Monday, July 26, 2010


Many moons ago I made a half-ass attempt at trying online dating. It lead to several AIM conversations with some of the guys I had messaged, 1 actual date and an over a year-old friendship with a chick who I met on the site, non-sexually. The guys seemed normal enough at first: talked about common interests, didn't ask me for nude pictures. So I agreed to meet up with one for dinner in the city. We had a good conversation at dinner and things appeared to be going well until we decided to grab drinks afterwards. As this guy started drinking more, he got progressively obnoxious. He worked at some big network Cable station in their web development/gaming dept. - so clearly was a big video game nerd. I told him that my dream job was to work in the PR/Marketing Dept. at Nintendo. Instead of being like, "Oh wow. That's awesome", my statement was instantly met with "Oh, well, Nintendo only hires within so you need to know someone in order to work there." Strike 1, guy. Just because they rejected your ass when you tried to apply there because you design flash games for a living doesn't mean that no one else can get a job there. Then, as the night was growing later, I had to get back to the train for my ridiculously long trip back to CT - and he knew this. Instead of hailing a cab, he insisted we walk all the way back to Grand Central.... from 9th ave. Strike 2.

Of course I missed my train. He had been persistently trying to convince me to go home with him at the bar, (to his parents house in upper Westchester, the completely wrong direction from my parents house, and on a work night no less.) so this was obviously some kind of plan of his to try and get me to come back with him. Sorry buddy, not happening. Once he realized that I wasn't going to play with his Wii, he went to go catch his train which was leaving in 10 minutes and left me there! My train only ran every hour and wasn't coming for another 40 minutes. Strike 3. Seriously dude? You wanted  to get in my pants so bad but you couldn't do me the courtesy of hanging out with me and entertaining me while I waited for my train after you made me miss one? Well, instead of looking like a bum curled up on the floor of GCT, I decided to take a local train that would eventually connect to my train in order to kill time. At least I could nap comfortably that way - and try to get as far away from any memory of that horrible date as quickly as possible.

Needless to say there was no second date. I blocked him on the dating site and blocked him on AIM.... only to have him IM me from a DIFFERENT SCREEN NAME! (Stalker much?) and ask me why I had blocked him. To which I didn't even respond. I became so frustrated by the failure of this date that I blocked the other guy from the dating site on AIM too - and he ALSO IMed me from a DIFFERENT SCREEN NAME! asking me why I had blocked him. (What is this, High school? I'm gonna go on another screen name to ask you why you blocked me? Is it really that serious?) So at that point I had had enough. I logged into the dating site, found the account settings function and clicked "Delete Account" faster than you could say Norman Bates.


Fast forward to now: I am trying to give this online dating site a second chance. Mostly as a social experiment and possibly fodder for my future PhD in the Social Psychology of Men. I really love the piss-poor attempts at communication that some of these guys give you on this site. Yes, let's not even use actual sentences or complete thoughts or even try to start a conversation with you. Let's cut to the "YO SHAWTY! I LOVE THEM LIPS GURL!" or "Wink! You have sexy eyes!" Do guys seriously think girls are going to respond to them? Or is that the point - to try and push people's buttons and send those same generic messages to as many "hot chicks" on the site as possible and see who takes the bait? I guess if I really wanted to take it further and instigate for scientific purposes, I could create a fake account and see what the responses are like then; But I really don't have the time or patience for that until I start writing my thesis.

For now though, I have had several normal conversations with a few somewhat attractive guys who seem to be genuinely interested in me. And I even have a date for Friday. Will round 2 of online dating go a lot better than round 1? I guess you guys will find out on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Graduating from College means having to admit it's time you're entering the "Real World". However, that also comes with a slew of Adult responsibilities - and getting a J.O.B. is one of them. (How else do you ever plan to pay off those student loans?) One in ten people might find a job that will actually turn into a steady paying career gig that they will stick with until retirement (or their mid-life crisis), but for the other nine of us, we are often forced to take whatever jobs we can get in order to pay our bills and rent. Yes, it might not be the best job in the world, but every two weeks you get a paycheck that you can then turn into actual money to use for goods and services, and that's not so bad now, is it?

Some people think they are too good to take certain types of jobs like being an assistant to an assistant of an assistant or what basically amounts to a glorified intern. They seem to think that just because they have a degree (much just like the 10,000 other people sending in resumes to the same postings on, that they should be getting that Project Manager or Assistant VP position fresh out of college, and start off making $60,000-$80,000 a year. Hate to break it to you, but you need to pay your dues and put in your time first to get to that top rung. It doesn't happen overnight. You don't just walk into a company and magically get a position at 25 that people who are 45 have been working their asses off their whole adult life to get into.

So now that you've got your paycheck money, you've paid your rent and whatever utilities you feel important (no one really needs hot water, right?), you've got a little extra cash to go out and cavort with other twenty-somethings and collectively bitch about the grunt work you're doing at your low-paying, headache-inducing, straight-outta-college job:

"I tried to go on Facebook and it was blocked!"
"I can't just wear jeans and a t-shirt?"
"My boss wanted me to go get her coffee. There's no Starbucks around - she expected me to actually MAKE it myself!"

Look, you're on the bottom rung of the ladder - deal with it. No one said life was going to be easy. Hey! You should be lucky you even have a job after graduation to begin with. I mean, yeah, everyone needs to chance to vent about things in their life frustrating them - but we all had to start somewhere. Whether it's making copies or fetching coffee, no one becomes a CEO overnight. And bringing that attitude to the office isn't going to make it any better. It will reflect in your work as you sit at your desk, bored, answering phones in a monotone fit for AM radio.

