to “beat around the bush” in the gumdrop forest (and no that is not a euphemism for sex), then I got news for him. Successful individuals with their own lives going on won't stand for it, and we will simply cut our losses rather than go down with our battleship you just took out. The thing is, I’m just as guilty as most men are. I self-sabotage, I run people off, make excuses, or I simply cut bait with no explanation. I play the same stupid games men do, to keep from committing, to keep others from hurting me. And it’s cost me plenty of opportunity not to mention probably made me miss out on the real genuine men out there. I’ll be damned if I'm not the type to learn from my mistakes.
It’s hard enough finding someone you mesh well with and that “gets you” in this crazy world these days. It seems people will just try to “wife” someone up for the sake of not being alone, instead of really getting to just know the person with no bullshit façades. So when you find somebody that makes your life a little happier by just being in it, why waste each other’s time playing “it cool”… instead of just enjoying each other’s company? After all if you spend your entire life playing games and bending the rules, eventually the rest of the kids at the playground will get fed up with your shit, take their ball and go home.
During one of my trips home, I took Thomas to a Rays game. Nothing beat watching his face light up, as I walked him through the tunnel and out to the cushy seats right behind home plate, where he sat just mere feet from some of his favorite players. I got him some cracker jacks and peanuts, and all the things that make up the ball park experience. One of the Ray’s staff even brought him down a team signed ball. The kid was in heaven. Maybe that's why I loved Thomas so much. Kids in general, well… most of them anyway, are some of the most genuine, honest little people you will ever meet. There are no hidden agendas, there’s no rule breaking, and there’s not a single game played that does involve a ball. Thomas may not have won at every game he played, but he certainly played fair and by the rules. Maybe if adults took a page from their rule book, there would be a lot less miscommunication between the two sexes. And those are the kinda rules I could definitely live by.
BJ Upton hit a walk off home run that night, which set the Trop on fire. Thomas jumped up and down on his chair and cheered. If only all victories in life were that sweet. As I walked him up through the tunnels past the clubhouse to the exit, he spotted Carlos Pena down the way. Like a dog after the postman, he slipped out of my grasp and ran to meet the first baseman, who he hugged as if he had known him all his young life. Oddly enough, Carlos just laughed. And so did I.
Eh kids.. well, at least it wasn’t the kid that tagged him out at second this time.
Friday, May 07, 2010
Beware of the Mom T Rex
Well, that was before the boobs. And the whole Playboy thing.
Back in the good old days, I was the girl next door. The kind that didn't set off any red flags. The kinda girl you would let spend the night in the same bed with your boy, and not even bat an eye. I mean, why would you? I'm an angel.
But not after my surgery. With those scientifically engineered breasts and this magnificent bra by Victoria, I may as well have been a terminator. Sent back in time, to f*ck her son’s brains out, and then destroy his life and take the rest of the future with it. Once I had my claws in him, it was hasta la vista grandbabies, unless it involved child support, alimony, and Britney Spears’ divorce attorneys. Yeah, kinda leaves a bad taste in a mother’s mouth after she kisses her sons cheek. After all, I have tainted her offspring.
Oddly enough though, even with the drastically reduced chesticles I’m still a suspect, a mother’s worst nightmare. Or what she perceives to be anyways. I vividly remember the last mother I met. Granted it was some time ago. But damn. That woman stared me down until it burned deep in my soul, like really bad Mexican food. How could someone hate someone so much that they had just met? Or judge me based on simply my looks? It’s not as if I was even dressed as a whore, it was the middle of winter for Christ’s sake! Still, the glare continued. I had been doomed from the get go, set up for failure. By whom, I didn't know, but surely this woman had it out for me.
I so badly wanted to call her on her unfounded beliefs, but I sensed she could smell my fear. So I simply smiled, and went about my business, and involved her in conversation when necessary. And it wasn't that I was even scared of her, I was scared what bearing her opinion would have on my future with her son. After all, blood is thicker than water. And in this case, the woman’s blood had icicles forming in it.
I couldn't blame the woman. She had seen the pretty girls before. The truth was.. “I'm not bad; I'm just drawn that way.” But she discounted me before I had even uttered a word. It would be my pleasure to prove them wrong. But why should I have to? A person’s actions should be allowed to speak for themselves, and I treat people the way I want to be treated. So, she would just have to trust me, or get over it. At the end of the day, it was her son’s heart I was after, and not hers.
Then again, plenty of guys I have dated say that about my mom. Never mind the fact my mother is a good looking woman; she is also a real ball buster. She’s the type of mom that stands at the door and asks potential suitors to submit to a breath/blood/urine testing on the spot. Not really, but its damn close. People have sworn she has a look to her. A look that just screams, "Stay away from my daughters you prick. I know what you're after."
