Dinner For One

Valentine’s Day is this week. ARE YOU READY?

Someone said this to me today when I was picking up my kids from tennis. I smiled and nodded, and said “what about you?!”

In reality, I should have said “Dafuq? Ready for WHAT?”

Valentine’s Day, traditionally, is a huge disappointment for me. Most years, my husband is at work. Since he works nights, that means my idea of a sexy weeknight outfit is stained yoga pants and my MOM AF t-shirt with a gaping hole under the left armpit, and last week’s spilled rice still stuck to the chest.

There’s also the simple fact that I don’t particularly give a shit about commercial holidays, Valentine’s Day being one of them.

I guess my disappointment actually comes from the fact that I feel like I’m expected to care – a lot – about the vacuous, mundane celebration of love, when in actuality I just don’t. Sorry! I don’t.

I get weary of always feeling like I have to explain or answer to people just why I am the way I am, or of having to justify my feelings. I don’t owe anyone anything, including – and especially – an explanation of who I am. Yet still, I have an entire deck of excuse cards, always ready to pull out for why I don’t what others do.

And as with many commercialized holidays, there is also the obvious: why do I need a special day to remember or honor or celebrate something I should be doing *every day?*

[Cue the high horse.]

This isn’t to be confused with the celebration of Valentine’s Day with my kids. I am all over that shit. Any opportunity to use colloquialisms and special events to teach them how to show people that you love or care for them, I’m all for it.

What I do for Valentine’s Day with my kids is pretty basic, too. I buy a gift bag for each of them, and slowly – over the course of about a month – fill it with things I see while I’m out that make me think of them, know they’ll like, or that I think they need. When the bag is full, it gets topped off with tissue paper and, vóila.

Then, on Valentine’s Day, I make our meals V-Day themed. Because it’s fucking cute.

As the years go by, and my kids get older, though, they become less and less impressed with the commercialism of it as well. That, I believe, is in large part due to the fact that you can’t go anywhere without the holiday being shoved down your throat.

Honestly, CVS: I’m looking at you.

I’m trying to then gear it more towards teaching them to give gifts that have personal meaning. An old necklace I had to pass on, a card that’s just silly, or something I saw while out that was only $1 but made me think of them. Arguably the most commercial of all holidays, Valentine’s Day seems an opportune time to teach gift giving sans commercialism.

So when I first met my husband, it was just before Valentine’s Day, and I will never forget his rant about how much he loathed the material aspect of it all (ironic given my husband’s propensity to acquire stuff, but we’ll save that for another post)…

Being the late stage millennial hipster that I am, and not knowing how much of a hoarder of things he really was yet, I ate that shit up. Ate it with a spoon.

I, too, had a deep disdain for The Man, and all of the ceremonious, faux holidays that came with it! What a match we were – we had so much in common philosophically!

That year, on Valentine’s Day, we agreed that we would hang out anyway and not be – like – romantic. But we were planning to hang out anyway, and it just happened to be Valentine’s Day, and we had to eat so we should probably cook too. Definitely not a Valentine’s Day thing though because fuck The Man.

[Cue the second face.]

(A little side anecdote for you guys: having also had a conversation about how my unbeknownst husband-to-be had never had Macaroni and Cheese with BBQ sauce mixed into it before; I, trying to be coquettish, said “well I’ll just make it for you on Valentine’s Day then.” We did hang out that day and made mac and cheese. And if you guys really want to know how intolerable this whole thing became, when I showed up he said he thought it would be REALLY ARTISANAL if we added some red onion and FAKEN BACON, which he had pre chopped just assuming I would be fine with such a culinary abomination, quite obviously a portends to what was to come in our marriage no doubt. I know, you guys… I know…)

Anyway, so then we got married and suddenly it was like: okay yeah, but married people do Valentine’s Day, and they like it. So we thought: well, shit, if other people do it and like it, we probably should too.

The first year, we went on a fucking gondola ride in the swampy canals of Long Beach. Name me something more cliche to do on Valentine’s Day than that, I’ll wait…

[Cue the crickets.]

To this day, it remains to have been the most uncomfortable and awkward two hours of my life. I mean the boat was cool and all, but the guy doing the paddling sang while looking directly into our eyes, with a really weird I’m-borderline-sexual-about-this-song-and-paddling-gig, then turned and said he would “give us privacy.” All the while, dirt bags and homeless people were hanging out along the canal waterfront; one guy so drunk he repeatedly belched, seemingly in tune with our gondola guide’s song, which at that point had turned into something of a rhythmic, hip-thrusting chant. Towards the end, a lady and man in matching tight-fitting speedos and muscle shirts paddle-boarded past us, screaming at each other.