Show some enthusiasm & initiative: Don't just wait to be given work, ask and see what you can do. Once your supervisors and bosses see that you are actively taking an interest in your tasks at hand, perhaps you will be looked at for bigger projects and be given more responsibilities. (Now you can take a 45 minute lunch instead of a 30!) Then you'll get more wiggle room to get away with things like taking personal phone calls or twittering during office hours or coming in late and hung over on a Friday. Remember, this is your first job and it certainly won't be your last. You're going to want to stay on people's good sides in order to get good references and recommendations if and when you decide to leave your current job for something better suited to your needs. (And your checking account) 


If you haven't found your niche in the Corporate sphere, fret not! Try not to worry too much about the now and focus on the bigger picture: where you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years. Try to find a job that is at least related to the field that you are interested in and one that will have a lot of room for learning, growth and eventually promotion. If you can get your foot in the door (even if it is sitting behind a phone bank or pushing a mail cart), then that is the first step to eventually getting that Senior VP or Project Manager job. A lot of companies prefer to promote within before hiring from the outside, and if you already know the ropes, then your odds are a lot better than someone they're going to blindly pluck from a pile of resumes.

Your job is what you make of it and one day, your career will make you. Until then, that's what happy hour is for.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Biggu Dikku, or My first and only Host Club adventure

If you're at all familiar with Japan's nightlife industry, then you're already aware of the abundance of Hostess bars/clubs that run rampant throughout all parts of the country. And if you're especially familiar with Tokyo's Red Light District, Kabuki-Cho, then you're also aware about the rising trend in Host Clubs. Similar to Hostess clubs, but instead, Guys with over-bleached and highly teased hair, pressed suits and pointy shoes cater to the fantasies of young girls, pouring their drinks, lighting their cigarettes, feigning interest and spewing forced compliments in order to make them feel like Princesses. (And to get them to spend money, of course.) 

My friends, "Malessa" and "Keira Knightly" (names changed for obvious embarrassment coverage reasons) and I decided when I came to visit that we would go see what all this Host Club fuss was all about. We had already picked up a magazine at the bookstore detailing the hottest and best Host Clubs and checked out which ones had the "Hottest Guys". After shopping all day and getting ourselves all dolled up for the evening, we headed over to Kabuki-cho to try and stake out a club with the best First-timer deal. (Most clubs have All you can drink specials for 2 hours for anywhere between ¥3000 and ¥5000) We instant ran across a large gaggle of Hosts in their pretty suits with their perfect hair readying to hand out flyers to girls passing by, but alas, we were overlooked: The perils of being a Gaijin (Foreigner). Since Foreigners are seen as being "dangerous" (plus the problems of the language barrier), we knew it might be hard to find a place to let us in. (Even though my friends were both fairly skilled in Japanese) 

As we got further and further away from the big bright lights and pretty boys into the deep, seedy, smelly underbelly of Kabuki-cho, we were about ready to give up and turn back when from out of the shadows we heard a "Hey! You!". ENGLISH!? Could it be!? And so we turned around and were met with a portly looking Yakuza wannabe guy holding flyers. He said one thing and one thing only as he handed us the flyer with the special: "I have Biggu Dikku". We exchanged nervous giggles and checked it out:the special was ¥500/hr - all you can drink. Sure! Sounded great to us! If all else failed, at least we could get drunk for cheap. So the Manager came out to greet us and ushered us downstairs and inside to the club. We gave our coats to the attendant and were lead to a table.

Wow. That's all I could say. This place was like, the dumpiest version of a host club ever. It was fairly small and everything was covered in pink drapery; There were a few fake cherry blossom trees in the corners and white Christmas lights were hung all around the room for "ambiance". Soon our hosts arrived. I sat in the middle so that my friends could speak with the hosts and translate for me. We were given a bottle of Green Sho-chu (Japanese Whiskey; Well, Korean if you want to get technical) and asked to select a beverage to drink with it. I went with Cola. Our hosts daintily placed coasters with the club's name, CLUB HERO, emblazoned on them in front of each of us. Then they produced small glasses for each of us and a bucket of ice and filled each of our glasses accordingly. Then they produced a set of glasses for themselves and politely asked if it was alright if they had drinks as well. (They have to ask your permission first.) 

We had one attractive host, one semi-attractive host and one host that was ugly as sin. But they all had one thing in common: they were dumb as bricks. As they asked us questions about what we were doing in Japan, where we were from, etc., we were asked such gems as "What language do they speak in England?" (Keira told them she was British) and "Do they have cell phones in America?" We also went around and said what celebrity we thought we looked like: The hot one said Johnny Depp; The Fuggo one answered 'Bart Simpson'. It was pretty accurate - he was tan and had a squished nose, spiky hair and very gaped teeth. We then asked if we could switch guys and were given a menu (or Man-u, if you will. Har Har) to look at. We selected some good looking prospects and Bart Simpson was sent away.... But so was Johnny Depp! WHAT? NO! We didn't want to get rid of the good looking one! Another semi -attractive guy came and a guy who referred to himself as Jack Black. To which, somewhat already intoxicated Keira said "OH HELL NO! SWITCH!" And we were brought another guy in his place. At that point we just didn't even care anymore and were just drinking for the sake of making the whole experience less painful. By the time our 2 hours were up, we had killed 2 big bottles of Sho-chu. 

