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Posts Tagged ‘humor’

One of the worst parts about being single again at my age is the serious shortage in available, decent men. I guess I got too comfortable as a married woman and didn’t notice that all the really good guys were being snatched up off the market. But in the time since my husband left, I have found pretty much every possible representative of odd men that are still left on the singles scene. My married and relationshiped friends laugh when I make jokes about creating patches to represent these various different categories of men and wear the badges like a Girl Scout uniform. So, as a representative for single girls everywhere, I’m willing to proudly wear the Red Badges of Shame:

The Rebound Guy – this is the one who comes swooping in and says he knows exactly what you’re going through, he’ll be there for you, wants to rebuild your damaged ego, etc. I am a big enough girl to admit having fallen for that huge mistake – my rebound guy was over 20 years older than me and seriously resembles the cartoon character Shrek – without the sense of humor or lovable charm! Yeah, I’m real proud of this one.

The “You Were Better in My Head” Guy – this was the guy that ended up being so not worth the hype. My particular version of this guy had been the subject of some serious x-rated fantasies for me in the last year of my marriage as things were falling apart. It could have been terribly awkward if the husband had ever found out, since this fantasy-maker was a mutual friend of ours and in the fire service with us. Too bad he ended up being a MAJOR disappointment compared to all the fantasies I had built up in my head….

The Momma’s Boy – this guy couldn’t decide what to wear without consulting his mother. I was actually surprised, the few times we went out to dinner, that he didn’t either ask her to join us or have to call her for guidance on what to eat. And the worst part was that I was actually disappointed when this one dumped me. We won’t even ponder why I waited around long enough to get dumped.

The Pimp – yep, that’s right, he was a real, honest-to-God pimp – in his past, or so he promised me. And he considered it a compliment to me when he said I could have been his house mother. Gee, thanks, I don’t even get to be a ‘service provider’, I just get to babysit and cook for them. Really??

The ‘I Can’t Believe You Dumped Me for HER’ Guy – this is the guy that you see out with the next girl and you literally think to yourself ‘really, THAT girl’s better than me?’!  I went out with a guy once who is in law enforcement and who blew me off for someone he met through work – and NOT on the free side of the bars if you get my general drift. That’ll take a chunk out of a girl’s ego – of course, my husband left me for a woman who is going bald and has a mustache so there wasn’t much ego left but still….

The Control Freak – this is the guy that can’t be bothered to squeeze you into his schedule if it’s inconvenient but he damn well wants to know where you are and who you’re with. And, if you mention that you have guy friends and that you’re spending time with them, be prepared for the Control Freak to go batcrap crazy. You’ve been warned.

The “Are You SURE You’re Not Gay?” Guy – this guy was classy, educated, well-spoken and always dressed well. All in all, way too perfect to have been interested in me. I still haven’t figured out yet if he really is a gay man or just out of my league…

The Merry Widower – this one actually called me for emotional support on the night of his wife’s funeral. His need to ‘talk’ to someone lasted only as long as it took me to fall hard for his wounded, emotionally vulnerable self – and then he was moving on, getting engaged and pregnant within a year. Wow, shame on me, that’s all I can say….

The Baby Daddy – we all know them and love them, the men who just seem destined to be dads. Normally, I am a sucker for a guy with kids, who spends time with them, loves them, and supports them. This particular individual, though, has *4* children – with *4* different women. There is something charming about a loving dad – there is something not so charming about a serial sperm donor.

The Hillbilly – miles beyond the normal redneck man (who we all know I happen to love), the Hillbilly is in a class all by his double-wide-trailered self. This is the guy that thinks “hey, wanna see the deer hide still stuck in the front bumper of my station wagon ’cause I ran him down last month?” is an actual pickup line.

The Loser – this guy lives with his parents (in the basement, the attic, whatever) and doesn’t really seem to be bothered by it. Normally, when an adult child has to move home for some reason, there is a sense of discomfort and unease on the part of the adult child – they don’t really WANT to be there. But with this guy, he’s quite content to let Mom & Dad foot the bills, do the laundry, cook the meals and keep the house.

The Second Date Guy – this particularly charming individual got pissed off at me when I wouldn’t sleep with him on the second date. I will politely refrain from using the phrase Trailer Trash …but suffice it to say, I don’t give this one high marks for class or chivalry.

The Possessor – this guy is the one who wants to know where you are, what you’re doing, and who you’re with at every moment. He needs constant reassurance that you’re interested and wants to know when you will be calling him, seeing him, or texting him. It’s a sad day when I date a man who is a bigger girl than I am!

