Monthly Archives: May 2011


There was a time when crushes were awesome and made every day worth getting up for. Then you got a life. Now crushes are more like benign tumours of the mind.

Think of all the weird stuff you do when you are bored. The Dennis the Menace in your brain commands you to jerk your leg up and down or dig your nails into your skin, just for something to do. Crushes are similar. They are how the sex part of your brain reacts to a lack of sex during daily activities that shouldn’t involve sex.

Crushes never lead to anything. Well, sometimes they do, but usually it sucks. I once had a huge crush on a guy. When he asked me out, I nearly died. Three months later we’d already stopped having sex and basically hated each other, but somehow it was hard to break up because I still wasn’t over the fact that someone I had a crush on liked me back.

That’s because crushes aren’t even based on anything. The fact that he’s cute makes you do all this bizarre footwork to justify the fact that he is borderline racist and has no sense of humour.

I know what you’re going to say: “well, at least having a crush makes life less boring.” Sure, but so does being an alcoholic or a workplace masturbator. That’s the kind of commitment crushes demand of you. It’s not like you just get a little tingle whenever you see them. The crush is running around the back of your head all the time, spraying silly string and blowing noisemakers.

Daily life is not supposed to be a roller coaster of intrigue. It’s supposed to be the time when you get work done and think about practical things like what’s on sale at the grocery store and where you’re going to be in five years.

Having a crush makes every day feel like a movie where a wacky cop is partnered with a serious cop.

Wacky cop is an asshole.


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Only children: the facts

Lots of people say things like, “I would never have just one kid. I could never do that to the kid.” Or, “I would never have just one kid. I don’t want to raise an only child.” They don’t think twice about saying these things, but I find them very hurtful.

I don’t actually. I just think they’re silly. People talk about only children as though being a little bit lonely is worse than, say, being molested by your older brother, or as though being a little bit self-absorbed is worse than, say, subjecting a younger sibling who trusts you to years of torment and cruelty. Only children are misunderstood, so I am going to explain us to you. And maybe that way you can avoid undue stress to your body.

Only children don’t like being alone. This is a common misconception: people figure that just because we were alone a lot as kids, we like it. The opposite is true. We don’t like it, we’re just better at it. Or we have no alternative because we suck at being with people.

Only children are indecisive. I didn’t even know this was an only child thing until a co-worker, who is engaged to an only, pointed it out to me. We never had to battle with siblings, so we are used to getting the things we want. But who knows what they want?

Only children are only half with you. The other half is trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Because we weren’t socialized the same way, we don’t have the same social instincts, and so more of it gets relegated to the intellect. That doesn’t mean we’re bad socializers, it just means we overthink everything.

Only children feel shitty about everything. Or we don’t feel shitty about anything. Everyone says that onlies are assholes, so we either become acutely aware of when we’re being assholes or we stop caring altogether.

Only children are ambitious. Another misconception about only children is that we’re entitled. We were entitled up to a certain point. Then we realized that the world wasn’t our parents, and that we would have to work really hard for its approval.

Only children maybe actually do like being alone. Lots of things you do really annoy us and we don’t know how to handle that. Given the choice we would always choose to be around you, the same way you always choose the things you couldn’t have as a kid, but deep down maybe we actually want to be alone. We can’t really decide.

A parent might read all this and decide that having an only child is irresponsible, but I think that’s a little bonkers. Parents should stop worrying about weird minutiae like whether their kids will one day have a hard time choosing a restaurant, and instead just try to be good parents.


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Close calls: dress-up

Whenever my best friend and I had sleepovers as kids, we’d dress up and take pictures of ourselves. She’d wear a flowery hat and pretend she was Blossom, or I’d put on a miniskirt and beret, hold a tie, and pretend I was Monica Lewinsky (not that I understood any of that tie stuff).

Once, in between shoots, I went to the bathroom. I was wearing underwear and a kimono, which I took off to go pee. As I was washing my hands, Mary burst in with the camera and took a picture. I screamed and shielded myself and she ran away cackling.

A month later, my parents called me into the living room for a talk. They had taken the photos to get developed and found a very disturbing shot of me with my hands up in a “no, no, stop” pose and a grimace on my face and my right nipple in full view.

“This is very serious,” my mom said. “They could have reported us.”

At the time I just laughed it off, but in hindsight that could have been pretty shitty for them.

Also in hindsight, I wonder why the photo lab didn’t report them. I would have.

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Being hot

I went through this phase about a year ago where I decided I wanted to try being hot. Hot, not just a babe (they are different things). I figured my face had probably gotten better since I started covering it up with glasses and hair, and I wanted the world to see it before it withered up. I think lots of girls go through this.

I got contact lenses and started wearing eye makeup. But I have no idea how to put on eye makeup, so I’d spend hours in the bathroom applying and reapplying liquid liner until I freaked out and smeared it all over my face, then broke down sobbing because God didn’t want me to be hot. Whenever I got it right I would take a million pictures of myself in Photobooth because it blew my mind that I could actually look like a hot girl.