But we didn't want the night to end yet! It was still early! So Malessa suggested we go to the Host Club she had went to the week before, which just so happened to be the #2 Host Club in all of Kabuki-cho. She was worried she wouldn't get the first time discount because she had just been there and, as much as Foreigners 'all look the same' to the Japanese - her blond & black streaked hair and big boobs pretty much singled her out. Luckily she worked it out with the Manager and it was like "Oh yes, this is your first time right? wink wink nudge nudge" The club was also very busy so they could only give us 1 or 2 hosts at a time, which was fine by us. Malessa found the host she was flirting with the week before and went to work her magic in trying to get him into bed. The hosts at this club were slightly better looking than the dumpy club and just as dumb. They also kept saying they had "Biggu Pen-Is" (Is constantly reciting this phrase supposed to entice girls?) 

We ordered some more Sho-chu and Orange juice, but then our hosts got called away when some chick at the table across from us bought a bottle of champagne. Traditionally at host clubs, when a girl buys a bottle of champagne (which generally runs about ¥30,000), all the hosts in the club come over to her table and do a "Champagne Call" where they pop the bottle and serenade her with their special Host club song. Well, Keira and I were getting pissed! There was no one there to make us feel special and pour our drinks. So we decided to pretend we were hosts and pour our own. "Where from!? Where from!?", we imitated as we sloppily overpoured and proceeded to forget the rest of the events of the evening entirely. The last thing I remember was eating the fake rock chocolate on the table and letting a host in a v-neck and a blazer touch my boob because I said, "It's ok - I know you don't have them here". Keira apparently flashed the entire club and was talking to girls at random tables and got yelled at by the manager. 

Keira and I woke up still drunk/horribly hungover the next morning after apparently suffering through a cab ride that involved us stopping to puke multiple times and ended with me being chased by the taxi driver with napkins as I struggled to maintain my modesty to puke on the sidewalk while my pants were hanging halfway down, exposing my pale white Gaijin ass to the Tokyo streets.

Oh Kabuki-cho. You make glorious memories! 

Monday, July 12, 2010

When I Grow Up

When you're a kid and Adults ask you what you wanna be when you grow up, it's so easy to have a quick answer: Astronaut, Teacher, Model, Doctor, Lawyer, Basketball Player. But when you finally get to be an Adult, sometimes you find yourself struggling to find the answer to that same question. Now that you're finally "grown up", aren't you supposed to be something already? If you're lucky, you went to College and got a (potentially useful) Bachelor's degree. If you're even luckier, you got a Master's degree too. And if you're like me and you have both, you're trying to figure out what you do with them instead of mounting them on your wall to collect dust.

In Elementary school, I said I wanted to be Veterinarian.

In Middle School, Fashion Designer.

In High School, a Writer.

I always knew I liked to write. My dad encouraged me; He praised stories I showed him and told me I was going to be a great writer one day. (To my Dad, the sun shines out of my ass, so he's gonna love anything I show him.) My mom "encouraged" me by shoving Reader's Digest and other magazine essay contest clip outs at me and told me to submit my work. (Even though she could never pry herself away from the TV long enough to read anything I wrote and/or even give me half-way decent feed back on any of my writing.) I applied to English/Creative Writing programs at 3 schools in Boston. I wasn't interested in going anywhere else and do anything else: I started my senior year dead set on becoming a writer in Boston one day.

Half way through the school year, however, I was taking a Forensic Science course. (And no, I didn't jump on the CSI: bandwagon; CSI: actually just came out that year and my teacher was so excited to be able to incorporate episodes of the show into our lesson plans.) I became really fascinated by Forensics and thought maybe I would like to try and go to College to do all the crime scene investigation stuff too. There were very few colleges offering the program at the time though and my options were between Pace University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. But since I'd already applied and been accepted to schools in Boston, I'd have to wait it out. I did eventually transfer after 2 years (to John Jay instead of Pace which I am still kind of mad at my parents over) and it turned out, there was just too much science and math involved for me to succeed in it as I had hoped. Science & Math had never been my strong suits. (They say those that are good at Writing and other Liberal Arts disciplines are usually weak in the other 2 areas, and vice versa.)

So it was back to English for me. I had too many credits to transfer to my new/third/final college's Creative Writing program (now even more pissed, Mom and Dad!) so I completed my studies as a Literature major. Great. A Bachelor of Arts in Literature. There's something thats sure to put a roof over my head one day! Well, that degree combined with the amazing internship at my first college's (which I chose because of their superb Co-op education program that was supposed to help people find internships in their fields) Registrar's Office, helped me land a job in..... another Registrar's Office! And that was useful enough to help me get my Masters degree for free. So now I had a Master of Science in... Communication Arts?... which consisted of some Communications, Marketing, PR and Advertising courses - but certainly not enough experience to go out and get a job in any of those fields. I suppose I could have just tried to fake it until I made it, but with the economy in the Shitter and the fact that most Marketing jobs either wanted 5+ years of experience or straight Interns, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Which brings me to where I am now: Working in my third Registrar's Office, a safety net in an economy where jobs are harder to get than Crocodile Birkin bags, with absolutely no solid plans for my future. I had tossed out all kinds of potential possibilities for myself: Get some kind of marketing job that allows for great advancement and a six figure paycheck, become a Celebrity publicist (Lindsay Lohan, when you get out of jail, call me!), start a blog that's going to make me rich and famous (hint hint!), write a Great American Chick Lit Novel, earn an MA in TESOL and go teach English overseas, go back to school and get a PhD in Social Psychology where I research the behavioral patterns of Boys & Men and one day write a book to help Women figure out the male species once and for all and hence, make lots of money.

