Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Champagne of Life

So obviously I've been in blogging hibernation. Nothing like seeking full-time employment, which I prefer to unemployed, to provide you with some extra motivation to brave blogging vulnerability.

My fiance Ed and I like to joke that we’re trying to cram as many life changing moments as we possibly can into 2013. A former coworker said the only two we’re missing are a baby and a divorce…we’re trying to avoid both. A year ago from today, I was embarking upon my fifth year with my previous employer, allowing myself to fall in love, attempting to cook for one in a 760 sq ft apartment (thank goodness I enjoyed leftovers), paying off credit card bills full of bridesmaid and auntie expenses, and, less notably, eking through awkward moments with friends. 

I should make it known that I was very much enjoying myself every step of the way because to obtain life’s ultimate blessings you usually have to endure some type of awkwardness or discomfort or at least that’s my take.

Fast forward to now and my typical day is characterized by the lack of having typical daily activities. Sure there are common themes such as the job search, wedding planning, real estate, etc. but no daily routine. Weird? Yes. Humbling? Yes. Thought provocative? Yes. Scary? Not so much. Why? Because I'm about to marry my best friend and start a new life in Greenville, SC...a life that is ours. 

Sure I've had my issues of surrendering my independence and cutting the cord with my Raleigh life but change can be exciting, especially, when you have a cohort to experience all of the changes with. No doubt there are growing pains such as selecting Miller High Life Light as opposed to a craft brew at the mini-mart down the street (no alcohol is not an option), meeting new friends that aren't accustomed to your inappropriate remarks (not that all of my Raleigh friends ever fell into this one category), relearning the art of crafting a unique cover letter (no smart ass remark here, don’t want to hurt my chances of becoming employed), thinking for two instead of one (this is a good thing, just challenging for my stubborn ass), and many others too boring to mention.

But within those growing pains there are apparent signs of maturity. Where you might ask? Well for one, selecting Miller High Life Light instead of the real deal after learning my lesson freshman year in college. And I wondered why I was just being asked to fraternity formals by guys with “Fat” as their name prefix. Secondly, recognizing that compromise is a sure sign of a healthy relationship instead of always getting your way (although I’m sure someone in particular is going to disagree with this statement). And with maturity comes the willingness to pursue opportunities that will ultimately make you happy. 

To me, there are no setbacks in life (speaking in employment terms) as long as you view each step/growing pain as a learning opportunity. I mean some are going to suck…by no means is Miller High Life “The Champagne of Beer”. Well…depending upon your point of comparison it may be, but regardless of your alcohol palate, there’s no generally accepted step-by-step protocol to life. However, there is a generally accepted ultimate goal to life and that’s HAPPINESS “The Champagne of Life”!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Age...Simply A Number

So my apologies for my much delayed, updated blog entry. The past few weekends have been booked with social obligations that have made me feel very much like a 27-year-old. To me 27 is an unsettling age. And I know those from parents’ generation are going to laugh at this but everything is relative to whatever stage of life you’re in. As silly as it sounds I feel once you turn 27 the countdown to the dreaded 30 begins, but why do people treat 30 like it’s a death sentence? Or any other age for that matter?

The social obligations began when I was asked to speak at my alma mater, Presbyterian College, for a senior event as an alumnus. Whenever I’m fortunate enough to visit PC nowadays I act as if I have a free pass to revert back to my college days as sketchy Megs. By sketchy I mean stealing an extra cordon bleu at the ZTA formal…nothing more. During my brief speech I encouraged the seniors, whom I was extremely jealous of, to support PC financially and what better way to encourage them to do so but to promise to buy them a beer at El Jalisco, which is lovingly referred to as El Jal, but only if they’re generous with their parents’ money. As soon as I sat down at El Jal my good, waiter friend Omar plopped down a big Dos Equis and said, “Nice to have you back Megan, I started a tab for you.” An obvious sign that I spent way too much of my parents’ money on Mexican beer and tortillas during my senior year in college. Keep in mind I’ve now been out of college longer than I was an actual student at PC…weird!

