One Awkward Shavasana (Or: An Attempt at Yoga and Meditation)

Friends! How was everyone's weekend? Mine was PDG. Pretty Darn Great. Sorry, Monday  mornings lead to some highly unnecessary acronyming. Also: turning nouns into verbs. It's a thing. Just go with it. Anyway, have you guys heard of yoga? It's this centuries old spiritual and physical discipline and also a fitness trend that became popular, oh, twenty years ago. Ever ahead of all the workout crazes (next up: Zumba!), I have recently started yoging and mostly enjoying myself. I have just done beginner stuff so far, so I can't stand on my head or anything, but I'm excellent at corpse pose, which is where you just lie on the floor like, you guessed it a corpse and have also finally figured out how to do the sun salutation, which is like flowing from one move to the other and also a basic tenet of yoga that I'm pretty sure should take five minutes to master and has taken me seven beginner classes. Basically: I'm amazing.

But! I still like it, even though I'm mostly terrible. I like feeling myself using different muscles and trying new things and challenging myself to stand still when I'd much rather just hop around.

The one thing I just can't seem to come around to is the meditative stuff. Meditation and breathing and holistic, body-focused, nature inspired, chakra power is a huge part of yoga but it is just not my bag. I KNOW that this part of yoga is probably the most important for anxiety monsters like me and I should stop being cynical and rolling my eyes and just go with it but eeeeeehhhhhhhhh: no. No matter how hard I try to turn my brain to nothing and banish all thoughts (maybe I'm trying too hard), I just can't seem to do it.

And I have a question: can anyone? I'm serious. I'm sure there are plenty of yogis out there, and I would truly love to hear. When you are meditating/doing shavasana or whatever that is where you lay on the floor and become jello, does your brain ACTUALLY stop thinking and just start om-ing or become a big glowing ball of light or whatever or are you actually laying there, thinking, just like me? Tell me, tell me!

That said, despite my inability to stop  my brain entirely, I have found that at the end of a good yoga class, when we have to lay on the floor and the teacher whispers all quietly about sinking into the mat and relaxing and focusing our minds, my mind still does, wander, always, but I seem to manage to get it down from about 100 miles / hour to, let's say 15. And my thoughts tend to be on things like homemade juice and fresh tulips and how excited I am to see my mom next weekend instead of work or life or money or what people are thinking about me. So that has to count for something, right? Positivity?

So that got long and contemplative, deal with it, but I HAD to tell you about this hilarious experience I had in yoga class yesterday morning. So we yogied and yogaed and yagood and then laid down like dead bodies to meditate and breathe and relax and I managed to get my brain semi-focused on the task at hand when all of a sudden, beside me, I hear a faint snort. Then another, and another until it builds into a cacophony of snoring. The guy beside me had FALLEN ASLEEP and was sawing logs like a goddamn carpenter, all the while the teacher is softly whispering about emptying our minds and being one with the universe and I could not keep it together. It took every fiber of my being not to burst out laughing. I nearly peed myself right on the mat. My roommate was laying to my other side and we both had sense enough not to even glance at one another, or else we would lose it.

So then, of course, I just laid there thinking  how I had to run home and blog about him. Excellent meditation, Liz. You nailed it.

But, I mean. AH! It was hilarious! What was I supposed to do, tune it out? Focus on my inner core being and the breath of the world's goodness? There's only SO FAR I can go with this Yoga scene and if it involves NOT making light of awkward situations around me (in a gentle, loving way, obvi), well, I don't think it's worth it.

Next class I'll bring a big box of breathe right strips to pass out to other yogers, just in case.

You never know!

Ok, upon re-reading this story wasn't thaaat great and maybe you had to be there. Mostly I just wanted to brag about how I'm into yoga now, so everyone thinks I'm fit and awesome. And also get some backup from the internet. Seriously, yoga professionals, am I doing it right?? Back me up that I'm not the only bad Yogi in the room thinking about apple juice and giggling to myself?!

Anyone? Bueller?

And that's my story. The end! Wishing everyone a centered and spiritual Monday (yeah, right!) and here, apropos of nothing, is a beautiful picture of a magnolia tree because it is spring and I read somewhere that people are more likely to read your blog if it has photos.

magnolia

YOU'RE WELCOME!

PS! On Wednesday I'll be announcing the big winner of my amazing joke contest, so be sure to tune in, and if you have yet to put in your guesses, now is your chance!  (Spoiler alert: the prize is nothing.)

xoxo Liz Ho

One Awkward Holi

I was wondering if you might indulge me for a few moments while I share some photos from my weekend. I mean, honestly, you kind of have to indulge me, this is my party and I’ll take weird colorful bathroom selfies if I want to!

