Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Propose in Seven Easy Steps

Remember when I said I wouldn't disappear for long stretches anymore? That was funny. Not as funny as this picture of a kitten eating a house plant. And no where near as funny as the fact that I've managed to bury the lede this deep, so here we go.

Brooke and I are engaged. To be married. To each other.

I'll give you a minute to let that sink in. I was shocked too. It was like when I was ten and I asked my mom if I could ride my bike to my friend's house which was like a mile and a half away. I had no idea how she'd react, and then when I finally got up the courage to ask she was like, "OK." When Brooke said yes, it was exactly like that, except fucking life changing.

So how'd I manage to lock down such a great girl? Was it bribery? Hypnotizing? An electronic fence? I guess it depends on whether you consider standing in front of the door while she's trying to leave "hypnotizing." Regardless, let's take a look at how I swung this one. Frankly, even I'm impressed.

Start a Blog. In my experience, this is the best way to meet a girl.1. When coming up with a name for your blog, go with something crap-based – something that says, "Don't worry about me maturing too fast!" And most importantly, write about your ex-girlfriend. In the parlance of dating experts, this "demonstrates value." Basically, you become more attractive because you demonstrate that you are capable of making a commitment and writing flattering things about The Devil Wears Prada.2.

Choose a Girl. Luckily, Brooke was the first of an inevitable cascade of tail to fall into my lap. The vetting process was easy, because it was all done via e-mail and scotch. Most importantly though, the month-long written courtship made me fall in love with what is on Brooke's inside before I fell in love with what is on her outside.

Now Wait. This part is key. Though from very early on you know you want to spend the rest of your life with her and that no girl as smart and pretty as Brooke has any right waiting around for anyone, let alone a guy who doesn't even use a Mac, just kind of wait. Move in together; move to another state together; raise a dog together – all the while biding your time. I know that this seems counter-intuitive. For the life of me I can't figure out why it worked. But you can't second-guess science!

Buy a Ring. Once you've decided to propose, you'll need a ring. You'll want to pick it out yourself, which is very cute and stupid. You'll need some sort of guidance. Gold or platinum? Round or square? Big or small? Contrary to The Real Housewives of Tucson, not every woman wants a huge diamond. Some just want a huge cock sense of humor. A few practical suggestions: 1) Don't make pretend you know what you're doing when looking at rings. You'll only look that much more ridiculous when you ask what cut and clarity a diamond is and the salesperson says, "That's an earring." 2) When asking about the ring's return policy, be sure to act kind of shy and nervous. Explain that you're not sure she will say yes because you haven't been the same since you got back from the war, but you're really hoping once she catches a glimpse of that sparkling ring she'll start taking your phone calls again. 3) Once you've purchased the ring, hide it somewhere she will never look, like inside your MacGyver DVD box set.3.

Make a Plan. First, acknowledge that this is your weakness. Do you know where to rent a helicopter? Do you know how to fly one? Then you probably shouldn't plan on proposing in a helicopter. Keep it simple. For example, if you are taking a trip to Los Angeles, plan on proposing there. It will be warm and relaxing and you'll definitely be having some cocktails which is very conducive to her saying yes. Of course, if a few weeks before the trip your girlfriend tells you a story about how her friend was just proposed to while on a vacation and your girlfriend says, "That's the worst. I would never want to be proposed to while out of town," then now is a good time to panic.

Pay Attention to Details. When you change your plan and settle on proposing to her the night before you leave for Los Angeles instead, be sure to double check the flight time on the ticket. It would be a huge mistake to spend the entire night drinking champagne and scotch only to realize at 2:00 a.m. that your flight doesn't leave at 12:30 p.m., rather it arrives at 12:30 p.m. Remember all the reasons you love your girlfriend when she comes stumbling out of the airport bathroom at 6:30 a.m. with a thumbs up saying, "Kept it down. No worries."

Enjoy. The important thing now is not to get ahead of yourself. Sure, there's a wedding to plan. Invites to send. Gifts to register for. Before you know it, Brooke will start shooting super children out of her uterus, who I hope will come out reading Hemmingway short stories and quoting Arrested Development. But for now you need to just enjoy the fact that a really hot girl just agreed to be your best friend forever, with benefits, and the dog comes too. All because three years ago you started a blog. That's pretty amazing.4.