Before you know it I’m a few beers deep, I’m taking tequila shots with my little brother’s college friends and I’m making a late night appearance at the back of the Pike fraternity house before I call it quits. I didn’t think much of it until I returned that following weekend for the women’s soccer alumni game. First of all, we got our asses kicked in the actual game but it wasn’t until I was playing drinking games, completely different playing rules from when I was in college by the way, with some of the current players at the townhouses that I had a “Holy shit, where’s the Tylenol?!” moment. A random senior across from me was like, “Hey! Didn’t you speak at our event on Wednesday night?” I simply responded with, “Yes ma’am!” I was expecting her to maybe follow-up with a question about my job or where I’m now living but instead it was a blunt, “So, how old are you?” I just smirked and said matter-of-factly, “27.” I guess in her own complimentary way she lengthened the conversation by exclaiming, “That’s awesome! Now I know when I’m that old it’s ok to come back to PC and drink!” I just laughed and to further prove her point I decided to venture out to the fraternity houses and play Flip Cup like a champ.

I spent the following week hydrating and making early bedtimes to prepare for a wedding of one my best friends from college. I’m all for weddings! I mean who doesn’t like getting together with all of your best friends, dressing up, dancing to kick ass wedding bands, taking advantage of free food and alcohol, and all in all just having a damn good time? Well those people do exist I just ignore their existence. Anyways, the bride has always been my partner-in-crime. So in my toast I reflected upon the weddings we’ve been in together, road trips, last calls, SEC football games, bachelorette parties, concerts, and even more weddings. And there we were the night before her wedding and I have the Match.com app on my iPhone. And I thought to myself as well as out loud, “My, my, my...how things have changed!”

But the weekend continued and it was the same ole shenanigans: the cops paid a visit to the hotel Friday night, mimosas flowed more freely than water, alcohol infused whipped cream made an appearance, weird ritual dances such as the hot tub and spin the bottle overtook the dance floor, oyster shots led to scandalous behavior, Sunday brunch was hard to stomach for a few and I could go on and on. Granted, yes we all have careers to return to on Monday and yes one of the bridesmaids is pregnant, but what’s wrong with letting loose and partying like it’s 1999? In other words, I hope I never grow up in terms of losing my inner kid. I used to poke fun at my parents when they would say things like, “It seems like yesterday you were in diapers,” but here I am visiting my alma mater saying things like, “Oh my goodness it feels like yesterday I was living in the B1 townhouse,” to kids 7 years younger than myself. But there’s nothing wrong with that, right? So my goal is to always embrace my age while at the same time my inner kid because no one likes a boring adult with a stick up her ass…

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Social Media Filter

We obviously live in an age where people are constantly tweeting their random thoughts and/or updating their facebook status every fifteen minutes. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE fan but the book can make you privy to things that you would rather be kept in the dark about and can also reveal compromising things about yourself to the masses not because of your own stupidity (well in some cases...yeah) but because of the indiscretion of facebook assholes. All I can say is that I’m extremely relieved that facebook only caught a very small glimpse of my college days!

I was in Florence, Italy during my semester abroad when my college friends kept talking about this facebook phenomenon. They described it by saying, “It’s like college but online where you create a personal profile, ask people to be your friend via email, upload pictures, etc.” My response, “That sounds gay (Footnote: I’m accepting of all people I’m just trying to be as historically accurate as possible).” I thought to myself why do I need to ask my already friends to be my friends online…some dork must have thought of this. Obviously, I don’t have the vision of Mark Zuckerberg nor the billions.

Of course it wasn’t long until I created my own profile once I returned home from Italy. My friends gave me hell for being such a hater and then becoming addicted like any facebook newbie. I was amazed at how many people came out of the woodworks. If facebook had a running online dialogue it would go something along the lines of, “Hey, will you be my facebook friend since we went to the same elementary school although I can’t recall ever speaking to you, not even in passing, but I would really appreciate it if you confirmed my friend request because as a 27 year old adult I find self-worth in the number of facebook friends I have.” Or “I know when we met last night at the bar we were both extremely intoxicated and exchanged only a couple of sentences before proceeding to make out in front of all of our friends but if you accept my friend request then we can pretend that we are indeed friends although it took me hours to find you because I only knew your first name and where you went to undergrad.”