IMG_20130406_193604

The thing is, when blogging, I tend to worry alot about what category of the ol’ blogosphere I fall into, what that I don’t cook or craft or parent or do anything of value in any way, and therefore I’m not sure what sorts of content to share. Just funny stories? Lists? Normal day-to-day stuff with a hilarious tone? Nothing at all - um, lately hat does seem the case, whoopsies! So does a somewhat straightforward weekend recap fall into whatever niche I’ve carved out for myself? Not funny enough? Too standard? AH!

I always think the best blogs are where people write 750 word essays about their identity struggles. Ha, jokes. The best blogs, to me, are where writers share a glimpse into their life, whether that life involve baking, child rearing, outfit putting togethering or just stupid story telling with warmth, humor and a great sense of authenticity. So that’s what I’ll do.

Ol’ Ho Bags, reaching new levels of self involvement and neurosis every damn minute.

But you know what? I just really want to tell everyone about this party I went to, because it was the coolest! As I mentioned on Friday, a high school friend of Brian’s, who is Indian (India Indian, not like, Pocahontas Indian) (first vaguely racist comment in the bag, cha-ching!) invited us to join his family for a party in honor of this holiday called Holi which is a Hindu celebration of spring and color.If you want to know more about the historical and cultural significance of this holiday, you can read this Wikipedia page. If you want to know more about ME and how I celebrated this holiday, and why wouldn't you, juuuust keep scrolling down.

Brian’s mom dropped us off at his friend Saurabh's parents' house, like a couplea middle schoolers, and it turned out we were totally early, which was semi-awkward BUT meant we got the freshest color. We took our shoes off at the door and were greeted by our friend Saurabh’s mother, a woman I had never met, rubbing our cheeks with colored powder. They had pushed back their furniture and covered all of the surfaces with plastic, like they were in the midst of a home renovation and in the back yard set up a tent and big tables covered in catered Indian food and tons of booze. Needless to say, I did not stick to my cleanse and I know you don’t want to know but beer + Indian food were maaaaybe not the best things to be pouring down my gullet. IF you know what I mean.

This powder I’m talking about, I still don’t quite know what it was, it was just a beautifully dyed pigment that came in bags simply labeled “Holi Powder.” We were assured it wasn’t poisonous. It tasted icky, like dirt, but not repulsive. They had out huge trays, like this:

20130406_124812

Ignore my socked feet in this professionally staged photograph.

You would just dip your hands and fingers in the powder and rub it all over your pals. Within 5 minutes of arrival, we were looking like this:

IMG_20130406_124337

Also, you can't see it, but we were wearing 100 % matching outfits: white t's and greyish jeans that were the very exact same shade. This marks like the 4th time in about 2 weeks that we've left the house in basically identical ensembles because everyone loves a couple that dresses alike.

Barf.

Other guests started arriving and it became quickly apparent that in addition to being way early, we were also the only non-Indians in attendance and ALSO the only asshats who arrived empty handed. I could die. I asked Saurabh what we should bring his parents and he assured 'nothing, nothing, just yourself!" and like a fool, I listened, and then stood there, mortified, my pale white skin noticeably reddening as guests poured into the house bearing bottles of wine, wrapped gifts, plates of food and other beautiful hostess gifts. AS THEY SHOULD. This is the second time in under a week I caught myself in this situation. I hope my mom's not reading this, she'll be SO ashamed. The weekend prior we had gone to Easter brunch with Brian's parents and I kept saying I needed to get his mother flowers and Brian kept reassuring me not to worry about it, so I arrived empty handed. His sister's boyfriend joined us, and he also appeared to arrive giftless, so I thought all was well, but then, a TWIST in the story, as we're said goodbye after the meal, he dashed to his car and returned with a gigantic fucking PLANT for their mom. Well played, young man, well played.

I could not have this college boy showing me up, so this week I snagged his mom a copy of a book she'd mentioned wanting to read. Point for Liz.

Point quickly lost when I arrived at the Holi party completely empty handed. Let these mistakes be lessons to you all: always bring a hostess gift and never ever listen to boys about gift giving etiquette because they are stupid. Fact.

Another important lesson: never assume that I won't go off onto one million dumb tangents in the middle of every story because you will be burned.

Where was I?

Oh yes, at the very beginning of the party. How long will this post be?! Let's fast forward. Blah blah people arrived, food was served, it was delicious, and with each arriving guest, we greeted each other with hellos and swipes of colored powder. For a while, everyone just kind of stood around, catching up, chowing down, like any old family picnic, except they were covered head-to toe in neon powder.

