Damnit, Cupid, So NOT OKAY: The OkCupid Trials, Date 2

Another guy that I met on OkCupid looked very promising from his online dating profile. It said that he was from Louisiana, he was a graphic designer, and he was tall and wore glasses. I was convinced that this was the guy for me. Then I met him.

In real life, he was gangly and awkward, like a male version of Olive Oyl, and his glasses were crooked. He was also, hands-down, the MOST BORING PERSON I’VE EVER MET. He was so boring that I briefly contemplated pretending to pass out/slide off of the banquette we were sitting on just so I could get taken away in an ambulance and not have to talk to him anymore.

Here’s a little anecdote from the hour-long date that really drives home how awful he was. At one point, over our ONE BEER, he asked me if I’d ever seen the movie “The Cove.” I hadn’t, simply because a movie about the systematic slaughter of adorable, innocent dolphins doesn’t appeal to me. I feel like I’ve seen it NOW, though, because when I told him I hadn’t seen it, he proceeded to give me a full recap of its plot that felt like it lasted roughly four times as long as the movie itself. I don’t know why he thought this was good date chat. I’m pretty sure that there isn’t a woman in the world who would find hearing about defenseless, majestic sea beasts being harpooned in the head to be a turn-on (okay, maybe Karla Homolka, but that’s it). Then again, he WAS on a dating website, so I don’t really know why I was so shocked by his social ineptitude.   

Towards the forty minute mark, I remember saying to him, “Well, I’m finished with my beer, so maybe we should wrap this up.” His response? “Well, I still have half of my beer to go.” I should’ve looked him dead in the eye right then and said, “You’re the most boring person I’ve ever met and speaking with you is less fun than having my toe chewed on by a wild rat,” but instead, I just weakly said, “Okay,” and sat there like a lump until he finally finished his beer.

After awkwardly waving goodbye to him the minute we set foot outside the bar, I speed-walked away and never looked back. He must have gotten the hint from my dead-eyed, forty-yard stare, because we never spoke again. Thankfully.

That Time I Wore a Winter Coat for 6 Years

I’ve always been pathologically self-conscious. I don’t really know why – it’s not like I was born without a nose or anything – but I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. I think maybe the neurosis stems from having looked so much like a boy when I was a baby that I’d be in my carriage wearing a pink dress and pink hair clips and people would STILL come over and ask, “Aww, how old is he?!” (This might have had something to do with the fact that my ‘hair’ consisted of three wispy strands of nothing, but I digress.)

The self-consciousness wasn’t SO bad when I was a kid, though I do remember being six years old and so deeply ashamed of a tiny mole on my left hand that I would hold it to my body in a palsy-ish kind of way. It only really got bad when I hit twelve years old – that’s when I first put on a knee-length, black, puffy winter coat, and I pretty much didn’t take the fucking thing off for the next six years.

You may think I’m exaggerating. I wish that were the case, but you could ask any one of the 120 kids I went to school with back then, and every single person would tell you, “Yeah, Caroline definitely did spend 6th grade through 12th grade comfortably swaddled in a crazy person puffer coat.” I’d break out Old Faithful as soon as the temperature dipped below 65 degrees in October, and I wouldn’t take it off until it was so hot outside that other people were wearing sundresses and shorts to school.

It was pretty nutty behavior, retrospectively, and GOOD GOD was it BOILING HOT in there. Multiple times a week, some other student, most likely clad only in a thin, short-sleeved shirt, would turn to me and say, “Hey, Caroline, it’s super hot in here, aren’t you hot in that coat?” And even though my hair would be plastered to my red, sweaty face and I’d be feeling like I could slump over from heat stroke at virtually any moment, I’d reply, “Oh, man, I’m FREEZING! I can’t believe you’re hot! I’m so glad I have my coat to keep me toasty!” Then I’d spend the rest of the class simultaneously fuming at their nerve and envying them for the fact that they weren’t totally insane like me.

I even had a math teacher, Doc, who would literally beg me to take the coat off in front of the whole class. “Caroline, you’re beautiful,” he’d say, “and for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, could you take the goddamn coat OFF?” I’d just smile knowingly and say, “Oh, Doc. You know that’ll never happen.” And it didn’t – not until after I’d graduated from high school. I’m surprised my superlative in the yearbook wasn’t, “Most Likely To End Up Wearing a Tin Foil Hat to Match Her Paranoid Schizophrenic’s Outfit.”

Finally, I got to college and decided that there wasn’t much of a point to schvitzing like a pudding at a picnic all the time. Don’t get me wrong, though – I still wear a long, black, puffy coat every winter, and the first time each season that I get to put it on, I think to myself, “Hello, old friend. We meet again.”