For years, we tried. Well, I tried. Or at least, tried to get on board. My husband always got home from work super late, pretending to be all stressed out because he got “stuck in traffic” (he had really just worked late like he always does). I would make a romantic meal, or I actually put on makeup for once, and then I would sit there – the doting wife – tapping my toe while I waited for him to get home.

It was so ridiculous.

One year we went out to a Japanese restaurant and I ordered this sautéed edamame dish that was so goddamned good I basically woofed it down like a pig with a feed bag on her face.

The next year, I saw a Groupon for a pearl necklace and was convinced that I needed those pearls. So my husband got them for me, but there was also a big Lakers game on that night so he threw them in my general direction as he made a beeline for the TV to turn on the game.

Then he started working overnights, and Valentine’s Day sort of just faded away.

I’m certain he has gotten me cards, either at CVS or one he printed off the Internet, typed message and all, since then. But every year it has been less and less of an effort. This year, I am firmly expecting not even an acknowledgment of the day.

To be honest, it has been a relief. That is, until I started feeling like people wanted an explanation as to why we didn’t celebrate as ostensively as possible.

The other day, we were celebrating my oldest daughter’s fifteenth birthday, and the topic of the swiftly approaching Valentine’s Day came up. Everyone was talking about their plans.

I was talking about my kids.

People were saying they had dinner reservations (for two), had special gifts coming in the mail, and my mother in law even said she and my father in law would be going on a boat cruise.

I said I would be making a cutesy dessert for my kids that night, and/or leaving them at home and making a dinner reservation for one since my husband will – obviously – be working. I was mostly joking; the truth was I would do the dessert and then binge watch You on Netflix (assuming I don’t finish the season beforehand).

In response, I got all these pity kind of faces. Like oh poor you, you’ll be so lonely, so sad, and so on.

Normally, I would start up my canned speech about how commercial and material Valentine’s Day is. I would blather on about the “why do I need a holiday to do what I already should be doing” sanctimonious speech I always give. And I would start up all the excuses I could fathom for why my husband and I ain’t doing shit at all.

This time, I didn’t go down that road, though. I just said: “I love myself enough to not need all of that.”

It cleared the room, and it’s true.

I don’t need my husband to buy me flowers (I buy them for myself), or candy (my tastes in candy change frequently, so it’s better that I pick out my own anyway). Cards are nice, but a couple of words in passing are just as good. I don’t need the fancy dinners and the boat rides and the romantic walks and the wine tasting limo rides to feel good about my place in my relationship and, more importantly, my life.

That may not be the case for everyone, but I think every relationship is different. For me and my husband’s, it works. And I’m done explaining it away because people just can’t accept that not everyone does what everyone else seems to do.

I’m perfectly happy and in love with my yoga pants and Mom AF t-shirt, stains and all. Don’t like it? Enjoy your gondola ride.


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6 Products I Would Make Sweet, Sweet Love To If They Were Men

I have no one to tell to shut the fuck up this week, for STFU Fridays that is. I mean I do, but I’m holding it off until later when perhaps certain factions of my personal life won’t take it so … personally.

539192_667233661783_1479698705_nIn the meantime I have come to realize my gross dependence on certain things. It isn’t until they are absent that you realize their importance, right? With all the back-and-forth of helping my dad after his hip surgery, and staying overnight at his house on an air mattress still, I keep finding myself without the products I have come to cherish most in my every day life. With distance the heart grows fonder, I believe is the saying. Well my heart has grown so fond for some of my most-loved products that I realize that were they men, I would cheat on Poor Nick in a heart beat with them by making sweet, sweet love – rolling around naked in the sand and shit.

Here they are, in no particular order:

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#1 Chapstick

The hottest thing ever would be if my husband came home dressed as a tube of Chapstick.

I am so addicted to Chapstick it probably isn’t even funny. But it is, at least to me. I don’t mean that lip balm shit. I don’t mean my lip gloss, that makes me feel pretty and keeps me sane. I mean Chapstick brand chapstick. The plain kind. When I’ve gone for hours – dare I suggest, days – without it, I’ll pucker my lips and put about 200 layers on. Woo! Feels good.