Yet, somehow, my parents were always the cool ones. My mom is so cool she even follows me on Twitter, under her name “MomTrex1.” And if you have ever watched Jurassic Park 2, you know EXACTLY which scene she took THAT from. Still, they were the type of people that would welcome friends and their daughter’s love interests with open arms, at least until they proved they couldn't be trusted. Then, they often felt as betrayed as my sister and I did, and sometimes just as heartbroken. I think we forget at times that when we enter relationships with another person we not only touch their lives, but the lives of everyone involved. So it’s not uncommon for people in their inner circle to voice opinions and concerns. But does that mean we have to subject ourselves and our relationship choices to outsider’s scrutiny. I think, somewhere between the lines of self respect, and disrespect has to lie a happy medium. Otherwise, how can a woman ever come to call another woman “mom” that she has no relation to?
“A mother holds her daughters hand for a while.. but she holds her heart for forever,” she once told me. “Or at least until she finds someone with hands big enough, yet gentle enough to not break it.”
When it comes to relationships and life, I could not have had a better example than my mother. My mother is the type of mom any woman should aspire to be. The kinda mom that will bake treats for your class, but in the same breath will be in the driveway with a baseball bat if some jerkoff dude breaks her daughters’ hearts. She walks a fine balance between a best friend, and a parental figure. But most importantly, she reminds me that even on the darkest and loneliest of days I’m never alone. And really, isn’t that what we all need in life?
Happy Mother’s Day… to yours, and mine. While one day isn’t enough to repay them for all they do, it’s certainly a good place to start. Love you, Mommy.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Memories of March Madness
It’s been a while since any part of my life had resembled a Cinderella story. Especially, the Walt Disney fairytale variety. No, instead, it’s been a lot more like those shitty German ones, with the not so ‘happily ever afters.’ And people wonder why their kids need therapy? But for those of you keeping up with the news, “I may have finally arrived” as they say in Hollywood. Errr, at least in the sports world…sorta. I'm still waiting on that call back from John Favreau on Iron Man 3, but no promises.
After plenty of brushes with television opportunities and guest spots on various sports programs, I finally had the chance to make something of myself on my new show on Versus... “The Daily Line.” The opposite sex, and my dealings with them had really taken a backseat to the things I was working on. Make that a back seat with no seatbelts and the speakers blown out… and zero action in it. I just didn't have time for all the background noise and drama that dealing with boys brings into my life. So I put myself on a mandatory hiatus. I gave up men for lent, I guess you could say.
It wasn't like I didn't go on dates. After all, I meet interesting people all the time. And no one said I had to marry the guys. (Whew!) But if anything, casual dating was good practice. I did the shoot-arounds, and shuttle drills, and all that stretching that looks more suited for gymnastic porn than really loosening any muscles. But, at the end of the day, I was still talking about practice! Thanks Allen Iverson.
There were a couple of faces that were recurring in my line-up, but they were more like the D-league and less like a five man. And I just liked it better that way. After all, there's no way I was these guys "one and only" let alone their frontrunner, given their “ass options” on the daily. And as I've always said, never make someone a priority that only sees you as an option. So I just kept trucking along, like I always do.
When my show's business brought me out to LA however, something quite unexpected happened. The event was nothing short of a "meet cute," as they call it in industry terms. But, in my head it was more: “we met, and damn, he was actually cute.”
But he wasn't cute in a big muscular jock, frat boy, Jersey shore way that I had become so familiar with in NYC. Nope, it was something much different. It was that disarming charm, quick wit, and a ridiculous sense of humor that caught me off guard. Oh yeah, and his big blue-green eyes didn’t hurt one bit either. All it took was one look and a genuine smile, and I went from man eating bitch to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman-- minus the whole hooker part. He was confident, but not cocky. And his flirting was ever so subtle. In fact I wasn't even sure he was so much as interested. Maybe that's because he flirted a lot like I do. He was a classic "sand thrower" as I've come to refer to them, as their ancient technique dates back to my preschool days. But like any piece of jewelry you'd find at Tiffany’s, or a good pair of Chuck Taylors.. It never seemed to go out of style.
I can't tell you the last time I asked a guy out. I'd always come from the camp that the dude should always make the first move. But this seemed like a win-win situation. It’s not like I was having huge dating success in NYC, and if it bombed, well, at least there wouldn’t be any awkward run-ins. So I casually told him to look me up if he was ever in NYC, and gave him my number. Yeah, I'm that smooth.
Of course he texted me. I mean, who wouldn’t? We decided to meet up the following night, since I already had plans to meet friends for dinner. Nothing crazy, just some kind of dive bar, as I am really not into that whole club scene.