The One Who Is Just Waiting For Something Better – this charmer is the one who basically tells you he’s just passing the time with you. He checks his texts constantly while out with you, hoping that a better offer has come along. While he gets points for being honest and upfront, he will someday realize that telling a girl straight out that she will be only a booty call is somewhat insulting.

The Emotionally Unavailable One – this is the one that, no matter how hard you try to establish an emotional connection, you just can’t rip through the walls he’s built up. I couldn’t even get a straight answer from this guy on WHY he had built up these walls – it was like trying to ram my head into the proverbial brick wall.

The Egotist – this is the guy that never once asks you a single question about yourself or listens to anything you have to say. He’s too busy telling you about his history, his life, his hobbies, his job, his taste in food, etc. You could stand naked in the corner and whistle Dixie and it wouldn’t interrupt the soliloquy about HIM.

The Friend – this is perhaps the biggest mistake we as newly-single women can make! If he was a friend either from your previous single life or worse yet from your married days do NOT try to have a relationship with him! It will be awkward when things don’t work out and then you’ve potentially ruined a friendship that has survived the test of time. Or, even if you can salvage the friendship, you will always feel a certain resentment when you see him with the next girl.

The Wounded Soul – this guy is the easiest to fall for, especially if you’re like me – a sucker with a big heart. It’s like adopting a homeless puppy – they’re so vulnerable and needy and you can help them and make their lives better. The downfall is that you can either end up with the dog that will one day turn on you inexplicably and bite you in the ass OR you end up with the one who just acts like he’s waiting for you to kick him in the teeth because some woman in the past has done just that. Either way, you can’t win and it won’t be a healthy relationship.

And all of these charmers are the ones I actually went out with – this doesn’t include the variety of men that are still out there, just waiting for me. Oh, come on girls, you know we’ve ALL been out with these guys – I cannot possibly be the only one to have discovered some of these ‘treasures’! In a rare flash of uncharacteristic optimism, I am going to HOPE that I might one day start a relationship with Mr. Perfect. This is the guy that is, in so many ways, the anthithesis of the men that are normally attracted to me – he’s intelligent, kind, educated, well-spoken, with a good job and a sense of decency – and he actually reads books and uses his brain for matters other than sex or fire trucks. He will be able to tolerate me and my quirky ways, he will treat me well, and he will be normal…and then maybe I can throw away the collection of badges? Oh, Mr. Perfect, here I am, ready and waiting….

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I admit to being one of those bizarre, childless adults that loves kids movies. Those movies are an amazing genre that can tackle all sorts of life lessons in the most simplistic and yet wonderful way. They are also the means by which we are teaching the next generation of people how to treat other people, how to be decent human beings, and how to live their lives to the fullest.

I want you to think about some of MY favorite films – what kinds of lessons do kids learn from Shrek? How about tolerance for those that are different. Or to not judge someone on their looks. Or to believe that dreams can come true. And what about The Little Mermaid? Learn that everyone has dreams and wishes, regardless of their species or differences. Or what about the Harry Potter series? We learn about depending on their friends, about not calling other people names or judging them because of their backgrounds, about respecting the rules, about being brave in the face of adversity.

Children’s movies mold our younger generations by posing questions about the world they live in, by taking everyday problems (peer pressure, teasing, telling the truth, right vs wrong, etc.) and putting them in fantastical situations that appeal to their imaginations. But I firmly believe that those same movies can teach us, as adults, those exact same lessons! Too many times in my adult life I have witnessed other ‘grownups’ who need to learn about treating other human beings with kindness and compassion, about not judging people (skin color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political ideologies, etc.), about truth and honesty, and so many others. Adults are not exempt from the rules of basic human goodness – and if it takes a movie to remind them of that, then I will buy the whole damn world a ticket!

One of my favorite learning opportunities that is cloaked in the guise of a kids’ movie is a treasure called “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” On the outside it looks like a quirky picture with an oddly-assorted yet mega-talented cast (Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, and Jason Bateman) but on closer examination, it is a wonderful life lesson on the power of belief, discovering one’s self, and faith in things unseen. It is filled with some great gems of wisdom:

Mr. Magorium: Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.

Eric: All stories, even the ones we love, must eventually come to an end and when they do, it’s only an opportunity for another story to begin.

Mr. Magorium: [to Molly, about dying] When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He’s written “He dies.” That’s all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with “He dies.” And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “He dies.” but because of the life we saw prior to the words.