The book has legitimized online stalking. For instance, if a friend is interested in setting me up with someone you’re damn right I’m going to go straight to the book to see if there’s any potential in this “blind” date. In all instances I’ve referenced thus far, the book has proven to be an irreplaceable online resource. Now time to bitch…the only problem I have with the social media phenomenon is the lack of a filter the majority of Twitter and facebook users possess. For instance, I could give a shit whether or not you’re at your local Harris Teeter buying eggs or the fact that you ate Fruity Pebbles this morning for breakfast. Because of this annoying habit thank goodness the creators of facebook have given us the option of hiding the posts of those that think their life is way more interesting than it actually is. There’s a huge difference in posting, “My grandmother just ate a blue paintball because she thought it was a blueberry,” than, “I’m folding laundry.” I encourage everyone to learn the distinction between the two and incorporate the distinction into your daily social media usage.

Unfortunately, it’s true what they say – a few bad apples can spoil a bunch – and in this case these bad apples are referred to as facebook assholes. What gives these people the right to post humiliating and at times incriminating pictures of anyone but his or herself? Whatever their reason it’s not cool! For instance, I attended a bachelorette party in Atlanta and we had to play this ridiculous game where we were blindfolded and had to wear pantyhose around our waist and put, of all things, a freaking hotdog in the pantyhose. Now I know what you’re thinking, “What on earth was the point of this game?!” The hostess placed a vase in the middle of the room and each girl had to attempt to find the vase blindfolded and squat to get the hotdog in the vase. Now besides the fact that I hope I never have to direct a wiener in between my legs ever again in my life, this, obviously, is not facebook material. But, unfortunately, other party attendants did not share this same perspective. I could site numerous examples of this, whether I’m referring to pictures and posts of people passed out at PC fraternity court, afterbirth on your newborn, inappropriate engagement photos that give us an unwanted glimpse inside the couples’ bedroom (please see example above), constant fluctuating relationship statuses, dirty bedroom banter and inside jokes, and I could go on and on. Regardless of the instance or age of the facebook user, use some discretion folks!

Facebook is a tool that allows us to keep up with each other’s lives without having to pick up the phone because let’s be honest I only have the numbers of a very small percentage of my facebook friends. But who even has the time to make those calls and/or the desire. Despite the fact that facebook has made high school reunions predictable, it’s amazing how many conversations begin with, “Oh my God did you see on facebook where…” That said, keep rocking your facebook and Twitter accounts but my hope is that one day the majority of users won’t post inappropriate and useless photos and comments because one day our children will have accounts of their own and our college friends will seek employment. Until now and next Saturday, I’ll be a hypocrite and post this blog to my facebook wall made visible to my 1,375 facebook friends…

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ass-Out Hugs

FYI I'm going to attempt to update my blog with a weekly post every Saturday - wish me luck and smooth sailing :). Before you enter the realm of my second post I would like to introduce my topic with a clip from "Wedding Crashers"...

Title: Forced, Awkward, Intimate Situations People like to Call Dating - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tgS1n7DQbY

The point behind blogging is to put it ALL out there, correct? After moving from Atlanta to Raleigh I made myself the promise that I would try online dating, and Match.com has never been the same since. Note: I did not take advantage of this online resource in Atlanta because I like my men in any footwear besides Nike Air Force Ones and men who avoid night spots such as the Velvet Room frequented by the likes of Ludacris and P Diddy or whatever the hell he’s calling himself these days.

Back to online dating…people tend to be real discreet about it or downright dishonest but I think this is horse shit. I’m disinterested in someone the moment he asks, “So…how do I tell my friends we met?” If you’re going to take the leap of creating an online dating profile of yourself you have to own it – no ifs, ands or buts about it. Maybe I own it too much but I’m confident in the fact that whoever has the opportunity to go out on date with me, regardless of whether or not it started on the internet, is a damn lucky guy. Why else would you create an online profile browsed by hundreds of singles in your area?