What I actually am doing: Sitting in my pajamas on a Monday night writing a blog post about how I don't know what I want to do, where I want to go, who I want to be, or what the fuck I'm doing with my life,.


In the infamous words of Meredith Grey, "We're Adults - When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?" 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Once in a Lifetime

“You never know the biggest day of your life is the biggest day. Not until it’s happening. You don’t recognize the biggest day of your life, not until you’re right in the middle of it...” - Grey's Anatomy

July 10, 2009. In the middle of Grand Central Terminal, 2:30 PM. One moment changed my entire life.

We had been talking for months; All the private messages on internet forums, IM conversations, emails, Skype webchats, phone calls - they had all been leading up to this. Finally, we were meeting for the first time. Nervous, I had been lingering in GCT for about an hour & 1/2 because his flight had been delayed. But he was here now, just stepped off the subway, and was somewhere in this building waiting just for me. I rolled my big purple suitcase, full of entirely way too much stuff for a 3 & 1/2 day weekend, up the ramp from the lower level to where the subways let off on the 42nd & Park ave side. I saw him first, standing there in his polyester pants and a light blue shirt, cell phone pressed to his ear with me on the other end. I said "I see you. You're wearing a hat". A straw trilby. He turned his head and saw me approaching, and his eyes lit up with delight - like when a kid unwraps that present they were hoping for on Christmas or their birthday.

I strolled right up to him and said hi and then let him follow me as I made my way through the crowds of tourists on the street towards our hotel, my giant purple oddity trailing behind. He told me I was shorter than he had expected. I told him good, I like being tiny. He made fun of my excessive amount of luggage. I told him I dress according to mood. We found our hotel and waited to check in while making fun of the German tourists in front of us. Elevator up to our room and well, here we are. This was it. The moment I'd been waiting for, so why was I so nervous? Because it was finally real?

I explored the crevices of the room like a curious cat: Ooh! Bath & Body works products in the bathroom! What a large shower! Comfy bed! Spacious closet! Wonderful view of the brick building across the way - If I stand right here, I can ALMOST see something important. And he cornered me by the window and very coyly asked me to show him where. I pointed my finger against the glass into the distance and he put his hand on my hip, coming in close and I could smell him now. He leaned in to kiss me and I put my hand on his chest for the embrace and it was like magic. As soon as his lips touched mine, all the nervousness melted away. And in that one single moment, that one kiss changed everything.

The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind romantic adventure: We shared some Neapolitan pizza in the West Village, saw some junk (literally, a bunch of garbage that had been collected in China) at the MoMa, drunkenly walked the streets of NYC at 3 am, cured our hangovers over avocado eggs benedict and omelettes, bought bananas at a street fair, went to a Japanese market over in Jersey and tried to drink sake on the sly (note: do not eat a banana with one cup sake in the hopes that it will make it taste any better. Totally makes it even more nasty), met up with another bunch of weirdos from the internet and ate, drank, and sang karaoke until we exploded, more hangover curing with H & H bagels and a morning walk along the Hudson, adventures with dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History, strolled through Central Park, made faces at animals in the zoo, and then had a very romantic dinner with some delicious Vietnamese food followed by drinks at a sake bar.

There were lots of hand holds, smiles, hugs, laughter and forehead kisses. (There were also some very lovely, intimate moments in there that I will not reveal - and a very hilarious incident which resulted in lots of laughter and almost a bit of temporary blindness.) 

And on that last morning, we got chocolate croissants and coffee, packed up our stuff, made one more trip downtown for pizza and found ourselves right back where we'd started: Grand Central Terminal and my giant purple suitcase, saying our goodbyes. We kissed and I boarded my train with dry eyes - but once I hit the bridge that connects Harlem and the Bronx, I found myself brushing away a few light tears. I was on the verge of falling in love after a mere 72 hours.

It was the most amazing weekend I'd had in a long time with one of the most amazing people I'd met in my entire life. And it was only just the beginning....

Friday, July 9, 2010


When you are growing up, society basically ingrains into your head that one day, you will grow up and get married and have a house with a white picket fence and 2.5 children and live the perfect American life. Well, what if you grow up and you realize that you don't like kids and don't want anything to do with them? People call you selfish (like a former co-worker of mine with 3 kids), tell you that you will feel differently when you get older (like my Gynocologist), that you'll eventually come around and change your mind because "children are a blessing".

To me, this is all bullshit. And so, I consider myself Childfree.

Having worked at a day camp for about 6 years in my late teens/early 20s, that was plenty of time for me to figure out that I really did not like children. I thought that maybe I would feel differently if they were my own children. But as the years passed, I have never found myself in any way, shape, or form, being interested in going into full-blown "Mommy Mode". Maybe it is because my own mother was not exactly the loving, caring, June Cleaver-type that you see on TV. We never had special moments where we bonded and had girl talk, did each other's hair and nails and talked about boys. My mother has never once inquired into my love life (or my life in general, actually). Has this lack of affection from a female figure in my life rubbed off on me and impacted the way I view motherhood? Possibly. But the fact still remains: I really can't stand kids. Pregnancy freaks me out. Pregnant women gross me out. Throwing up, gaining weight, weird cravings, pushing a baby out of your VAGINA: The whole experience is just not glamorous in anyway in my eyes.