He played it cool, and kept it casual, and delivered as promised with the locale. It was the perfect dive bar. I’m pretty sure when you Wikipedia the term, this place’s address comes up. It’s the kinda establishment that has peanut shells all over the floor and is unapologetic about it. And somehow, this good old southern girl felt right at home there. With Lynyrd Skynyrd cranking through some rickety jukebox speakers, the two of us just sat there and enjoyed one another’s company. Turns out, he wasn’t just smart, he was actually quite brilliant. And his jokes made me laugh harder than I had in a long time.
Two and a half hours, and with me one and a half light beers deep, we left the dive bar to take a walk down the Santa Monica pier. God, I missed having decent weather. I had almost forgotten what it felt like to actually have a beach to walk down. Besides, the Hudson view only looks great in movies because the scenes aren’t scratch and sniff. The two of us made our way to the end of the pier, and past all the carnival rides that had shut down for the evening, and found a decent bench to people watch from. And eventually, he moved in for the kiss.
It’s not that the kiss wasn't perfect because it most certainly was. In fact it was that "one shining moment" every sports Cinderella story dreams of. The problem was… well, what comes next?.. It had been so long since I had been out on a date with a dude that didn’t seem overly preoccupied with getting in my pants, and that had his shit together, that I didn’t know how to respond. The cool chick in me said to play it cool. The high school band dork that still saw herself in braces and unruly curly hair.. well, she was awkward to say the least. And that’s the part of me forgets that basketball and dating go both ways, unless you play for the nets. The problem lies in the fact I feel like I can never stop playing defense. Especially in the D League when your chance at the five man is on the line. But what’s a girl supposed to do, when you're with a guy, and something amazingly good happens???
Well if you’re gun-shy like me, you diffuse the situation with a bit of humor. You pull back, from an amazing first kiss, smile, and say the first thing that comes to your mind without hesitation or need for filter. In my case, I made a reference to the fact we had an audience of bums that were holding a “fundraising meeting” on the bench next to ours, and then immediately reference some completely asexual movie line.
“Good talk, Russ,” I said.
“You just had to open your mouth didn’t you? You couldn’t resist?.. Had to wreck the moment,” he laughed.
What was he talking about? I’ve had plenty moments in my twenty six years of life. I just like to wave at them as they pass me by, or be the guy driving the truck that runs them over. I'm sure I've felt the foot pop at the end of a romantic comedy kiss or the Roy Hobbes shot at the end of “The Natural.” (The movie, not the book, btw. Yeah, won't even lie, made THAT mistake on an English lit paper once. Luckily I happened to check out Cliff’s Notes before I turned it in. My bad.) SO WHAT??? Besides, since when did guys have moments? Shit, since when did guys have feelings? Well, ones that didn't involve the words, “ooo yeah right there.. Uh huh.”
“You know,” he said, “once you let your bad ass frat boy guard down, you’re actually a big sweetheart. And that’s the side of you I really like.”
I’m sure I opened my big mouth to make some smart ass comment, but I don’t even remember what I was going to say since he cut me off by kissing me. Well, that was one way to get me to shut up. And his technique actually worked.
The rest of the night went rather well, so much so, it didn’t occur to me how late it was. I saw him a few more times before I left L.A. and we’ve talked a bit since, but the long distance crap really does suck when you’re trying to get to know someone. But for now, we’re just making due with texting and whatever forms of technologically advanced communication we can find.
His schedule sucks, and mine does too.. but it’s because we’re both chasing careers that make us happy. So I’m ok with that. I guess I just never once thought I would meet someone, and have to tell him a chance at happily ever after would have to wait. Certain circumstances create larger than life chasms that make reaching the people, places, and things we like even harder than they should be. But then again, if chasing dreams, and careers, and relationships were that easy, wouldn't we all be doing it?
Because let's face it.. Every sports enthusiast loves a good Cinderella story and more so, a happy ending. And maybe one of these days they'll make a glass slipper in a size 6 and a half. Until then, well.. I’ll just have to settle for my silver Ree-Zigs.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A whole lotta bologna
I HATE bologna. Bologna is such a bullshit lunch meat. I’ve never been a fan of it. Ever. I did love me some Vienna sausages, but trust me.. They won't lend themselves well to my story, at least the crowd with a maturity level above that of a twelve year old. After all, they do kinda resemble a jar of pickled baby penises. And what twenty six year old wants anything to do with that? So we will just stick to the “over processed shreds of whatever the hell animal parts are left after they carve out the good stuff”-- for all intents and purposes.
For as long as I can remember however, I have always been a steak girl. Ever since my parents introduced me to the magnificence that is filet mignon well, it’s been love at first bite. And now it’s no different. Don't get me wrong, protein is protein, and I enjoy my chicken, and certainly my pork-- just as much as the next non Jewish/Muslim person anyway. But, nothing really compares to the satisfaction I get from having a good steak.