I’ve lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I’m only asking that you turn the page, continue reading… and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest “He died.”

Mr. Magorium: We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime.

Henry Weston: You know, some people… send flowers, or cards, or… give people hugs. I… make sure their paper work’s all in order. I thought I’d try something different.

Eric: What Mahoney needed was the opportunity to prove to herself that she was something more than she believed.

I often find myself identifying with ALL of these characters – the dreamer, the lost soul, the anal retentive one, the sage, the pragmatist, the inner child. It is truly one of those movies that you find yourself pondering on long after the final credits roll – regardless of the fact that it was marketed to an audience that packs Fruit RollUps and Cheetos for lunch. And it’s a movie that will urge you to rediscover the magical, wonderful, exciting things in the world around you. If you haven’t already seen this film, I HIGHLY suggest you give it a try. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone that you’re watching kids’ movies….

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Why is it that we as women are afraid to ask for what we want? Why can’t we state plainly and clearly what we want in this life? Why aren’t we allowed to make demands on how we want to be treated? Oh no, instead we have to dance around the subjects and use pretty words and flowery symbolism to SUGGEST what we want. This is especially frustrating when we are dealing with men because, as we well know, they do not do well with hints and innuendos. They want things spelled out clearly, with no room for error or misinterpretation.

Example: You are due to go out to eat with a group of guys. You are afraid that they are going to take you to Hooters or a titty bar. You politely mention a couple of really nice sports bars and/or barbecue joints that you’ve read about. Rather than flat out stating “No, I won’t go to Hooters and I do NOT believe that you go there only for the wings,” you hedge around the issue and stress over whether you’ll have to eat while watching some poor half-naked woman prance around. It would save you quite a few points on the blood pressure cuff if you could just say how you feel.

Another example: You’re ‘seeing’ a guy and he wants to take a break, gives you the “it’s not you, it’s me” spiel that cavemen perfected and has been in use ever since. Rather than coming right out and saying “you’re so full of shit, tell me what is REALLY going on,” you nod and smile and agree that maybe just being friends for now will work. And then you eat a gallon of ice cream and wonder (obsessively) what you did wrong.

Yet another example: You really want this cute guy in the bar to notice you. You’ve done all the standard girl motions like flipping your hair, sticking your boobs out, laughing adorably, and batting your eyelashes – and he’s still not getting it. Instead of just saying “hey, I saw you across the bar and thought I’d like to get to know you better,” you stay with your girlfriends, pray desperately that he’ll notice you, and leave at the end of the night frustrated because you think you can’t find a decent man anywhere.

Do you see where I’m going with this, ladies? In all of those cases, the men probably have NO IDEA what we are really thinking. They are not psychic and cannot read our minds. And, yes, in most cases you would think that it would be fairly self-evident – but we cannot assume! So we need to get better about vocalizing what we want and what we demand. And this lesson will need to extend beyond our interactions with men – in our careers, our home lives, and our friendships, we have to get better at saying what we want! It’s time to start telling the world what we want, girls!

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In 1949, Cole Porter’s smash hit musical Kiss Me Kate won the first Tony award ever given for Best Musical. This “show within a show” features a cast of actors and actresses preparing for a musical version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. It features plenty of bickering, romantic sizzle, and a little harmless gender-bashing – just my kind of entertainment!

This song occurs in Act 1, when “Kate” has been used and mistreated by a number of suitors who, in the usual fashion of selfish piggish men, only look to her for their own physical needs. She is frustrated and insulted by their refusals to see her as a human being – and she didn’t have a terribly high opinion of the male species to begin with. “Kate” is a shrew, ill-tempered to many and particularly contemptuous of men:

I hate men.
I can’t abide ’em even now and then.
Than ever marry one of them, I’d rest a virgin rather,
For husbands are a boring lot and only give you bother.
Of course, I’m awfully glad that Mother had to marry Father,
But I hate men.

Of all the types I’ve ever met within our democracy,
I hate most the athlete with his manner bold and brassy,
He may have hair upon his chest but, sister, so has Lassie.
Oh, I hate men!
I hate men.

 
Their worth upon this earth I dinna ken.
Avoid the trav’ling salesman though a tempting
Tom he may be,
From China he will bring you jade and perfume from Araby,
But don’t forget ’tis he who’ll have the fun and thee the baby,
Oh I hate men.


If thou shouldst wed a businessman, be wary, oh, be wary.
He’ll tell you he’s detained in town on business necessary,
His bus’ness is the bus’ness which he gives his secretary,
Oh I hate men!