Besides, isn't the world overpopulated enough as it is? Who says you need to shit one out of your Vag-hole in order to be a happy parent? There are plenty of kids in foster homes that need loving parents. And since apparently our Government likes to make the adoption process as difficult and costly as possible for those who are barren or homosexual; Yet unfit parents (Read: Crackheads, Hicks, Teenagers, etc) can pop out kids left and right and abuse them, abuse the welfare system, throw their kids in the trash or drown them in bathtubs. But nooooooo! Everyone wants their own perfect little bundle of joy made of their own DNA that looks just like them and they can mold into a miniature, god-awful version of themselves. Honestly, bringing more kids into a world where resources are rapidly becoming scarce (not to mention the horrible economy) - that to me is more selfish than not wanting kids, period.

Kids are annoying, smelly, frustrating, exasperating creatures. They cause their parents immense mental stress and cost a lot of money. You are expected to cater to this child's every want and desire from birth until - well, legally until they are 18 years old, but honestly, how many of you can say that you haven't had your parents stick their neck out for you (and their wallet) regardless of how old you are now? (I am raising my own hand, don't be embarrassed to raise your own.) They want the newest toys when they are kids, video games and clothes when they are pre-teens, cars when they are in high school and, of course, let's not forget about four years of College.

In all those 18+ years, you still have to bring that child up to have good morals and values, to respect people, to act appropriately, to strive for success - everything that you feel you have achieved in your youth development, and you try to project onto your offspring. However, society tries to throw a monkey wrench into that well-oiled machine. You barely have enough time to worry about your own life and you have to worry about the lives of your children as well. You have to worry about what your child is doing when you are not around, who they are hanging out with, what their influenced by, what they're watching, eating, listening to, who their friends are, who is teasing them at school, what their grades are like, if they're *gasp* sexually active! If that's not stressful, I don't know what is.

Maybe I am afraid of a lot of what goes into parenting. Maybe I am afraid that I will fail. Maybe I'm afraid my child will be born with a birth defect or be teased by their peers for not being "cool" enough. How are you supposed to explain to  your child why people are so mean? Why people kill each other? Why war exists? Why people hate each other because of their race, religion or sexual orientation? How do you protect them without keeping them in a bubble? You want them to be just as self-aware as street-smart, so that they are not taken advantage of or pushed around. You want to be able to do everything for them, even though at some point they need to learn how to do things on their own. I am afraid that I won't be able to handle it. That I will fail my child in some way as a parent. Children need their parents to be advocates for them because they cannot stand up for themselves. They do not know right from wrong unless you teach them. I don't know if I have what it takes to be able to stick my neck out for someone else if I already have trouble doing it for myself sometimes at 26 years old.

Honestly, I am content with life as it is. I like the idea of having my freedom; of not getting fat with a child inside me and pushing it out of a very tiny area; of having weekends where I can go out and about and not worry about finding a sitter; of taking vacations without forcing my children on my parents or in-laws for a week. Of spending lots of money on myself instead of on clothes that are just going to wind up in Goodwill in a few months and toys that will get quickly broken or go unplayed with. I am not saying I hate kids. But I would guesstimate that only about 2 out of 15 kids make me smile instead of making me disgusted. I wouldn't mind hanging out with some or watching someone else's for a while, just so long as at the end of the day I can hand the kid back to their parents and go "I believe this belongs to you - Have fun!" (Especially if that kid is barfing, shitting or crying.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Three years ago from this week, I took my first overseas trip to Japan. July 5-17th. And despite my socially inept traveling partner, I had a pretty amazing time. I remember waking up early on July 4th morning for our car service to JFK airport and surprisingly got there with more than enough time to spare thanks to an amazing limo driver who completely said "Fuck You" to the security checkpoint traffic and took the service road straight in to the International departures terminal. (We tipped him an extra $20) Of course, that meant we now had 2 & 1/2 hrs to wait before boarding out 14 hour flight.

Touching down in Narita Airport was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. From what I could see from my middle seat, it was a far cry from the airport surroundings in America. Fields stretching for miles and nothing but mountains and green. The humidity was palpable the second we entered the terminal. A quick pass through customs, a stop at the cell phone rental place and two Airport bus tickets purchased to our home away from home for the next 2 weeks: Excel Hotel Tokyu Akasaka. An hour and a half on the highway, just taking everything in as the scenery rushed by.

And with Japanese flags waving high atop flag poles and buildings, it finally hit me that this was real and we were here. Japan - a place I had been dreaming about visiting for so many years; Plans had always been tossed around with friends to come here and never materialized into anything solid, so that year, tax refund check in hand, I decided it was time to stop waiting.

Our hotel was gorgeous and located in a great area. The staff was friendly and patient despite the language barrier. Our room was smaller than expected, but such is Japan. It was July, rainy season in Japan, something I hadn't factored in when booking the trip but we would make the most of it. With guidebook, 2 ¥1000  umbrellas and itinerary in hand, we set out to conquer the city... right after we conquered a shower and some jet lag.

This is how the first morning went: Oh hey, the sun's up - it must be pretty late, let's get a move on. WAIT - is this clock broken? 5 AM!? WTF!