Unfortunately for me with my busy schedule, and what seems to be a calendar full of photo shoots, I can't really afford to eat my favorite meal seven nights a week, nor do I think my metabolism could handle the crazy process it takes to dismantle it in my stomach. But believe me when I say, if my digestive tract could handle it, I most certainly would.
Before I continue, I guess I should come clean about a few things. I have kinda, sorta been seeing someone. Given my dating history the past few years, and my track record for picking more consistent winners than my show’s numbers guy (note the use of sarcasm), I'm not the type of girl to just jump head first into things. Especially things I seemingly know little about. So I've played it cool with this one. Haven't given away the farm, nor did I place all my eggs in one figurative basket. But I do like the guy. And as far as I can tell, he seems to like me.
That is, unless you live on the internet like I do. The interweb is a crazy place, especially when it seems all of your life and your transgressions can be documented, sometimes even in one hundred and forty characters or less. I know Facebook has been cockblocking me since 2004, and now with programs like Twitter and Foursquare, well, why don’t I just stick a GPS up my ass and get it over with. I don’t really like the fact I can find out what someone is doing on Twitter, which is why I have never followed anyone I had dated, or been interested in dating. I dunno, I just felt like it was an invasion on their privacy and I’m not the snooping variety. But with this guy, he’s been in my feed since well, before the beginning.. so, I wouldn’t want him to feel shafted by me not following him anymore. I actually think he likes it. Besides, aren’t you supposed to show interest in the other person’s happenings? Meh.
Regardless, he’s a single, attractive man.. and I am not exactly bologna. At least that is what my mom tells me. I figured he was well aware I was a prime cut of meat. I mean, I’m 26, gainfully employed; I take good care of myself.. and have a marginally good personality. And if you happen to be the least bit funny, I hear I’m also an easy laugh. (That has instilled much confidence in my costar Reese Waters joke telling abilities.) I dunno how it is for you guys, but that package right there is a tough one to find.
Still, I have found myself time and time again dating guys that are willing to go slumming for some bologna when things weren’t perfect. Were men just that easy to please, or were they just settling for what was readily available? Unfortunately with my busy schedule, I might as well be a steak. I take forever to prepare and season, and half the time you’re fighting with my work schedule just to get a freakin’ reservation to the joint. But I assure you any time they do get to spend with me.. is well worth the wait.
While doing my daily show research in the green room, I happened to stumble across “The Dude’s” Twitter feed. (I’ll call him this for now, because it’s late, and I am entirely too tired to come up with anything remotely symbolically creative. But if he makes it to another blog, I promise I will make it something fairly entertaining.)
So.. back to the tweet.
WHAT?.. It’s a legitimate excuse, and that’s exactly how it happened. This particular tweet that came through my feed was to another female. I’m not the jealous type at all, and I more than anyone understand the plus side of looking single as a means of furthering your career. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take others feelings into consideration before I just start posting things on the web. Because regardless of what men tell you, they do snoop, and they do get jealous.. they would just rather you believe they didn’t.
Being a woman hidden under this frat boy exterior, my curiosity got the better of me. I clicked on her link. And then another link. Turns out.. they hang out. Who knows how regularly, but there were some fairly chummy pictures out there to be found by anyone with half a cyber brain. And he was certainly still entitled to be seeing other people, it’s not like “the talk” had taken place yet. But still… This chick was pure bologna. It wasn’t even that she wasn’t attractive, or that she didn’t have a good personality. I mean, can you really know anything about a person in one hundred and forty characters and an outdated MySpace page anyway?.. But.. really??? What the heck would someone want THAT for.. let alone when he’s got something like me??? My girl brain started to do unhealthy gymnastics… and of course jumped to worse case scenarios. I was hurt to say the least.
I closed out the X’s before my co-stars saw what I was up to. It was lunch time on the playground that is the Daily Line’s studio, and I usually find myself picking on something green, while the boys feast on Wendy’s or whatever leftovers they have scrounged up from home. On this particular day however, I was feeling particularly girly, and in a vulnerable state. Not something I would normally reveal to my male cohorts, but… then something happened that set me off.
Reese pulled out a bologna sandwich. (I can’t even make this shit up)
“You cannot be f*cking serious? Who over the age of nine actually eats bologna? Haven’t you graduated to something a little more.. I dunno.. refined.. age appropriate… something???” I chirped.
“What’s wrong with bologna?” Reese asked.
“EVERYTHING!” I said. “It’s the most bullshit of lunch meat. I would take you more seriously as a food connoisseur if you whipped out a f*cking Lunchable than you pulling a bologna sandwich.”