When I was little I used to eat it. Seriously, friends would call and say “whatcha doin’ H-diddy?” and I’d respond “aw nothin’ … just eatin’ some chapstick.” True story.

#2 My Rabbit … electric wine bottle opener

17306_668965236693_191781481_nThis whole helping with the hip surgery post-op is destroying my growing sense of wine-a-hol-ism. I’m hardly drinking at all – which you’d think is a good thing, although wine is actually really good for you in moderation, and I’m a terrible bitch ball of stress and hostility without the sweet, grape nectar calming me down.

And since I’m such a lightweight generally speaking, this means I’ve really gone to near-nothing on the scale of wine drinking.

One of the reasons I’m not drinking that much is because all we’re doing is sitting around, waiting for my dad’s hip to heal. That’s not really an occasion to have a glass, or eight. Another is that sometimes we’re just too busy going to physical therapy appointments.

The third is that I keep forgetting my Rabbit at home.

#3 Aveeno body lotion

Holy balls of sweet, sweet love-filled moisturizer, I have dry skin. I don’t *really* have dry skin, though – I have eczema from my horrible allergies that are just totally out of control.

Regardless of the terrible suffering I go through when my skin feels like ants are crawling all over it, I keep forgetting my Aveeno. Or rather I forget to slather on a thick layer of it when I go home to shower. It’s really becoming a problem, and has made me realize how much I depend on my body lotion.

#4 My Vizio SmartTV

529084_667811573643_771661551_nAt home we have a Vizio SmartTV.

It’s really great – I have no idea how we survived without it. Now that we are stuck with my dad’s beat up old tube set for our TV viewing pleasure, the experience is just … lacking. We have to watch Netflix movies on my computer. The resolution on the TV is such that my husband has to wear his glasses. I have to listen to my Pandora on my iPad or iPhone, instead of the television’s surround sound.

I know what you’re all thinking. If I were to attach hashtags to this one, I’d include #firstworldproblems #whitegirlproblems #spoiledbitchshutthefuckupjustbegladyouhaveaTV

I still miss it.

#5 Febreeze

I bought something like nine bottles of fucking Febreeze for my dad’s house last month and every single one of them appears to have disappeared. Or he used them all; I’m not sure.

I just know that there are smells all over the place bothering me. Pookies spilled milk on the carpet and it smells a little spoiled, in spite of how hard I scrubbed. My dad’s spending tons of time sitting on the chair, and showering less – leaving the chair a little … rank.

I just want to find my Febreeze and spray everything and everyone the fuck down.

#6 My Le Creuset Bakeware

If Le Creuset were a French man, I would swoon over him at first site. I would secretly meet him, while Poor Nick was at work. I would wear a scarf over my head and sunglasses. When we finally met – somewhere on the beach, where I would have stripped down to my unshaven pits in the spirit of the French women that do not shave, I would speak to him in my broken fragments of Frenglish left over from graduate school. I would baste him, swath him, kneed him. I would make the most sweetest of love to him, and my husband would never know.

Cooking without my Le Creuset bakeware is like frying an egg on my bare hands. It’s horrible. No one should have to endure such suffering. I realize now that the prying and the incessant suggestive selling of the salewomen at the Le Creuset outlet was really for my own good. They weren’t trying to make a profit by trying to manipulate my kid into getting me to buy special kid-friendly cupcake tins – they were looking out for my best interest.

I miss you Chapstick, Rabbit, Aveeno, Vizio, and Febreeze. But Le Creuset … I long for you.

Do you have products you just cannot live without, faithful blog followers? Are they as obsessive as mine? Or do you have a handle on things? Just when I thought I was the most immaterial person I know, this happens. Now I’ve become a product of my generation. Dependent on my things, and not looking back.

Waltz of the Big Booty Bitches

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So on Saturday evening we were celebrating my birthday, a little early. I turn 31 on April 15th, but my dad is having hip replacement surgery next Friday and I’ll be spending most of April taking care of him. All we have is each other here, so we celebrated with a little Game Night with cake this past weekend. There were maybe 15 people there, including my mom.

I was walking into the kitchen to get myself a drink and my mom walked over to me.

Trailer Trash Mom:

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“So how much weight have you lost?”

Me:

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“I don’t know, mom … I don’t believe in using scales.”