While hundreds of singles do indeed partake in online dating, there are plenty of Match.com peeps that post pictures that seem to have been taken a decade ago. So when you meet them out, you’re still looking over his shoulders thinking to yourself, “Where is he?”, when the next thing you know the person right in front of you says, “Hi, my name is…”, and then you proceed to bullshit by saying, “Oh gosh! How did I miss you, you were right there in front of me!” When in all actuality you’re thinking, “Holy shit! You look nothing like your pictures,” which you would obviously never say out loud because you have to endure at least another hour with this guy who, unlike the guy in the picture – the guy that you agreed to go on a date with, is bald and a plus twenty lbs. I have no idea why these people post misleading pictures to begin with. The whole point behind online dating is to eventually date people, in-person, so sooner or later he or she is going to figure out that you’re not the weight listed on your driver’s license. My advice, avoid the awkwardness and be real and upfront!

Another perk about owning the fact that you’re partaking in online dating is the hilarious, crazy ass stories that come out of first date scenarios. Stories that I gladly share with family, friends, coworkers, etc. (Hopefully, my first date count won’t dramatically drop after this post). Unlike agreeing to go out on a first date with someone that you’ve at last spent some time around, a first date with someone you’ve only emailed back and forth with can turn left quickly.

For instance, I was on a first date with what seemed to be like a nice, normal guy at this great sushi restaurant. Everything was going smoothly until our waitress brought our check. A girl always dreads this part of the date anyways because you don’t want to offend the guy by offering and sending the message – well, you obviously don’t make enough to pick up the tab for two - or by not offering and sending the message – listen here, wining and dining is what I expect from here on out. While I debated which message to send, he fumbled around under the table with what sounded like coupons, so of course I offered to pay my half because in my mind I thought, “Wow, this guy has been clipping coupons on the weekends in order to make this happen!” But to my surprise he muttered, “Nah, I got it,” but continued to fumble with God knows what.

All of a sudden he looked up and exclaimed, “Crap! I forgot to put my rattlesnake eggs in the refrigerator.” I smiled and nodded in hopes of disguising my inner dialogue of, “Great Megan, you would pick the one whack job that breeds rattlesnakes in his freaking basement!” After composing myself I responded with, “Rattlesnakes, huh?” He got this spark in his eye and handed over the table an envelope with a printed image of a snake. “You should really take a look they’re much smaller than what you would think.” I bit my tongue and held back what I really wanted to say - “Well Mr. Bill Nye, I’ve never spent much time debating how big rattlesnake eggs are.”

The well-mannered lady that I am (just go with me on this one), responded with, “No thank you, I’m not big on snakes.” To my dismay, freak show across the table insisted, so in order to get to my car much sooner than planned and get the hell out of there, I nervously took the envelope and peered in with one eye closed and at a safe distance from the soon to be live rattlesnakes. Before I could process what was happening I heard this rattling sound and all of a sudden a very loud POP! I screamed and jumped out of my seat. By the time I was able to calm down I looked up to see half the restaurant staring at me with an amused look. The “gentleman” across the table from me was laughing his ass off saying he had purchased this prank at the airport and repeatedly asking “Isn’t it great?!”

Fast forward to the end of the date, he didn’t even get an ass-out hug from me but instead a firm handshake right before I got in my car and drove off before any mention of a dreaded second date occurred. I immediately called my mom on the ride home to tell her this ridiculous story. As soon as she was able to stop laughing she gave me some spot-on advice which she usually does more times than less: “Meg, at least you’re out there dating and meeting new guys. That’s how you find the right one.”