“Well, damn, then I won’t give you the one I brought for you then,” he said, pulling out a second sandwich.
I could’ve screamed.
“You don’t get it. My entire dating career, I have ended up with dudes that were just fine settling for bologna. Why?.. I get it. Relationships are tough, especially with people like us that do what we do.. but that’s no reason to get rejected for a piece of lunch meat I couldn’t even convince my cat to eat.”
By now, a full out debate had broken out in the green room on the value of bologna and its relevance to my dating life. Several crew members had gathered by this point, as had Rob, and watched on as the two of us did battle. I stood posed in the door way as I defended my stance on men’s inability to recognize a good thing when they see it. And Reese being Reese, flailed his arms around wildly while still managing to hold onto his sandwich. That is, until it flew out of his grip and landed on the floor between us.
It took everything in my power not to laugh. Reese’s shitty lunch, somehow managed to out-shitty itself. But what happens next answered the age long question of why people will settle for next to crappiness and less than mediocre mates.
Reese picked up the sandwich. Removed the slice of bread that had touched the floor, and proceeded to eat the remainder of the sandwich, open faced. The room, myself included, looked on in disgust.
“What?” he garbled with a mouth full of food.
“UGH, men.” And with that, I turned and left the room.
Maybe people settle for things not because they want to, but because sometimes having something better is just too much work. Sure, Reese could have thrown out his sandwich, but .. why waste the other perfectly good piece of bread and mayo-slathered lunch meat. He’s young and can still get away with slumming it every lunch and again. Or maybe he just simply doesn’t realize what he’s missing out on.
The point is.. who knows who this mystery lady was?.. Or what her connection was with “The Dude”? I may never know. While part of me may have been a little jealous, the other part of me laughed. Who was I to judge someone else’s taste in mates anyway?.. Some people will never realize what they are missing until it’s just beyond their grasp. Others will wise up, simply because they figure out they enjoy the finer things in life, and that prime cuts are harder and harder to come by these days. I know I certainly have over the years. One thing’s for sure, I may have settled for a hamburger or two in my twenty six years, but I will never touch a piece of bologna for as long as I live. After all, once you’ve had filet… there’s really no going back.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
The Daily Line
I just wanted to remind everyone to watch The Daily Line, Monday through Thursday from 6:00-7:00 p..m. only on Versus.
Also, if you haven't already, please join my Facebook Fan Page. There will be exclusive stuff posted there that won't necessarily be on my normal pages or blogs.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
More so than that is the fact that I have what some would call relationship ADD. I don’t necessarily get bored, but I find that I lose interest easily. Usually because a lot of the guys that ask me out aren’t all that deep, or interesting for that matter. Sure, they can be smart or good looking.. but rarely are they ever the full package. Add in the “glass shattering” effect, and well.. they are toast from the start. It’s relationship boredom, and it usually sets in within the first couple of months. So I start looking for an exit strategy. “It’s not you.. it’s me,” is far too cliché and no one seems to really buy it. Then there is always the talk of babies. If you want to run a man off, tell him everything you ate that day, that you want to be married with five children by the time you’re thirty and that your biological clock is ticking. Works every time. Before my regular readers start berating me for running off potential suitors, let me assure you I was doing it for their own good.
I find myself in situations where I “used” to feel the flutter. You know, the Butterfly Effect. Where you smile like an idiot every time their name comes up on your phone, or when you spy them from across a crowded room. That high school sweetheart feeling you had for only one person.. your Wendy Peffercorn. Maybe I am just jaded or a tad too cynical, or maybe all my years of thinking like a boy and being treated like one of them have caught up with me. But now the only feeling I feel is.. well, like vomiting. Over anxiety. Over being trapped in something that doesn't fit me the way I had pictured it would. The past few attempts at relationships were more like hemorrhoids. No, make that enemas. They were just up my ass and left me feeling extremely uncomfortable. And oddly enough, I always weighed less once I was rid of them. Hmmm..
I miss the feelings I had in the “beginnings.” Not necessarily the thrill of the chase, because at my age, in my line of work, that shit is really starting to get old. Instead, I miss feeling like I can be "me" and not a "we". Far too often I was consumed by feelings of guilt that I couldn't be everything they wanted because I was too busy fulfilling my dreams. But more so because I wasn’t willing to give up everything I had worked so hard for at the chance of living happily ever after with them. The real problem lies in the fact that no one tells you what happens when that new car smell isn't there anymore. What does it mean when the flutter isn’t there? Is it just a sign of life just getting real and signaling the end of the honeymoon phase or is it God’s way of showing you this isn't where he wanted you to end up?