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1. When I say "a" girl, I literally mean one girl. Brooke is the only one I've ever met from my blog. [redacted] cannot guarantee the quality of girl you may meet from your blog.
2. This was the first post of mine Brooke ever read. She says it's like only yesterday she was asking her co-workers if they thought I was gay.
3. Yes, you are marrying her despite her bad taste in fantastic action/alt-crime procedurals of the 1990's.
4. But not as amazing as this kitten eating a houseplant.

Friday, March 5, 2010

An Open Letter to My Pants

Dear Pants,

Hey, Pants. What's up? I think we need to talk about what happened yesterday. I know you have a lot going on, so I'll refresh your memory in case you've forgotten.

It was about 4:00 in the afternoon. I had just returned to the office after running an errand and Puppy was pretty happy to see me. He's like that. Sometimes when I take the trash out, I return to find him sitting by the door with his tail wagging like, "I missed you!" It's an ego boost, but also a little disconcerting because I imagine that this is what it will be like someday when my parents descend into the depths of dementia.

Anyway, Puppy was being all cute and playful, and when he picked up his toy I bent down to play tug-of-war with him. And, Pants, this is where you come in.

It sounded just like it does in the movies, which surprised me because nothing sounds just like it does in the movies. The first time I was punched I remember thinking "Ouch" and then "But that didn't sound like THWUMP?" But no, this was just like so many slapstick comedies I'd heard before – a slow, burning rip.

So there I am bending over playing with Puppy, ass seam undone, and for a second I am frozen in fear. Whoever said there is nothing to fear but fear itself clearly never ripped open their pants in an office with a 90% female population. It's pretty scary.

Clearly, you put me it a difficult position, Pants. I rose slowly, scuttled to my desk, and sat down. Then I tried to surreptitiously reach my hand under my butt to assess the damage. This proved tricky. Have I mentioned I work in an office full of women? Touching anything in the groin-ish area is really frowned upon. Being innocuous isn't an option; if you're not careful you could quickly be labeled The Guy Who Touches His Butt at His Desk. And everyone would come to know you by that because if you're not The Guy Who Steals Other People's Cereal or The Guy Who Wears Big Shirts, then you must be The Guy Who Touches His Butt at His Desk.

Just as I finished assessing the damage (assessment of underwear showing through gaping hole in my pants: not good), Brooke came over to my desk and asked if I'd join her in a meeting. "I can't," I replied, to which she replied, "Why?" to which I replied, "Um . . ." to which she replied, "I'll see you in the meeting." I'm not gonna lie – I blew that one.

So I put on a sweater and pulled it down low before going to the meeting. I sit down, and when anyone asks me to reach for something or pick up something from the floor I roll there in my chair. In fact, for the rest of the day I make rolling around in my chair an art. I do it with a blasé nonchalance, as though it truly is easier for me to roll my chair over to a co-worker's desk than to stand and walk there. This gets me through to the end of the day, at which point I put on my shoulder bag to cover my rear end, and make my exit.

Pants, this is unacceptable. You have two jobs: 1. Hide my junk, 2. Make me look stylish. And if you're only going to do 50% of your job, it should always be the half that includes hiding my junk. That is paramount. What's more, when I finally told Brooke what happened when we got home, she called me fat. "It's okay, Fat Ass," she said. "Maybe you're just retaining water." I'm not sure, but I think she was implying that I got my period. I hope you understand, Pants, why I can't open myself up to jokes about having my period. Brooke is a clever girl. Those opportunities won't slip by her.

So here I am at work today, and I think I managed to fool everyone – this time. I don't know how lucky I'll be if it happens again. And of course Brooke isn't letting it go so easily. When I reached for a cookie after dinner, she said, "Are you sure?" Just now, in fact, Brooke came over to my desk all serious-like and said, "I need to talk to you about something." Then she whispered in my ear, "You have a fat butt."

Next time do you fucking job, Pants.

Sincerely,
Dan

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Bachelor Season Finale Recap

Note from Brooke: "I refuse to participate because Jake's a tool."

Fair enough. Jake is, in fact, a tool. Perhaps the tooliest of tools. The monkey wrench, if you will. I imagine he's one of those guys who makes faces at himself while he's thinking, like if he's on line at the deli deliberating between turkey and ham, he'd be like, "Turkey is lower in fat. (Head nod.) But you just had chicken last night and they're practically the same thing. (Smirk.) I can't have ham without cheese (smirk), but I haven't been to the gym in three days so maybe I should lay off the Swiss (chuckle). A turkey wrap it is. (Big smile.)"

And I hate people who order wraps.