The sun caused us to be out and about especially early most days, which I'm sure made us look like a bunch of crazy Gaijin walking the streets at 730 am while the rest of Japan is still preparing for their morning commutes. A street map of the various popular neighborhoods obtained in our hotel's lobby certainly made navigating the confusing and sometimes unnamed streets much more seamless. Our first stop was Roppongi, a nice 15 minute or so walk from our hotel, where we ventured to the top of the Mori tower and the Tokyo City View: a 360 degree view of the entire city, which was at least someone visible despite the thick haze hanging in the air.

The rest of our trip involved lots of walking, my ex complaining about sweaty balls, him taking numerous amounts of pictures of "JDM" cars (it's Japan, every car is JDM), watching my ex play video games in Akihabara after I'd exhausted my luck on all the dream catchers (with a pretty impressive amount of prizes at least), eating McDonald's or Japanese fast food because my ex has the palate of a 6 year old and passing out in our hotel around 6 PM each night due to a mix of jet lag and heat induced sleep comas. Luckily, I had found a guy on a car website to act as a guide/buffer for my ex's car obsession for some of the time, so that was able to keep him entertained and then he painstakingly let me subject him to a few museums and other cultural exhibits.

I just remember being so in awe of everything around me, of this big city with so many people and so much to see. Finding myself fascinated by the numerous vending machines, the efficiency of the transit system, the cleanliness of the streets, the hospitality of the citizens. I remember I saved every little scrap of paper, magazine, napkin I came across - saved everything all up to keep all these memories with me forever. Walking the streets alone at night around my hotel and the only thing I feared was the giant waterbug I almost stepped on. (Although I was harassed by a Nigerian in Akiba and found myself having to hide in an Anime shop to get away from him as he kept trying to pull my arm and talk to me, despite my pretending not to speak English and slapping his hand away from me.) It was just like this giant playground waiting for me to come explore everything.

From Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge and watching Harry Potter in a Japanese movie theater to shopping in Shibuya 109 to experiencing my first aftershock from an Earthquake - followed by experiencing a Typhoon - to the Imperial Palace, Harajuku, Shibuya crossing, Ikebukuro, Ueno Park, the Yamanote line, to crazy foods and products, drunk salarymen getting on their knees begging us for train fare (or sleeping on the stoop when they missed last train), pigeon toed gyaru girls, guys with bleached hair, hello kitty everything, perfectly presented food, endless neon, cutesy characters on everything from garbage cans to toilets, prostitute brochures disguised as manga comics stuck to lightposts, temples, more combinis than you can shake a stick at, schoolgirls, beautiful old architecture, six story sex shops, cosplayers, seeing other white people and realizing they don't speak English, helpful police officers and cops on motorcycles that look like Power Rangers, Engrish and the obsession with American culture, taxi cabs with automatic doors - and expensive fares, fake food displays in front of restaurants, no tipping, polite bowing, ridiculous amounts of coins given as change, cheap electronics, girls in maid outfits, pastries shaped like animals, ninja magic shows...

Tokyo, I fell in love with you on first glance.

This trip was my first taste of Japan: there was still so much I wanted to do and see. I was thirsty for more. I vowed to come back... and I did, 3 years later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Heat Wave

I burnt myself out on horribly tragic dating stories last week, so it was no surprise that the person who single handedly ruined my entire life and was the catalyst to those series of unfortunate events, called me Friday night. Twice.


Backstory: My ex and I met in December 2004, dated for 2 weeks, broke up because he needed "time to handle some 'things'", were friends for a month & a half after that. I gave up on the friends thing and separated myself from the situation entire for 3 months until he called me one night to hang out after work - which led to a hookup - which led to almost 3 years of one of the biggest headaches I've ever had in my entire life. From him dating me and another girl at the same time, to him taking me to his dead mother's grave, to moving in together, to almost having to move out, and a vacation 9000 miles from home - to say that our relationship was a roller coaster ride would be the understatement of the century.

He abused me mentally and emotionally, sometimes physically (not in the sense that he would hit me, but he would use excessive force with me and his temper certainly made him break his fair share of objects in our house & put holes in the walls), kept me prisoner in my own home on several occasions, stole excessive amounts of money from me, treated me like shit, got me fired from a job, threatened my family, alienated me from my friends and basically made me feel live in fear on a daily basis to the point where I felt like he would do some seriously fucked up shit if I tried to leave. He broke up with me while we were still living together & told me that our situation was purely a "business arrangement"; I slept on the couch for those last 2 months.

I dreaded going home every day and would breathe the biggest sighs of relief if he wasn't home when I got there. Then my heart would tremble when I would hear his keys in the door. Nothing I ever did was right. He wanted things done his way or the highway, or he would take it out on me and my AMEX. He bankrupted me more than just financially; he bankrupted me emotionally as well.

If he hadn't gotten fired from his job in November 2007 where his boss was our landlord and we had to move out, I am not sure where I would be right now. God clearly heard me crying myself to sleep every night and my constant pleas to find a way out and how I wanted to die, how I just wanted to find a way to get away from him, as I would drive aimlessly around as my ex called my phone non-stop and left angry voicemails asking where the fuck I was.