A Very Craigslist “Househelp” Request

I received the following e-mail in my spam folder, which I check compulsively in case I miss a job offer from a prospective employer. Below is the original text of the solicitation, and beneath that is my response.

Hello There.
    I was checking on craigslist and i came accross your post. I’m Aaron Wilson and My wife’s name is Emily Wilson. We are relocating to your neighbourhood from England. I recently got a contract with a company on a private research job with minimum of two years contract and possibility of extending the contract. However, I need someone who will help me to take care of the house by doing some house work while am off to work. Someone that will also help in running some errands or babysitting.

I will be offering you $500 weekly payment, i will be needing your services for 6 hours at any suitable time of yours, Tuesday and Saturday. If you believe you are fit for this position in as much you will prove yourself to be a reliable, responsible and good person, I have a financier that is based in the States and he will be handling the payment and some other expenses. I will instruct him to pay for the first two weeks before my arrival so as to secure your service.

My financier will be making out a check to you before our arrival, you will be receiving an overpayment bank check which you will deduct your pay for the first two weeks and you will be using the remaining to buy foodstuffs, art galley, home appliance and other things needed in the house. You will be getting this foodstuff on the day of our arrival which will be the 30th of Next month. Actually our flights from England will arrive at nights so you will be getting the foodstuff in the morning and making all other preparations.

I just bought the house and as soon as all the paper work is finalize and i will instruct my estate agent to mail the keys of the house to you so that you can do all other necessary preparations before we arrive, I will also email you the shopping list after you received and cashed the check okay..

You have to get all this shopping before our arrival so that we wont have to start running around when we arrive, So my financier would be needing the following Information to make out the check.

Full Name:
Full address with zipcode & Apt Number:
Age:
Gender:
Phone number:
Acceptance of offer:

All I need from you is total honesty and sincerity. I know you will be committed to the work, You will also have a nice period of time working with my wife. I will be waiting to hear from you.

Regards,
Aaron Wilson

Now, my response:

Hello, Aaron,

Thanks for your e-mail. I’ve got to admit, it was a little TL;DR (that means Too Long; Didn’t Read). Let me just make sure that I got the point.

1. You’re looking for a stranger to organize all your shit before you and your (possibly invalid) wife, Emily, relocate to a new ‘neighbourhood’ (nice touch with the spelling).
 
2. You want me to cash a stranger’s check (or cheque, if you prefer) and buy ‘food stuffs,’ ‘home appliance’ and an ‘art galley.’ Please clarify this last errand for me, as the internet tells me that a galley is “A low, flat ship with one or more sails and up to three banks of oars.” Does that mean that you want me to buy you a ship? My local Ship Mart only sells ships with four banks of oars. Ugh, America, amiright?! Let me know if this works for you.

3. You want me to send you all of the information you’d need to come to my actual house, put a chloroform rag over my mouth, and stuff me in the trunk (boot) of your car.

4. In the next breath, you say that all you need from me is total honesty and sincerity. Somehow, even though you have no idea who the hell I am, you know I will be committed to the work (namely, the preparation of foodstuff).

5. Please tell me more about this wife that I’ll be working alongside. Is she spooky? Does she have transparent skin? What about her fingernails – would you classify them more as talons? And her accent: would you say it’s more Northern or Southern? How does she pronounce the word ‘scam?’

Finally, you should know that I will only agree to this job if I get to wear a full Victorian maid’s uniform with a bustle.

Fingers crossed I get the job, guys!

On How Physical Therapy Builds Character

I’m just going to say it: I’m basically sedentary. Although I do walk a fair amount (what up, Manhattan!), I don’t go to the gym or do yoga, I don’t like “the outdoors,” and on my life resume, one of my most developed skills is reclining.

My knee doctor was the first person to expose me for the atrophied lump that I am. I’d been having excruciating knee pain for quite a while when I had my first appointment with him. As it turns out, I have a knee disease that normally affects men in their forties – a D’OH seems appropriate here – and I’m going to need an operation on my leg in the next few months.

To prepare for the surgery, I’ve been in physical therapy three times a week for the past two months. Some aspects of PT have been fabulous – my trainer, for example, is the man. Other aspects, though, have been kiiind of degrading. For example:

1. The center that I go to for Physical Therapy is located IN New York Sports Club. Not next to – IN. You have to walk past hoards of meathead finance bros and sporty former sorority chicks to get to the office. I HATE this walk, mostly because my luminous white sneakers and pendulous gut clearly demonstrate that I’m an ‘other’ amongst them.