So that's where I am with Jake when the show starts. All the stock catch phrases are being bandied about: "One true love." "Hardest decision of my life." "Follow my heart." Jakes sums up the emotional voiceover by saying, "Love is what's making this so difficult." Yes, it's not the producers or the tiresome shooting schedule or the fact that the search for your soul mate has rules like, "Any girl who receives a rose while participating in a group date will be exempt from elimination at the weekly rose ceremony." Clearly it's the love.

Now it's time for both girls to meet Jake's family. Jake shows up at his parents' house wearing a really gay shirt, but it's OK because all three of his brothers got the memo and each wore their gay shirts, too. In a surprise twist, his mom and sister-in-law are wearing the same ugly outfit, perhaps trying to throw the contestants off their game. Sneaky.

Jake tells his family that he's fallen in love with both girls and knows all the things he likes about them, but he "needs a second set of eyes" Like he's working a missing persons case? He goes on to let it slip that Vienna was the girl that everyone else in the house hated. Mom's like, "Um, maybe there was a reason for that," and Jakes stops short of saying, "Um, but have you seen her jugs?" Regardless, Jake is emphatic that it is very important to him that his family like the girl he chooses because he plans on spending "the next 60 years of his life" with her. I'm not thrown at all by the prospect that Jake has planned out when he will die and/or get divorced.

First up is Tenley. Having not watched any of this season, this is the first time I'm meeting her, and I have to say my first impression is, I like her. She seems pretty and put together – a real crowd pleaser. The family thinks so too as they take to her like a Labrador puppy. They're all kind of playing it cool, but you can tell that deep down they want to react like when they MOVE THAT BUS on Extreme Makeover. At one point Jake's dad cries and Tenley touches his arm. I try to picture Brooke touching my dad's arm to console him if he was crying and I have to take a break and get some cereal because things just got weird. Tenley finishes up her family visit with a one-on-one with Mom in which Mom asks how Tenley would hold the family together after Mom dies. Mom's not fucking around.

Next up is Vienna, who looks like she has an STD. You just get that vibe from her. Maybe not that she has one right this second, but that she definitely has experience with them. Jake's mom senses this too and hates her right off the bat. Kudos to the show's producers who refuse to edit out the many awkward pauses in the family's conversation with Vienna, which seems to be centered around the fact that no one likes Vienna. At one point a sister-in-law asks Vienna if it's a common experience for her to not be liked by other girls. Hey, Sister-In-Law, Kate Gosselin called and she wants her first haircut back – with residuals.

Basically the whole visit is a train wreck. Mom is obsessed with Vienna getting along with the sister-in-laws like she's running some sort of day camp. The sisters are obsessed with pointing out that they loved Tenley, and that Vienna is the complete opposite of Tenley, so . . . And Jake is just like, "But the jugs!" In the end, the family comes around and says they managed to look past Vienna's STD exterior to see the real her, and that they guess she's OK, but you still get the feeling that for years to come the family's dinnertime conversation will include phrases like, "That human-rights activist seems nice, but she's no Tenley." (Cue dad crying.)

With family visits over, it's time to go to Saint Lucia, where you can save 60% on deluxe accommodations with the Red Rose Romance Package. Vienna goes first for the one-on-one date. Jake takes her to a sulphur spring, because nothing says romance like the smell of rotten eggs. Vienna, not one to mince words, is like, "Why are we at a rotten egg spring?" and Jake is like, "Mud wrestling!" The two proceed to smear mud all over each other – like a spa treatment, but whorier.

At the end of the date, Vienna gives Jake the promise ring that her Dad gave her. I'm not going to lie, I had to pause the show here to try to figure out what was happening. Apparently Vienna had been married before, and it so upset her dad that when Vienna got a divorce her dad gave her a promise ring. And now Vienna was giving that ring to Jake, which, technically speaking, endows him to Vienna's dad I think? In any event, her boobs are huge.

For the second one-on-one date, Jake takes Tenley snorkeling with dolphins (it's no sulfur spring) and everything's going swimmingly (nailed it!) until he basically tells her that he's not attracted to her. Whoops! He tries to backtrack, like, "That’s not what I mean though! What I meant is your breasts aren't big enough! I mean emotions! Connection! . . . Um, line!" Tenley handles the whole thing gracefully, and oddly this is the precise moment where I start to hate her. It starts as a twinge, and I'm like, "That's weird. She's so nice and pretty. Why would I hate her?" Then, back at the house, she very skillfully broaches the subject of Jake not finding her attractive in such a diplomatic, emotionally self-realized way that I'm taken aback. Just like there's no crying in baseball, there's no self-actualization in The Bachelor. And yet, my hatred grows. By the time she's done talking, it's a runaway train of abhorrence. I just can't control it.