I have to say that while I do not actually agree with most of these sentiments, the song is catchy and the underlying frustration is one that I’m sure many women have felt. It has been a long time since I was on the ‘market’ as a single person; sadly, not much has changed. I am learning a lot of valuable lessons by dating and seeing what single men are really after – and not a whole lot is good. I would be much better suited to this lifestyle if I was more of the promiscuous, easily-sexed/heart-never-broken type of girl – but I’m not. Call me traditional but I’d like a little romance – and for the man to actually stick with you AFTER he has slept with you.

At any rate, this song popped up on my iPod (as one of the embarassing show tune selections) and it amused me. It fit at this moment in my life so I thought I’d share with all of the girls out there who might be suffering with me…

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One of the guys in the firehouse  has implied that I am a Man-Hater. In fact, he was nervous allowing me to be alone with his girlfriend (who herself is divorced) for a couple of glasses of wine for fear that I would turn her into a Man-Hater too. I am so saddened by this implication because, honestly, I truly do love men. Many of my best friends are of the male persuasion and I adore the  unique perspective they have on life.

I tried to explain to my friend that I do NOT hate all men in general – maybe just one. And I’m not even sure I can hate him – my ex has truly shown himself as an AssHat as a husband – but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a firefighter and paramedic. It’s very hard to hate someone you admire. But in thinking about being accused of being a Man-Hater, it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, “Runaway Bride.” In the opening scenes of the movie, a cynical male columnist writes this about us women:

Today is a day of profound introspection. I have been accused of using this column to direct bitter diatribes at the opposite sex. This uncomfortable accusation has plunged me into at least a minute of serious reflection, from which I have emerged with the conclusion that, yes, I traffic in female stereotypes. But how can one blame me when every time I step out my front door, I meet fresh proof that the female archetypes are alive and well. The mother, the virgin, the whore, the crone. They’re elbowing you in the subway, stealing your cabs, and overwhelming you with perfume in elevators. But perhaps in fairness to the fairer sex, I do need to broaden my horizon and add some new goddesses to the pantheon. I would like to nominate for deity the cheerleader, the coed – and the man-eater, the last of which concerns me most today. In ancient Greece, this fearsome female was known as Erinys, the devouring death goddess. In India, she is Kali, who likes to devour her boyfriend Shiva’s entrails while her yoni devours his dot, dot, dot… never mind. In Indonesia, the bloody-jawed man-eater is called Ragma.  You notice these are all countries without cable. And in Hale, Maryland, where she helps run the family hardware store, she is known as Miss Maggie Carpenter…

How ironic that, since my ex has accused me of using this blog to display my bitterness and my friends think I have gone off men altogether, I am labeled a Man-Hater. I guess I am in good company, though, as you look at “Runaway Bride’s” researched list of mythological divinities that have paved the way for me. I am certainly, according to this list, not the first woman to be frustrated beyond belief by the actions of the opposite sex. And, as many of you reading this are probably female, you can understand the things that guys do that make us crazy…

But, as I said before, I really am NOT a Man-Hater. I would hope my guy friends could testify that I pride myself on being “just one of the guys.” I depend on my men to keep me grounded and to help me to let go of grudges, to not allow emotions to get in the way of reason, and to be a little selfish sometimes. My guys are the balance to the estrogen of my girlfriends and I need them to help me not take life so seriously, to laugh at the absurd, and to relax a little more. I rely on them to teach me about beer, baseball, fart humor, and the genius of Mel Brooks movies.

So, I am proclaiming here and now (are you listening, Chris?) I am NOT a Man-Hater! I will not be turning into Kali and devouring your entrails or going postal on your guyness. My guy friends are wonderfully unique creatures totally different from my girly self and I am truly blessed to have them to keep me straight and to keep me laughing!

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 I have decided that my next husband is going to be Seth MacFarlane. Who, you’re asking me? You’ve heard of him – you may just not realize it. He is the genius behind “Family Guy.” He’s intellectual, funny, and handsome – what more can a girl ask for?
 
I was led to “Family Guy” by a former coworker who would tell me at least once a week what a fantastic show it was, with very smart and snappy social commentary hidden behind a mask of potty humor. After about the millionth nag, I finally tuned in for an episode – and have been addicted ever since.
 