I kept this up for a few months. It became quite stressful. Eventually I started to question the payoff. Foundation doesn’t really cover up oversize pores; it’s like spreading cream cheese on a crumpet. And if you have those weird cheek lines that dig in around your nose, like I do, nothing you can put on your face will fix them. The only thing that fixes them is pulling your face back, and eventually you will need to use your hands for something else.

Finally, whenever I met guys while I was all dolled up, I would question what sort of guys they were. I don’t want to date a guy who dates girls who wear makeup. I’ve thought similarly about getting a Brazilian. I kind of want one, but I don’t want to sleep with the kind of guy who would be into it.

At a certain point I realized that no amount of makeup could make my face look like a different face. Maybe surgery could, but I don’t have the money for that.

Anyway, my face is fine. I’ve had it for 25 years. Sometimes I get tired of looking at it, though.


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Glass half full songs

All day I think about how much I hate people. People who put their bags on the seat. People who walk too slowly on the sidewalk. People who talk too loudly on their cellphones. People who are crazy and won’t stop screeching. Canvassers.

But, really, I like people. Just the other week I was carrying a pizza in the rain and a guy offered to share his umbrella with me. Isn’t that sweet? I’m full of love for humanity, especially the humanity that behaves decently and doesn’t get all up in my face.

There are lots of songs that are good to hate humanity along to, but not a lot that are good for the opposite. Why are musicians so dour all the time? It doesn’t make the tunes any better.

To demonstrate, here are some good songs about liking people and the world.

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Being obsessed with your professor

I had lots of instructor crushes in university, but one stood out from all the rest. It wasn’t a crush for the sake of conversation with other female students, or a crush to make the lectures less boring. It was a smoldering, obsessive, weirdo crush.

This was only two years ago, but I wish it were five years ago, or ten years ago, or never, because I behaved a little bit looney tunes. I’d go to his office and sit there asking irrelevant questions for hours at a time, just so he’d talk to me. I watched this one Youtube clip of him over and over and then got worried that maybe somehow he could get into Youtube and see how many times I’d viewed it. In class I would strain to make eye contact, and I would go to his public lectures and do the same thing. I dunno, that’s something maybe a stalker would do. At the end of the year I asked if I could help him out with research. He said no.

What really made the whole thing creepy was the devotion. My motivation wasn’t sexual as much as it was supplicating: I thought he was the most brilliant person in the universe and I basically wanted him to climb into my head and think for me. He must have picked up on that, and, inasmuch as he had to deal with me, I imagine it made him pretty uncomfortable.

In my adult life, I have only ever felt that way about him. Normally I’m pretty guarded about looking up to people I know. I do, of course–and I acknowledge that there are tons of people worth looking up to–but I do so with the hope that one day we will become equals. Not so with this professor. Early on I abandoned all hope that I could ever muster a sentence worth his regard.

The lesson I learned is that deep down, everyone, no matter how headstrong, wants a guru, at least once in a while. You may not think you want a guru, but if a guru wandered into your life, you would definitely want him (or her). Whether or not he is aware of it, the guru sends you vibes that say, “Relax. Everything makes sense.”

We would all like to think of ourselves as critical thinkers, who don’t need God or whatever to sort out the world for us, but once in a while you gotta take a load off. If you’re secular, you might imbue a person with those sorting powers. I am lucky that my person was a normal person and thus probably not into being someone’s God.

It could have been a lot worse.

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Sex with friends

I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of my loss-of-virginity story. Here it is in a nutshell: I called a friend and proposed to him that we have sex. We had sex.

It was definitely anticlimactic, kind of like if I met Elton John and he was wearing wire rims and all we did was eat pizza. I wanted it to be anticlimactic. After years of thinking only about sex–after imagining eight ways from Sunday what it would actually feel like–I just wanted someone to put it in me for crying out loud. My friend kindly performed this service. Sure, it was awkward, but it was more of a funny awkward than a pathetic, flailing awkward that haunts you for years.

It was also the start of a good habit, which is having sex with friends.

I’m not going to talk a big game about how much I need sex. It’s not like if I don’t have it within a certain time frame I curl up into a ball and start convulsing. My vagina is not the Station 3 Computer on Lost. In the hierarchy of human needs, sex is well below air, drink, and food, and it’s probably below companionship. But it’s there somewhere.

Nobody needs to be in a relationship to have sex these days, but lots of people think you need to have an attraction. If I were attached to the idea of having sex with someone I was really attracted to, I probably wouldn’t have much sex. Attraction is rare. It takes a while to build up. Furthermore, attraction is incredibly stupid. The guy in your brain who controls it is some higher-up’s deadbeat son. You can be attracted to someone you can’t talk to and who ultimately sucks, just because of some weird thing they do with their hands. You can be attracted to someone who has had unprotected sex with 800 people.

But you know your friends’ sexual histories pretty well. You don’t feel gross afterward, because there isn’t that voice welling up from your biological core telling you you’re an idiot for swapping genes with this asshole. You don’t have to not call them the next day, and you don’t have to call them, either. The sex isn’t usually that passionate (although it can be really sweet), but passion is a real time suck, anyway. Sometimes sex is just a practical matter.

There is only one rule for sleeping with friends: you have to be sure that it could never work. And that should be a mantra: “It could never work.”

Make sure you shake on it.

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