So many questions going into the final rose ceremony! Is Tenley too uptight? Does the family's opinion really matter? Has Jake realized that his "special feeling" for Vienna is really just an erection? One thing's for sure – Jake is completely torn. At this point it seems like he might just choose them both and move to Utah. Personally, I can't make up my mind on which I like/dislike more. On the one hand, if you're going to find your wife on a reality TV show, shouldn't it be someone like Vienna? Like when you tell people you won her on a TV contest they'd be like, "I see that." And then there's Tenley. I feel really bad for hating Tenley. I've tried rationalizing it (the small mouth maybe?) but at the end of the day it's inexplicable, but very real. Even worse, that means Jake and I might be on the same page about something other than our abs

At the dramatic, M*A*S*H-like helicopter landing, the first girl to arrive is . . . Tenley! Which means he's not choosing her, and you can tell she kind of knows it. She has a dead woman walking face on. Just from the tone of Jake's voice she knows she's a goner. In his pre-dump speech, Jake uses words like "temperament" and "positivity" to describe what he likes about her. (Why not just call her fat?) Of course, she handles the whole thing with aplomb, making my rage grow. It's fascinating. By the time she tearfully whispers, "Thank you for making me feel special," I want to punch her in the throat.

Jake seems pretty broken up too, but judging from the angle of his leaning-over-the-banister-crying posture, he'll get over it – especially when he puts his penis in Vienna, which is all he's wanted all along. He may as well have gotten down on one knee and said, "Will you sleep with me?" Jake tries to make the whole thing more suspenseful by first giving the promise ring back to Vienna, making her think that he isn't going to propose, but then pulling a 180 and proposing, because it's a common dream amongst women to be proposed to via the old switcheroo.

More secrets are revealed in the After the Rose Ceremony when it is announced that Jake will be participating in the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. Somewhere backstage Tenley is like, "Good for him! I hope he wins and has a very happy life while learning to dance many different ballroom styles." I hate her so much.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Like a Collapsed Lung The Bachelor Season Finale is Impossible to Ignore

I've been pretty busy these past few months, so I haven't really had the opportunity to watch this season of The Bachelor. Although when I was ten years old and my mom gave birth to my little sister I made my aunt let me finish watching the last half hour of Star Trek IV* before going to visit them at the hospital, so I've never really let life changing events get in the way of my entertainment before.

I guess at the end of the day I just didn't want it enough. I tried, really. Brooke and I watched the first twenty minutes of the season premier, but as soon as all the girls were done exiting the limos with their boobs and daddy issues all hanging out, and Jake was like, "Gosh!" I automatically tuned out, because what it really boils down to is that I can't bring myself to root for a guy who says "gosh" unironically.

But then things got interesting. Some girl made out with a producer, which is a great testament not only to the quality of woman on the show (she's so open to the possibility of finding true love that she accidentally found it in a producer's pants) but also to Jake's irresistible magnetism, which is so strong that sometimes it goes full circle and actually pushes women away.

Then a different girl left the show in tears, choosing a job in ad sales at Facebook over Jake, but then wanted to come back because she realized the only thing more boring than Jake was a job in ad sales at Facebook.

And now it's down to two women who I know very little about except that Tenley must move around a lot because everyone calls her "the girl next door" and that Vienna posed topless with a Burberry scarf covering her chest for a pinup calendar for a company called C.O.D. Trees, Inc., which would be sexy if it wasn't so sad. I also learned that Ali and Jake had a secret reunion and it was Vienna's worst nightmare and that Jake refused to exercise the Bang Card with either of them out of respect. Respect for what, I'm not sure. Their sexual frustration, I guess? He really respects how sexually frustrated they are and doesn't want to do anything to upset that?

So now that the season finale is upon us, what am I supposed to do – just ignore it? Just pick up a copy of Great Expectations or a non-fiction work about the complex entanglement of American culture in a destabilizing global economy and sip my cup of Earl Grey like I'm too good for true love? Jake is going to propose to someone! And then cry! And it's all ON THE WINGS OF LOVE! Stock the mini fridge with insulin, it's gonna be sweet.

It won't be a live blog like last season, but I'll recap it tomorrow for everyone who either didn't watch or did watch but think that watching TV without reading someone else's commentary the following day is so 1992. For everyone who's all caught up on the season, feel free to fill me in on any details you think I should be aware of before tonight's finale.

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* And that was the one with the whales!