20130406_132618

I found this so endlessly hilarious. Just chatting it up. "How's the family?" "Catching Mad Men this weekend?" "How bout them Mets?" And they have stuff all over their faces! AAAAH. Ok so it's hard to fully articulate the humor in this here situation but trust me, it was a side splitter.

As the mood got livelier, the colors started flowing faster and faster, with people just smearing all over each other, sneak attacking from behind, pouring piles of powder on others heads or backs or shoving it in each other's faces. Important Lesson: when face powdering, go in a downward motion, not upward or you WILL shove purple powder up your friend's nose and nearly kill him. Just FYI.

Here are a few snaps:

IMG_20130406_164238

Me and my twin after a color fight.

20130406_132626

A sneak attack!

20130406_181456

Some gentlemen

20130406_161432

Playing drinking games

20130406_152101

Our host, Saurabh, looking purpley.

20130406_135726

Our writer, looking cheesy.

PS recognize my holey red sweater?

Now it is my HOLI red sweater!! Just thought of that. God I'm good.

20130406_181512

My guy, looking like an extra from Hook.

Also, you can sort of see it in this photo - the colors looked super vibrant on darker skin, but on Brian's and my pale, milky skin, it sort of dried into a blackish-grey, that mostly made us look like chimney sweeps. A good look.

20130406_162358

An Orange Attack.

20130406_141352A closeup of my crotch because sure, why not.

As you can see, when the color mixed it turned into this sort of poop brown color which is maybe not the cutest. There was this hilarious young girl at the party, maybe 6 years old, and she kept grabbing all of the colors in her hand and mushing them up together to make a "rainbow" which actually looked more like vomit. She'd throw "rainbows" at everyone she met, which was especially and since she was barely waist high, everyone's midsection was covered in brownish smudges. At one point she grabbed a handful of solid turquoise, reached her arm up and fully went to second base on my left boob, just cupping that color alllll over my ta-ta.

It was both adorable and highly inappropriate.

We played drinking games - I set personal records in both flip cup AND beer pong, a game which I despise for many reasons including the fact that it is gross, boring, shuts down a party because not everyone can play, GROSS, stupid, childish, gross, lame and also: I'm terrible. But not this weekend. I sunk three shots in a row, like a complete pro before bowing out, lest I ruin anything. I need to go back to college, where everyone made fun of me for throwing underhand (float it, Rowengartner) and show them how far I've come. I still stand by my flawless opinion that beer pong is the absolute worst, but at least I can now definitively say it is because the game sucks, not me. Because I'm AWESOME.

A stereo system was set up playing traditional Indian music (and several rounds of Gagnam Style, of course!) and everyone danced on the patio, some women in incredibly gorgeous saris, everyone covered in colored powder before the end of the first song. We ate SO much incredible food, at one point I tried to get a fifth helping of paneer and I literally could not fit anything more down my throat: there was no room. Then they brought out a cake, to celebrate Saurabh's acceptance into grad school, and in the Holi spirit, the cake ended up all  over his already paint streaked face.

20130406_172252That Uncle was the sneakiest. He'd seek out innocent victims when they least expected it and empty bags of Holi color all over their heads. His shirt was white when he arrived.

Juuust kidding.

But mine was and now it is in the garbagio. After the party, Brian's mom came back and picked us up, and has us wrap in old bath towels before we got in the car. Everyone at the party warned us NOT to wet the powder - water would only make it seep into our skin ("especially your pale skin," they kept saying), and suggested we use cream or makeup remover. We covered ourselves in cold cream, not before taking one last photo:

IMG_20130406_195345

And destroyed half a dozen washcloths wiping ourselves down. All of our clothes were covered in powder, even my bra was streaked purple, pink and blue - Brian's mom offered to wash throw our things in the laundry and I was like "here's my bra!" and thaaaat was weird - but for the most part, the colors came right out. These colors do run! My white t shirt was unsalvageable, the bra is still semi-colored (it was one of these, so it really couldn't get worse) and I accidentally put my holey Holi 100% wool sweater in the dryer so that puppy is officially dead, but otherwise everything was fine! Which means my pants and socks. So actually only 20% of my outfit was fine, the rest was destroyed. But it was worth it!

The bottoms of my feet are black with streaks of pink and blue, from walking around in powder covered socks, and I can NOT for the life of me get the pigment out from under my finger nails. It's the hot manicure look for spring.

And that, my friends, was my very first Holi. It was amazing. I'm already inviting myself back next year, I hope these people are ready. I"ll bring a gift this time!!