If living on the island has taught me anything, it’s… go to the bathroom before you leave home, and that the world is really that small of a place. And trying to cut your teeth in my industry, the number of people you are exposed to on a daily basis… even smaller. So to say my dating pool was more like a koi pond, is a vast understatement. It wasn’t unheard of me seeing people I had used to date, or flirt with… some more casually than others. The worst part though was seeing someone after there was no resolution. Your situation just kinda melted, evaporated, or exploded… and there was no conclusion. I found myself in one such situation.
I recently ran into a familiar face that used to do that to me, you may recall him - the Perfect Stranger? Well, since our falling out, we haven't seen each other too much and haven't even really spoken other than an occasional text around birthdays or holidays. And that was fine by me. I think we just realized we wanted different things out of life. Translation: I wanted to date an adult. He wanted to date girls that could barely spell “orange”. He never liked what I did for a living and was always giving me ultimatums about it.
“Would you give up your acting/TV stuff?” ---NO!
“Would you give up your writing?” --- NO!
“Would you give up appearances, the public eye, and settle down and have a family?” -- Hell to the NO.
A guy like him wanted nothing more than a trophy girlfriend. Someone who would give up herself, relies on him financially, and never challenges him… ever. And that girl was certainly not me.
A little over a month ago, I was standing outside a Super Bowl party in Miami waiting on a friend to arrive, when he came out of the entrance with a girl whose shoulders easily could have bench pressed someone my size. Oddly enough however, there was not a single flutter. The deeper down in my soul I searched for a feeling for him.. the emptier I found it to be. There was no butterfly effect, only the feelings they sing about in those Pepto Bismol commercials. Heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. God, why had I picked such a tight dress? Still, there was no drama. He ignored me, I ignored him.. and all was right with the world again.
Oddly enough, the Stranger’s thinking wasn’t at all original. Same thing happened with my latest companion. I cared about him deeply, but he just never seemed to "get it." His attitude toward my career, toward my opinions, and his sophomoric tone about him always being right were the proverbial can of Raid that laid the whoop ass on my butterflies.
Catching up with friends recently, none of them seemed surprised the latest didn't last.
"Jenn, c’mon. He was a child,” one of them said. “While he was hella book smart, you could have run the New York marathon around him in the common sense category. He was just naïve about life and was more interested in having a piece of eye candy than what was under the wrapper."
"Heh. Isn't that all men?" I laughed.
"Some. Err, make that most. I meant that metaphorically speaking by the way.. not about getting naked. But every once in a while you find one that seems a lil different from the rest and it you let your guard down. Face it Jenn, beneath that tough frat boy exterior, you're kinda a girl. Granted, you keep it a secret from most people, but we’re your friends. So, the jig is up."
My friend was right. Maybe I had been the exterminator in all my relationships by expecting things to always feel “direct from the dealership” fresh. But on the other hand, maybe I was doing myself a huge favor. Maybe I was weeding through all the tired bullshit, the cobwebs and spiders. I was getting rid of all the old cluster of ‘ish in the attic that I had zero use for. And Lord knows I have seen plenty of that. When it comes to relationships, you have to find someone with gumption to stand by you when shit gets tough, and when things aren't perfect. Because the butterfly feeling only last so long. When the day comes and she's barefoot, pregnant, and cursing that day you were in the mood.. well, you still have to love her. And what about the day your balls look less like the prizes of their day, and more like Jose Conseco’s after a cycle? Well, she won't mock you endlessly for it. At least, not if it’s the real deal. The point is, that you have to find the person that you could imagine waking up next to for the foreseeable future and not the one who you lay awake next to plotting your narrow escape before the sun comes up like one of those kids from Twilight.
Some things in life are just worth waiting for. Maybe that is why I have thrown myself into my career. Sure dating can be fun, but finding people of substance is tricky. Because once the butterflies leave, and the moths take up nesting, all you’re going to get are holes in your clothes and a closet that smells like old people. Finding genuine people in this world who can make you laugh, keep you smiling, and make your life a better place to be.. well, it certainly beats that empty feeling you wake up with after a “coyote ugly” experience. After all, while some people settle down, and others just settle, there are still people out there that refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies. This girl just happens to be one of them.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
But as I ran on the treadmill the other day, I couldn't help but be drawn to the day’s skeezy headline on the TV in front of me.. "Chopper bad boy cheats on America’s sweetheart."
Two weeks ago, Sandra Bullock was on top of the world. She was dressed to the nines and outshining actresses half her age. She was the envy of the gay community for "making out with Meryl Streep." And oh yeah, she won what most would argue is the most prestigious acclaim one could possibly take home as an actress these days.. an Academy Award. Upon accepting her award for her role in “The Blind Side” she attributed her beautiful performance as “Big Mike” Oher's adoptive mother to two very special people. One, the actual woman whose mannerisms and gusto she had nailed to a "T." And a tattooed up garage rat she had affectionately come to refer to as her husband.