Trailer Trash Mom:

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“Oh, well aren’t you just better than the rest of us big girls…”

First, thank you mom for implying that I am one of you “big girls.” And, to further imply that you think I used to be grossly overweight. To be fair, I weigh considerably less than my mother does. I may not be model-stick-thin, but I’m certainly no candidate for an obesity weight study either. My mom is a big booty bitch, and not in the way I’d use it as a term of endearment like with most girls deserved of the title. A Big Booty Bitch could be someone heavier; someone with just a big booty; or someone stick thin with a big heart. By contrast, my mom is overweight, like most mothers. She’s had periods where she was a lot heavier; and periods where she was a lot thinner. Like most women. She’s never been into dieting or exercising, though, so I’m not too sure why she gives so much of a shit about scales and weight tracking. Unless, of course, it’s just a facade to put people down and make herself feel better about her own physical appearance. I assume this is the case.

I didn’t give it too much of a thought until I read this article an HuffPost’s Facebook page today. It was about a poll they had done, inquiring whether or not weight gain was a justifiable excuse to divorce or commit adultery. I won’t go into the details of the article – you can gladly read it yourself if you are interested; I will not even respond to the opinion of the author (who I largely agreed with, actually).

I want to talk about the fact that we – as a culture – are even doing polls and having conversations about this.

Big Booty Bitches Respect the Sanctity of Marriage

(Not Physical Appearance)

One thing the article discussed was the double standard. If a man packs on pounds – for whatever reason – a woman should understand, and try to inspire him to get healthier. If a woman becomes a Big Booty Bitch from a weight perspective, we start discussing whether or not a man should feel justified to cheat on her, or divorce her big booty butt.

Perhaps the reason why we don’t even suggest this when a man’s previously firm areas begin to jiggle is because the Big Booty Bitches respect the sanctity of marriage, rather than a person’s physical appearance. I mean, I would never consider cheating on my husband because he packed on a few pounds. I further would probably only talk to him about it if it became a health concern; and even then, I would try to influence him with the meals I cook and the actions I, myself, take, rather than inflict the emotional harm that a conversation beginning with “hey, you’re kind of becoming a fat fuck…” can cause.

Because of the sanctity of marriage, it doesn’t even enter my mind to consider that it might be justifiable to even discuss options like divorce or cheating. Your vows say “…for better, or for worse…” for a reason.

Big Booty Bitches Are Faithful

(In Ways Other Than Staying Faithful)

Faithful is more than just not cheating. It’s not considering leaving or straying when the going gets tough.

To suggest that we should consider the acceptability (or lack thereof) for divorce or cheating because a person gains weight implies a lot. One is that all people who rapidly gain weight are doing so because they are lazy shits that do nothing but watch TV. This is just not the case – there can be many, many health reasons (physical, medicinal, and mental) why people put on weight. Two is that if a person’s physical appearance changes in any way, that now we should talk about whether or not it’s OK to abandon ship. This would be to say that if a man gets ball cancer, and a woman thinks a man with only one ball is unattractive sexually, she would be justified in divorcing him. Big Booty Bitches would never consider this, though, because sexuality and physical appearance is about a microcosm of what makes up a marriage and a happy life together.

As was the case with the “…for better, or for worse…” there was also a vow “…in sickness, and in health…”

Big Booty Bitches Do Not Find Divorce or Infidelity an Option

(On Most Matters)

When I walked down the aisle, I didn’t think to myself “well, I can always get divorced.” When my husband started acting like a jerk to me because he wanted me to give up my Ph.D. program, and stay in California, I didn’t say to myself “I’ll just go fuck someone else.” That isn’t the way marriage works.

If every time something didn’t go our way, we ran out and screwed our milk man or filed for divorce, we’d have a high divorce rate in this country. Oh wait, we do. Is it because things genuinely don’t work out? Or is it because people consider divorce and infidelity an option from the get go? While there are many instances in which a couple truly tries and tries, or one person has issues that make trying an impossibility, and it doesn’t work; there are also so many people in this country right now who will abandon ship for any old reason. I know a lot of them.

For myself, I don’t believe that divorce is an option, nor infidelity. Maybe it’s the Catholic in me, that has some backwards religious views engrained into my soul. Or maybe it’s because I take a commitment seriously, and don’t just bail when the going gets tough.

I took my vows seriously, and the fact that our culture has become so superficial and material so as to even enter into this discussion about weight gain sickens me to my very core. It makes me want to spew vomit everywhere, and on everyone. Marriage and relationships are about so much more than sex and being perfect for each other. In fact, I always thought they were about the ability to be imperfect and still be loved. What a crazy world we live in where this no longer seems to be the case.