One of my religion professors in college published an article about the religion of “The Simpsons” (which can be found in God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture) and the concept of a cartoon exploring – and often lampooning – our values, social norms, religion, spirituality and philosophy was shocking to me! And yet, I wonder, without these entertainment pieces, would American society ever really ponder their own values? “Family Guy” is the same way – tackling some of the more serious aspects of American society alongside of stupid gags, ridiculous jokes, and inane storytelling. 
 
I have discovered a book titled Family Guy and Philosophy: A Cure for the Petarded which actually examines the amazing depth of this show.  Yes, it really is a scholarly look at the religious, political, social, economic, and philsophical insights that this cartoon gives, hidden in low-brow, often off-color humor. Yes, it is really written by a bunch of college and university professors examining the ethical, social, sociological and philosophical themes explored by “Family Guy.” This show is, believe it or not, filled to the brim with very sophisticated satire and social issues. From death to environmental consciousness, medical ethics to political morals,  self-identity to gender expectations, organized religion to sexual norms, civil rights to the Holocaust, this show deals with many issues that many people will usually not wrap their minds around. There are no sacred cows in Quahog – “Family Guy” treats no subject as taboo. It is an equal opportunity to offend and yet equally in favor of diversity and tolerance – a unique dichotomy.
 
Seth MacFarlane is not only the brains behind the show, he’s also one of the major players. He voices Peter (a moronic WASP with the social skills of a newt), Quagmire (the sex-crazed plush-porn next door neighbor), Stewie (a megalomaniac infant with matricidal tendencies) and Brian (the family dog who is actually more in touch with human emotions and experiences than most of the human characters). His characters represent a wide range of socioeconomic statuses, not to mention accents and inflections. I strongly suggest watching the “Family Guy” episode of “Inside the Actors Studio” – watching these voice actors spar with stuffy old James Lipton is memorable!
 
So, Mr. MacFarlane, if you’re out there reading this, give me a call – we’ll do dinner sometime. I know you’re out there in Hollywood where a lot of women don’t really ‘get’ your show – so give me a shot. You’ll find out what it’s like to have an intelligent conversation with someone who can laugh at the bondage jokes and still debate the spiritual validity of the Church of the Fonz. See if you could keep up, Mr. MacFarlane, with a real woman who resembles Lois and not one of Quagmire’s sex dolls!

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I have discovered the new career I want: an NCIS Agent Afloat. Yes, really. Think about it – a boat, blue water, world travel, crime-solving, and oh those uniforms!  I absolutely love “NCIS” and I’m thinking a career in naval service could be quite…interesting….

I have decided that when I grow up, I would LOVE to be Abby. She’s a strong, independent, intelligent, quirky woman – oh, wait, maybe I already am all of that! I don’t sleep in coffins or have the spiderweb tattoo or have the ability to even tell you what a gas chromatograph does but I guess I qualify in a lot of other ways. One of the guys at the firehouse told me the other night that I was stubborn and opinionated – and swears that those were compliments. Ha, guess I’ll take the positive outlook on that – I would much rather be smart and know my own mind (and how to express it) than to be dull-as-dishwater, meek, and submissive.

I had this friend in high school that was one of the smartest females I have ever met – book smart, people smart, street smart. And yet every time a person of the male persuasion was near her, it was like her brains fell out of her head. She had (consciously or subconsciously, I’ve never known) trained herself that she needed to play the brainless bimbo routine in order to make men like her. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever observed – a gorgeous, intelligent woman ashamed to be herself.

Anyway, I digress. If I want to be Abby, shouldn’t I want to work in a lab? Well, sure, but there are 2 problems with that: 1) I was terrible in science in school and couldn’t solve today’s crossword puzzle (let alone major crimes) with scientific equipment and 2) I wouldn’t get to….um…”experience” the navy that way. I admit it, I have a thing for men in uniform – how do you think I ended up married to a fireman? And if I were stuck in a lab all day, I don’t think I’d meet many of them.

The Agent Afloat, however, gets to be onboard a ship, surrounded by water and gorgeous men. And you get to visit exotic locales – AND serve your country! Throw in mysteries and the chance to meet a real-life Gibbs, Tony, or McGee – I’m in! I think I could be the next Ziva, what do you think? I would be one tough chick with a gun, a badge, and a ship full of uniformed personnel!!

P.S. – if you’ve read this entire post and have no idea what I’m talking about, then get yourself to a Blockbuster and pick up the DVD sets of “NCIS” right now – and shame on you for missing out on one of TV’s best shows! Next you’ll tell me you never saw M.A.S.H. or The Cosby Show….

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