I made excuses for him constantly. As obnoxious as he was in the presence of my friends and his friends and pretty much all of man kind in general, I played it off as him just having a big personality: Loud and raucous, intimidating, confrontational. For the longest time, I thought that I could change him. If I just tried to do things his way, to appease him, give him whatever he wanted, hence, the thousands of dollars run up on my credit cards - along with his empty promises that he would pay every penny he 'borrowed' back; I paid for everything in our apartment: food, laptop, car insurances - was even so much of the wads of cash stashed in his shoeboxes ever offered to me to help defer the costs? I don't even know how I was able to pay all those bills and $450/month rent on my measly $800 biweekly paycheck and no financial support from him? I tried to be sexier, cater to him more and every one of my sexual advances was shot down. He didn't have sex with me for 5 months because he told me he was punishing me for not listening to him. And after all that, I still took him on a trip with me to Japan. (Guess who paid for all that too?)

Obviously I'm not placing all the blame on him for putting me in dire straits. Clearly, it was my own fault for thinking that I could make someone love me that truly never did. That I could buy his affection, change his mind, be the perfect boyfriend that I wanted him to be - that he very rarely showed that he could be if he really tried. I let him take advantage of me and never knew when or how to say stop. I know that sounds really bad - here I am, a victim of domestic violence and I'm playing the "He beats me because he loves Me" card. I try to tell myself that it's really not my fault...


I have fought hard to start over, to start this new life as this new person and I take it day by day. It has taken me a long time to overcome everything that I went through in that relationship, to get control over all those feelings of hatred, toward him and towards myself, and to get control of the pain in my heart. I iced myself off to everyone for the longest time and I still have an extreme lack of trust when it comes to relationships, even though I am certain I will never meet anyone who will hurt me like that again or who is as big of a piece of shit as he is. I am making strides every day to be better, stronger and I have tried not to look back.

Every time he has tried to contact me over the past 3 years though, it gets a little bit harder, a little more painful, as each text message, each time I hear that voice, it brings back so much hurt, so much sorrow. I have not responded to any of these pathetic attempts to elicit a response from me - no matter how much begging he has done, no matter how scathingly crass and malicious he has been towards me. But these voicemails that he left; I just want this nightmare to be over.

So, I wrote this letter - it's addressed to him, but I am never going to give him the chance to read it. This letter is really for me. For me to try to close the door on all this once and for all so that my new life can really, truly begin.


An open letter to my asshole, piece of shit, ex-boyfriend:

We broke up almost 3 years ago and I have not seen you in at least 2 & ½, yet you still insist on trying to have some kind of communication with me; each instance becoming more annoying and more insistent than the last. You seem to have developed some kind of Jekyll & Hyde complex as well where, in one set of correspondence, you are telling me how much you love me and can’t live without me and in the next, how much of a cold-hearted bitch I am and threatening me as well. Seriously, do you have nothing better to do with your life? (This is a rhetorical question – Obviously you don’t.) I have not responded once to any of these phone calls or texts in all this time. What makes you think that I am going to suddenly break down and either come crawling back to you crying or give in to your pathetic attempts of instigation and call you back irately, stooping down to your childish level?

This most recent series of voicemails, however, have been the icing on the cake. You informed me that your “Therapist” advised you to get in touch with me and proceeded to cry on about how “we were kids” and how much of an asshole you know that you were back then. You lamented about your car obsession and what you “did to me”. You also go on to mention something about you crying in a car which it seems is meant to pull on my non-existent heart strings and get me to pity you because you think about me “every day”. The icing on the cake was when you called back to tell me how you can’t move forward with your new girlfriend because she reminds you of me “in every way” and you don’t want what happened to us to happen with her; also how you can’t even say I love you” to her. Boo-fucking-hoo. This fear you have of things with your “new girlfriend” ending up the same way as you and I: Does that involve basically stealing close to $45,000 from her too?

Guess what? I think about you every day too. Every time I try to have a relationship or a friendship with a person and can never truly trust them or open myself up to them for fear that they are lying to me, that they will take advantage of me or that they will turn their back on me the way you did. Every time I go to make a purchase in a store and realize I don’t have a credit card to fall back on. Every time I drive my car and think I almost didn’t get a loan. (And that the loan I do currently have carries a 14% interest rate) How much I worried that I almost didn’t get my current job or my apartment and how I might not be able to get another apartment in the future or a mortgage. Every time a credit check is run and they see that black smear stretching out over the next 7 years of my life, I think of you and how you conveniently, in your entire melodramatic tirade failed to mention how you forced me into bankruptcy. I think of how you once proceeded to flaunt a text message with $12,000 in cash in my face telling me how that money could have been mine if I wasn’t such a bitch.

It’s unfortunate that you carry this guilt with you every day, but I do not feel sorry for you, because you should feel guilty. You should feel bad about what you did. Every. Fucking. Day. You. Exist. I extend to you no apologies or pity. You brought all of this upon yourself. You know what you did was wrong, even when you were doing it, and yet, you persisted. I am certain your mother was rolling over in her grave as she witnessed the despicable things you did to me; making me a prisoner in my own home, stealing from me, threatening me, abusing me mentally and emotionally, taking extreme advantage of all my kindnesses when I was just trying to love you and I was a fool to believe you ever had the same feelings in return. I was a fool to believe I could ever make you change. You are still the same person you were back then and you always will be. I do not believe that you have grown even so much as half an inch emotionally. You will always be your Father’s son. You may fool yourself into thinking that you are making progress in your life, but you will always be a shit stain on the foot of society.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Double Dipping

I went through a bit of a dry spell after my first ONS, but much like my first two-timing experience, I once again found myself with more men than I could handle. I envisioned myself this pimptress (is this even a real word?), juggling several guys all at once. But once all the balls (no puns please) were up in the air, I found myself in the end standing with empty hands.