Little did she know the shitstorm that was about to become her life. A little over a week later, Life and Style had their people call her people and give her the heads up on the explosive headline that was about to hit the stands. You know, the one where the good girl gets crapped on by the bad boy she is in love with. Figuring the report was just another random bullshit line in tabloid history, Bullock's people denied the allegations. That is, until the sleaze magazine handed over all the evidence, including substantiated reports from none other than the “white power,” tatted up, “classy” broad claiming to have slept with Sandra’s husband. Sandra packed her things and moved out that day.
The whole mess really got me thinking though. Was it some sort of ego trip, or were men's minds really that feeble that they couldn't resist a little bit of “T&A” being paraded in front of their face? I mean seriously. What kind of men cheat on America's sweethearts?
There have been plenty of cases out there in the media world these days of beautiful successful women being cheated on by their "faithful and loving" husbands. Plenty of my friends and women-- that I care about deeply that seemingly had life by the balls-- lives were suddenly thrown into the turmoil dealing with their partner's infidelity. Hell, at 26, my last two long term relationships involved being cheated on with a Hooters chick, and the other to attend a “party.” Did I mention the party was 18 girls 18 boys, no boyfriends, girlfriends, or apparently human decency allowed? Since when did party=orgy??.. So when I learned of the details of this sordid event, it was “Hi ho, hi ho, pack your bags and go” for his sorry, undeserving ass.
That's not to say it didn't hurt like hell to see him go. It most certainly did. But it wasn't even that I loved him, or I thought he was the "one." Hell, I'm not really convinced there is still a "one" out there anymore in this day and age, especially with what I do for a living. No, instead it all came down to a lack of respect and a whole lot of perceived entitlement.
Bad boys are bad boys for a reason. Whether they claim mama issues, have huge egos, or supposed sex addictions, it really all comes down to their own personal character and the choices they make. And it’s our "role" in society as the loving nurturing women we are to want to fix them or save them from themselves. I call this the ‘Danny/Sandy Complex’ because well, every person on the planet has seen “Grease” at least once in their life, even the straight ones. Classic story of bad boy meets sweet girl. Girl falls for his antics. He retreats back to what he always was once school starts up again; he’s around his degenerate buddies. And breaks said good girl’s heart. But what happens at the end downright blows my mind. Down in the dumps about having lost Danny, she stands up in the middle of a disgusting aqueduct, and sings her sad song..
"Sandy, you must start anew. Don’t you know what you must do… wholesome and pure, I'm so scared and unsure. Good bye, to Sandra Dee."
And the next scene.. The grand finale. Its good bye poodle skirts, hello skankwear and spandex from American Apparel’s sex ads. Sure, she’s “the one that he wants”… for now anyway. Roll credits.
What the Sandra Dees don't realize is there's no changing the Danny Zukos of the world's ways, or saving them for that matter, because they are who they are. No one asks a scorpion why its stings people, it’s just its nature. Tigers don’t go crazy, Tigers go Tiger. (I am referring to the animal in this case, but I guess it could apply in several instances these days.) Regardless, you accept it for what it is, and either proceed with caution or go running for the hills. But if you do stick around, understand there's a fine print somewhere that states the potential hazards this relationship could and WILL bring into your life.
So for all the Sandra Dees and the Sandra Bullocks of the world, just continue to do your thing. There's no reason to change yourself or dress like a slut to compete with the women out there willing to destroy someone else’s relationship, just so they can “win” something. Instead, you let them keep their cheap carnival toy they "won" at the expense of you and their own self worth. You've still got your pride, and if you're Bullock, a new man in your life named Oscar.
As Lady Gaga once said, “Some women chase men, I chose to chase my career. A career won’t roll over one morning and tell you it doesn’t love you anymore.” Maybe under all that make up, the wigs, and masking tape, that girl isn’t so nuts after all. In fact she is absolutely right. After all, no man should ever rob you of the things you create and make happen …
Especially when you do it on your own.
Monday, March 08, 2010
Gone (fantasy) fishing
(And right THERE... 1500 red blooded young American men just stared at a screen. Blinked. And said.. WTF is this girl talking about?)
But for the hundreds of thousands of other guys out there.. The kind who can sympathize with Leroyyyy Jenkins... The kind who when you say "rotisserie", they don't think chicken... And the kind of guy who waits for Baseball Prospectus to come in the mail.. The kinda dudes that understand what positional scarcity and ADP actually are (and are all too happy to explain it to you. For hours. Without anesthetic.) All just simultaneously said... Yes!!!!!..
Let me explain.
It’s National Fantasy Championship of Baseball. Seriously, some of these guys have fantasies that don't involve me and my girlfriends. It's usually David Wright .... which I get ... but for me. Not you.