Unfortunately, dating is a lost art when it comes to our generation. I mean we practically invented the concept of “group dating” and in college we were more likely to spend the night with the opposite sex than to be seen grabbing lunch together in broad daylight. The bottom line is the only way we’re going to figure out for sure what qualities we want in a partner is through trial and error, with errors outnumbering successes by a landslide. So until I find that guy that puts up with my stubbornness, independence to a fault, inability to keep my phone charged and my family that’s tuned into every detail of my life, I’ll keep subjecting myself to bad but hilarious first dates in order to get to the good one. Between now and then, I’ll be content with having better stories than your latest mastered casserole…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day...FML

We are now a safe two days past one of the most dreaded holidays our country celebrates...Valentine's Day. This holiday simply gets worse as we age. If you ask me we had it right in elementary school - everyone gets tons of cards and candy. Which is why I bought Toy Story Valentine's Day cards with Reese's cups for all of my coworkers this year - most of whom are married and gave me strange looks but oh well the more the merrier and I was trying to prove a point.

The only thing I stressed over as a youngster about the holiday was giving a boy in my class a Valentine that would send the wrong message. In other words, I made sure my Valentine to him did not include the words "like" or definitely not "love". For instance, if I had to send him one from the Toy Story allotment I would choose the Sheriff Andy Valentine's Day card that reads "You have a date with Justice" because it's completely safe and asexual. In elementary school we simply got sugar comatose together and our parents had to put up with us for the remainder of their romantic holiday.

And then puberty hits and it's 7 minutes in heaven, candy grams, stiff arm slow dances and stuffed teddy bears. Valentine's Day in middle school was a competition to see which girl received the most candy grams. And the girl who received the most never ate them because if she did she would have never received the most to begin with - waste of good chocolate if you ask me. The one year I did have a middle school boyfriend his grandmother forgot to deliver the white roses on Valentine's Day so she brought me the brown ones instead the next day...surprise! It's the thought that counts :).

I know I sound like a bitter bitch but I can't remember ever loathing Valentine's Day in high school or any other time in my life. In high school it just presented awkwardness. The Valentine's Day dance was the one dance that everyone over-analyzed. For instance, if you asked a friend one of the two would ask oneself does he or she have feelings for me and just hasn't said anything? Which I don't blame anyone for thinking because this holiday is notorious for convincing people that they have feelings for someone when they actually don't. I'm just glad I played sports in high school because this week was always filled with candy, chocolate and birthday cake.

Yes, that's right, my birthday is the day before Valentine's Day. And I know all of you are thinking..."Ah ha so she really is bitter!" The only thing I've been bitter about is receiving heart-shaped shit for birthday presents and the awful weather that usually accompanies the month of February. The one year I insisted on having an indoor pool party, despite the depressing weather, we had an ice storm which caused a power shortage and we had to use flashlights to use the restroom. Flash forward to my college years at PC and it was like the holiday never existed except when I was dating someone and he couldn't understand why I wanted to get freshman drunk with all of my friends on my birthday at the frats instead of eating a cookie bouquet and watching romantic comedies in the dorms.

Valentine's Day only becomes a problem when you're an adult and single. When people get awkward asking you what your Valentine's Day plans are because they're expecting an answer along the lines of the movie "Bridget Jones" - drinking red wine, crying in my pajamas, smoking cigs and listening/singing to Celine Dion "All By Myself" (great scene by the way). And if you respond with something along the lines of "I hate Valentine's Day" you're either a) a feminist with hairy armpits or b) a bitter, insecure, lonely hermit.

The point is even if I was in a relationship with someone I loved I would spend the holiday cooking dinner, drinking wine, listening to music, together at home. But I wouldn't do this just one day out of the year. I would tell him I loved him each and every day and spend as much quality time with him as I possibly could. To me love is as much a habit as it is a feeling and definitely not a spectacle which is sadly what Valentine's Day has become. Love is something we all need to incorporate into our daily routine and not just one day every 365 days.

The problem is not with Valentine's Day but with how our society views the holiday - a self-absorbed, commercialized day dreaded by most. If this holiday is about love then I have plenty of reasons to celebrate. Love for my parents, love for my brothers, love for my friends, love for my cousins, love for my aunts and uncles and I could go and on (notice I didn't say love for my cats, I draw the line somewhere). That said, I challenge all of us to celebrate Valentine's Day by telling the people in our lives how much we love them on this special day along with every other day, despite the fact that there's just one card for brothers in the Valentine's Day section at Hallmark...