What I would suggest to all of you readers, is to find an Indian person and become their friend. If they don't like you at first, just wear them down relentlessly until they give in, and be sure they invite you to their Holi party. I don't normally advocate for racially profiling but in this case, I think it is totally OK to seek out people based entirely on their ethnicity just for the parties. And I am a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize,* so you can trust me.

The end! Thanks for reading this long and rambling post and I hope you learned something about Hinduism and if you did, can you tell me what it is? Because mostly all I took away from this party is that I love pani puri, look good with pink hair and rule at flip cup. AKA: even when experiencing other cultures it really is all about me. Whoops!

Happy Holi & Happy Monday, loves.

xx Liz Ho(li) (Liz Holi!) (!!!!)

* this is a lie. 

Long Live The Queen

So, I don’t know if you do this but whenever I’m driving, or more accurately, whenever I am riding along in a putrid MegaBus, and it’s all smooth sailing and open lanes I am terrified to so much as think much less say outloud “oh! we’re really making good time!” because I just know that the moment the words leave my lips we’ll come around a bend to a five car pile up and be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and life will be ruined allll because of me. Perhaps I sound a tad fatalistic, but I can’t help myself. I come from a long line of neurotics with bad luck & lots of Irish Catholic guilt. All good things will surely end and when they do, it’s all our fault.

Really healthy bunch we are, mentally.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve kind of been on a roll, life-wise, and I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Zombie bees are taking over Washington State and according to this week’s New Yorker, we’re under siege from a strain of incurable gonorrhea. Not 100% sure what’s going on there, I don’t read-read the New Yorker so much as skim the headlines so I can casually bring it up in conversation later, but you don’t have to actually read the news to know: this planet’s a sinking ship and we’re all doomed!

And yet, despite this depressing fact, good things keep happening! Well, to me anyway. Sorry if your life still sucks but boyyy, I am on fiyah!

As many of you already know, one of my recent posts was selected for Word Press’s prestigious Freshly Pressed last week, which is like being nominated for the Homecoming Court of Blogland, or so I would guess. I most certainly was never on the Homecoming Court in the real world. I’ve been extremely popular for several days now and it. has. been. AWESOME. I know I’m in a bit of a salty mood this evening but please trust that I am being genuine when I say how honored I am by the warm and positive feedback I’ve received from new and old readers alike. I am so glad you’re all here. I hope you’ll stick around and promise I’ll do my best to make it worth your while!

But first, I have to insult you just a teensy bit. You see, something happened to me last week that was even better that being Freshly Pressed. What, you ask, could be even better than spending two days fielding comments from strangers about how funny and great I am?

BEYONCE.

That’s right. Last week I spotted Her Royal Highness, Goddess of All Things, Homecoming Queen of the Universe Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter live and in the flesh. It was...she is...I...can’t. The English language does not possess the words to appropriate describe the glory that is BK. She is perfection. And then some.

Last Wednesday a few of us went to see my friend Kevin perform at UCB, a comedy theater here in Manhattan (check him out, he’s great!) and after the show, Brian and I were walking across town to catch the subway. We came to a corner at the edge of Madison Square Park that was crowded with people and blocked off with traffic barricades. On our side of the street was a group of rubberneckers and the other side was packed with media holding big cameras and those long microphones that a person less mature than myself might describe as boner shaped, all crowded around a black man in a baseball cap. We both immediately thought Jay-Z but did not want to appear racist, so kept quiet until some other gawker confirmed for us it was, indeed our boy, Young. I started to sweat.

“Do you think she’s here?? Oh GOD what if she’s here?!” I gasped, my breath quickening, my eyes attempting to see over the hordes of reporters. I was about to give up, when the crowds parted and suddenly: there she was.

Radiant. Glowing. Luminous. An angel walks among us and her name is Bay-on-say.

It was barely more than a moment before another mediahound grabbed her attention and once again blocked her from my vision but oh, that moment was enough.

I actually think the only way I survived this celeb spotting and didn’t just hyperventilate to death right there on 26th Street is because it was so quick, such a short, perfect glimpse.  There is a reason we don’t stare directly at the sun for too long, it’s mesmerizing, life-sustaining light will melt our eyeballs to puddles of goo.

And so it is with Beyonce.