So what else is Facebook good for if not as a way to reconnect with your best friend from high school's ex boyfriend who you had a mild crush on and almost ruined your friendship over when you may or may not have been flirting with him? Well, that is exactly what happened to me. "Gene" (Not his real name, obviously.) sent me a friend request and then a message asking me how I'd been. He noticed that I was now living in CT and he was living in the area as well and asked if I'd like to get together some time and reminisce. Sure, why not? Sounds like an awesome idea - I agreed. Then, spent the time beforehand debating if it was a date or not. I hadn't seen him in years and didn't even know if I would be interested. When I showed up, he was with a male friend so, whew! I figured it wasn't a date. Relieved and relaxed, I was just ready to drink some beers and shoot the shit with them and catch up on the past 8 years. Then his friend left and things suddenly started creeping into pseudo date territory. We left, hit up another bar, then decided to get some food and go back to his apt a few blocks away.

We eat and start watching some TV and then, the theatrics begin. Gene starts telling me how he had a crush on me in high school and gets closer on the couch. He even went so far as to tell me he used to jerk off thinking about me. (I will chalk that up to a very drunken TMI slip of the tongue. I guess maybe he thought he was complimenting me?) Which of course leads to him kissing me and telling me how he "always wanted to do that". I'm not really looking for anything serious so I'm ready to get down to business in the bedroom, to which he tries to slow things down and tell me that he thinks we could have something good going on here. (To which I rolled my eyes and he couldn't see because we were in the dark. He really could have gotten an Oscar for this performance.) I was like um... whatever? Are we gonna bone? Are we not gonna bone? Because I have work in the morning.

So yeah. We boned. It was fun and pretty decent and lasted longer than I expected since he was giving me all this 16 year old boy runaround talk on the couch. I left and went home and then spent a week playing the "Is he gonna call? Why hasn't he called?" game. Gene finally texted and invited me to hang out at his friend's house after his band practice. Which led to another semi-coupley BBQ get together. I couldn't tell if he wanted us to be fuck buddies or if he wanted to date me. (And I really wasn't in the mood for serious dating.)

Meanwhile, while I was out one evening with two of my girl friends (twins!), I was introduced to their brother's really cute friend (Who is to be referred to as Awkward Math Teacher or AMT for short - I'll explain later.) who had just come back from teaching English in China. (And I had just gotten rejected from a program to teach English in Japan.) Hoping to bond over a few drinks, we all decided to do a round of shots. Unfortunately, for AMT there was pineapple juice in the shot and he's severely allergic to pineapple. So he had to leave and go try not to die.

Of course my friends tried to play matchmaker: "Oh! Isn't AMT cute? You guys would be cute together! He really liked you!" He met me for 5 minutes, seriously? It took a few weeks but eventually, they managed to get us in the same place at the same time: Extremely drunk at a bar crawl. As I stood at a bar ordering a beer, he drunkenly walked over and asked if I wanted to do shots in a slurred tone. All I could do was smile and giggle. So he took my beer, drank it and then took my hand and led me out of the bar - and across the street to the hotel him and my friends' brother were staying in.

Personally, having sex with someone you've barely exchanged more than two sentences is not usually my thing. But throw a bunch of Red Bull/Vodkas into the mix (my Kryptonite) and just about anything will go down. (Including me. Yes, I walked right into that one.) I woke up in the morning to more sex as we tried to keep quiet with my friend's brother & gf sleeping in the next bed. Then, I played the "Where the eff are my clothes game?", shoved my panties in my purse, and found myself walk of shaming right into breakfast/lunch with AMT, my friends' brother, his gf, and another couple they were friends with. Here I am in my same clothes, hair a mess, smelling like booze, while everyone else looks fresh as a daisy. (Especially the Abercrombie poster couple sitting with us.) Fan-fucking-tastic.

So AMT drove me home while we made awkward conversation and my parents definitely watched me get out of this guy's car. (They learned not to ask questions anymore though.) We went out a few more times but there was one big problem: He was a Math teacher and incredibly awkward with absolutely no personality I'd try to get him to talk and it just wasn't working. He kept suggesting movie dates, but I really wanted to get to know him and I figured the only way to get him to talk was to try loosening him up with some booze. (Typical Irish though, I suppose.)

Meanwhile, Gene is trying to be all serious with me, asking if I was sleeping with anyone else. No, of course not - I lie - but I am dating other people. Which I guess gave him the ok to give up psuedo-dating me and just booty call me instead. (Sure, I'll come over your place at 12:30 in the morning, no problem.) Then, after an unfortunate incident involving my gag reflex, I didn't hear from him for a while and just said, Fuck it, not worth it. He did try to contact me again a few months later and was all "Hey, what's going on? Haven't talked to you in a while" (on Facebook no less), to which I replied, "Nothing. Moved to Philly." and deleted his ass off my friends list.

Back to AMT: After several attempts to try and get some chemistry going, I decided to up the ante one night when we went out for dinner. I wore my cutest skirt, took my panties off in the bathroom and let him find out on his own. It drove him nuts! He was all, "Wow. You're so sexy in that skirt." Finally! The response I'd be waiting for. But, as quickly as the fireworks were lit, they fizzled out. On more than one occasion. (He may or may not have had some kind of erm, performance issues that may or may not have been alcohol related.) And so, I stopped hearing from him and just gave up on the whole thing all together. It just wasn't meant to be.


They say when it rains it pours, but sometimes, I guess I'd rather just be in a drought.