2. The office itself is set up like this: you walk into a little waiting room with three chairs. Just beyond the waiting room is a larger room in which there are 5 or 6 cots that everyone can see all the time. There are private side rooms with curtains flanking this main room, but those cots, man, those cots – they’re right out in the open. The first time I ever went to PT, I was asked to sit in a chair that looked out on that room while I waited for my therapist to become available. There was a decrepit old woman on one of the cots; her cane was propped against the wall jauntily, her shoes were off, and she was laying perfectly still with her eyes closed and what appeared to be a blue airbag tightly wrapped around her upper body. When the receptionist asked me to sit there, I’m sure I said something like, “Oh, sure, no problem, my pleasure,” when on the inside I was thinking, “OMFG. What the hell am I looking at? Is this woman dead? How do we know that she didn’t just drop dead on the table? What if she’s dead? Jesus Christ. I want to go home.”

(Don’t worry, guys – she wasn’t dead.)

3. The actual physical therapy has been really beneficial as far as making me feel better, but some of the stretches and muscle exercises that I have to do during each session are totally mortifying. A few times, I’ve found myself laying on my back and having my thigh vigorously massaged by my male therapist to ‘move the fluid around.’ I asked him once if he ever thought he’d grow up to massage strangers’ thighs for a living, but he didn’t really laugh.

4. I wore the same pair of bike shorts to around 10 of my sessions because I hate wearing shorts more than anything and these were relatively long and stretchy and therefore more acceptable. Then, one day when I got home, I discovered that there was an ENORMOUS HOLE in the CROTCH of the SHORTS – like, so big that it had definitely been developing/growing for quite a while. Oh, the INDIGNITY! And the worst part is that I’ve had to go back to my trainer multiple times since I made this discovery.

5. Once, I was doing an exercise in which I wear a resistance band around my knees and walk sideways across the room. For the whole set, this mutant crone with a bad facelift who was sitting on a stationary bike wouldn’t stop STARING at me. I wanted to shuffle over to her and rip her little Versace baseball cap right off. There are few things more degrading than having someone watch you wheeze and schvitz your way through a very basic/easy exercise routine, especially when that someone looks like a bad guy from Scooby Doo and is wearing sunglasses inside a gym.

I’m sure more hilarity will ensue when I go under the knife – stay tuned for updates, and make sure to check the crotch of your gym shorts if you’re going to be doing the splits on a table in front of a room full of people.

A Little Chat About Jenny Craig

At the beginning of this summer, while I was down in DC visiting family, my aunt took a photograph of me and all of my cousins standing together. It should’ve been a beautiful shot; we had posed in her garden, the light was mid-afternoon light, and it was the first time we’d all been together as adults.

When I saw the photo on Facebook, though, I gasped audibly. We’ll put it this way: my first thought wasn’t, “Awesome, I totally had that whole ‘John Goodman-meets-Jiminy Glick’ thing going for me that day!” I was totally bummed that I had ruined what could have been a lovely memento by looking like I should’ve been wearing a burlap sack and ringing the village bell.

My aunt had joined Jenny Craig a few weeks earlier, and soon after I saw the photo, I went with her to one of her meetings and to pick up her week’s allotment of food. For those of you who haven’t been blessed with a hearty appetite for pie and/or Lady Television: Jenny Craig is a weight loss program on which you eat ONLY Jenny Craig food (and vegetables) until you’ve reached the halfway point to your goal weight.

At the Jenny center, two different women asked me if I needed help while I was waiting for my aunt. I figured this probably meant that the Eileen Fisher shmata I was wearing was not doing as great a job of concealing my girth as I had previously thought. Then I figured I should probably join Jenny Craig.

So I joined Jenny Craig. And lost all this weight. Just kidding! I paid hundreds of dollars to gain five pounds and get harangued about being fat for a month.

<Fin.>

A Little Morning Menacing

There’s nothing like witnessing a menacing during your morning commute. I had this pleasure a couple of hours ago on the last car of the 6 train. When I got onto the subway, I noticed that there was a morbidly obese, crazy-eyed man sitting across from me. I didn’t think much of him until he startled me by shouting, “BLOCKA BLOCKA!”  loudly and aggressively to no one. ‘Ok,’ I thought. ‘We’ve got a nut in Aisle 2. Duly noted.’ Then, much to my chagrin, he stood up, went over to a random businessman and threateningly got in the guy’s face like he wanted to fight. The businessman promptly fled to the other end of the car like a bat out of hell; I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone scamper so fast. I thought for a moment, decided it would be a shame to get shanked a month before my 25th birthday, and ran to another car as soon as we pulled into the next stop. As a native New Yorker, it takes a lot to freak me out – so congratulations, Nutty McScary Guy, on accomplishing the nearly impossible!

WTF are “The Hunger Games?”

Can someone please explain to me what exactly these “Hunger Games” I’m hearing so much about are? When I think of ‘hunger games,’ the only thing that comes to mind is when I pretend that I’m starving and haven’t eaten in a week right before I chow down on a whole Entenmann’s cake.