There are several types of baseball fans. There are guys that love to go to the games, drink beer and are simply spectators. There are guys who sit in foul ball territory with gloves like eight year olds. (Yes, that was me laughing at you last season on the third baseline at 'New Yankee'). There's the kind of fan that gets taken out of the stadium in handcuffs while their kids watch on, for telling Alex Rodriguez to do something to his mom that I couldn't quite make out, but apparently the cops did. (We will skip them.) Finally, there are the types of fans that sit patiently in front of their laptops and watch a computer generated baseball dude as he swings at red and blue dots. Even when it’s a shitty team whose entire season has practically been blacked out (sorry Pittsburgh), they'll do it just to see how one player’s individual stats may affect his chances at being a fantasy Joe Maddon.
Well, this blog’s for you.
I tried fantasy baseball a few years back. Didn't really like it. It was just so time consuming. Kinda like a marriage; you had to work on it every day adjust for injuries and line ups because they play so many games and most of it is so day-to- day. Way too high maintenance. So I eventually found this genius guy to pretty much run the team for me after I drafted. He was the pool boy I hired to keep the wife busy while I attended to the rest of my life.
Now fantasy football. That was something I could get behind. It was more like the hot girl you called up once in a blue moon at 3am on a weekend and all you had to text was.. "?"
Yes. That actually works on some of the dumber ones.
But then one day, one of my friends came in bitching about his fantasy league. His.. Fantasy fishing league.
No, I'm not joking. Note the lack of LOL’s.
I sat there perplexed.
“So wait. You chose a line-up of fishermen.. To sit on boats all day and catch fish by pure dumb luck.. And you call this a sport?”
He nods enthusiastically.
“So how do you choose how to sit or start??”
“Well...” he began.
“No, WELL. I mean. Do you actually strategize about it? Like… Well, I gotta sit Bob this week he got wasted off some Nati Light, puked, and then passed out. So his opponent Frank caught a shark off his chum and my buddy Mark's team won because of that. I mean, do you sit in front of Versus all afternoon long and listen to dudes with such thick southern accents they sound like Boomhauer on ‘King of the Hill’ reruns? Do you yell at them and cheer for them like you would at an MMA match or a football game? Really?”
But how can you call something a sport, let alone devise a fantasy league around it if it’s fate rest in the hands of the Gods and whether or not a fish is smarter than you are?? Fishing is really all about luck. You just put your rods out there, see what bites.. And decide what to toss back. Pretty much how most men I know date. They just set a couple of rods out there.. And see what they can snag as it swims by. Hell, I've watched guy friends of mine do it in one bar on a single night. I'm pretty sure it’s called a catch and release program.
But what happens when you get multiple bites? How do you know which line is worth all the effort of reeling in? Is it the one of least resistance? Or the one that makes you work for it?
The couple times I've gone fishing I've been quite successful. I always caught the biggest fish, with the least amount of effort. Shit, I didn't even take the hook out of them; I let the boys do all the dirty work. But they were usually cursing me the entire time, because they hadn't caught a damn thing. Maybe that's because I fished with the real thing. Good old fashioned worms.
Sure, they were gross and I hated touching them, but damn did they work better than that stupid artificial crap the boys were raving about.
And when it comes to dating I'm the exact same way. I put my real self out there, and if they like what they see, hopefully the right fish will come along and take the bait. But I by no means use any trickery.
Me? I'm gullible .. I fall for shiny things. Get hooked. And then it’s too late. Hook. Line. Sink “her.”
Despite my success, there was one thing I couldn't get past with fishing. It was boring. Sure, some people may call it relaxing, but if you can sleep and do it at the same time, well.. it’s not exactly multitasking. Personally, I found it a waste of time, as I do the whole initial dating process and the games. But girls I know insisted it was the way to go.
So I cast myself a few lines into the water to see what I'd find. Problem is, when you're fishing in the Hudson real fish are hard to come by. You're more likely to catch garbage, a mutated three-eyed monster, or maybe even a finger or two of Jimmy Hoffa that wasn't buried at Giants Stadium. However, when my friends would inquire about my dating life, and I'd just say “I was dating,” the guys got a little indignant about it. But I figured, if men are allowed to keep their rods out there, well why the heck shouldn't I? One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. Each line had something different to offer, and that made choosing the right one like looking at the menu for Cheesecake Factory when you're beyond famished. Good luck with that.
But it got me thinking...
When is it time to reel in your catch and call it a day??
Maybe we should fall for a lure not because of how it looks, or its glossy appeal, but fall for it because in all honesty, it looks like the real thing. Until that day happens for me, at least at the end of the day..
My mom says “I'm a catch.”
But 'til then.. I've gone fishin.'