So you can see why I’m a little trepidatious about my recent good fortunes. I mean, once you’ve spotted Queen B there’s really nowhere up for your life to go. So I figure there are really only ways this can play out:

My life continues upward: I will meet Jon Hamm and we’ll dine on bottomless bowls of Kraft macaroni and cheese before enjoying some blissful, mutually orgasmic intercourse and then directly afterwards, as we bask in the afterglow of our lovemaking, executives from NBC will call me to announce that they’re creating a sitcom based on my life and I don’t have to do any work or anything, just move to a mansion in the Hollywood Hills which they’ve purchased for me and eat and drink wine and regale them with my stories, so they have something to base their scripts on.

Orrr, I plummet downward: I will be immediately struck down by some sort of gruesome bee-related venereal disease and die.

Or I suppose there is always a door three: My life will go on, day by day, peppered with ups and downs, pleasant highs and stormy lows and the world will turn and the grass will grow and cetera but ugh, how boring does that sound?

 

So, let's all just cross our fingers things go the more Jon Hammy, cheesy route. And in the meantime, let's watch the Queen at WERK:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViwtNLUqkMY]

One (Slightly) Awkward Reunion

Oh god, ouch. You guyyys! I have to tell you about my college reunion! The other weekend I was down in Baltimore celebrating 5 years since graduation and now, approximately 216 hours later (but who’s counting?) (yes, I used a calculator) my hangover seems officially, finally gone. College is over, folks, and as I draw rapidly closer to legal subscription to AARP: The Magazine it has become all too apparent that I can no longer hang. Not that I ever could hang all that much, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves. Maybe some of us were never meant to hang, maybe we were built to stay in, eat oreos and debate the pros & cons of various American Girl Dolls (Samantha = snobby, but gorgeous hair & pinnafores, Molly = spunky & spirited but who wants glasses?) before tucking in for a decent 10 PM bedtime. The reunion bled into a crazybusy work week - Book Expo America, the largest annual publishing conference in the Western Hemisphere (toootally made that up) was in NYC all last week. I won’t bore you with the details but to give you a sense of what we were dealing with, I’ll quote 2011 presenter and one of my good personal friends Mindy Kaling: “There’s more tote bags here than in Terry Gross’s attic...It actually looks like a high-school reunion where all the jocks died in a plane crash on the way to regionals, and the plane crash killed all the minorities too."

So yeah, that was exhausting. And just to prove how very little I have changed since leaving college, the only industry #swag I took home from the conference was a stack of flyers from the American Girl Corporation teasing the release of their newest historical doll, Caroline. They have yet to reveal any deets but girl needs to work if she wants to be anywhere close to Felicity or Kirsten (pronounced Keer-sten!) level amazingness.

I need so much help.

Anyway! The reunion! I don’t know how to say this without bragging so I’m just going to come out with it: I am extremely popular. So SO many of my former classmates revealed themselves as fans of my esteemed writing, I am a major internet celebrity. We’re talking like, Charlie Bit My Finger...that kid who questions life after getting gassed by the dentist...One Awkward Year. That’s it. That’s all you need to know about the internet and the world. Done and done.

I am only slightly exaggerating! People really did approach me from all angles --ALL ANGLES! -- and confess to reading the blog, despite having limited contact since college and I obviously loved every goddamn second of it. Everyone kept saying “oh! I’m sure this reunion will make for an awkward blog!” (so demanding, my fans are) and it did, kind of, but not in the ways I thought it would. There were some run-ins with old foes, I guess, and some small talk and a lot lot LOT of that thing where you see someone and don’t know if you should like, hug them or air-kiss or high five or whatever so you kind of just like, half wrap your arm around one side of their body and pat them on the upper back while trying not to spill the giant gin & tonic you’re holding in your other hand, but for the most part, the awkwardness came not from catching up with long-lost acquaintances but from trying to suppress just how much I’ve been keeping tabs on said acquaintances in the past five years.

I know a billion words have been written on The Facebook and its role in the socializing of the youth or whatever, I don’t really read much not about celebrities and/or food, and as a member of the social media generation, I have no idea what reunions were like before the interwebz took over our lives. All I know is that I walked into a room of people I hadn’t seen in half a decade and I knew every. single. thing. they’d allll been up to. Everything! I knew who got married, who got fat, who got thin, who came out, and who questionably still wasn’t out but like, come on, dude, really? I knew it ALL!

Every conversation was a struggle for me not to reveal how truly creepy I am. “I like your hair that length!” was totally a cover for:  “I like your hair that length! So glad you got rid of the bangs. Remember how badly the reacted in the humidity when you took that trip to Puerto Rico for your parents’ 30th wedding anniversary? The one you went to right before your sister had her baby! He is so cute, by the way! I love the name Jack too, though it’s getting a little trendy, but at least it’s not Aiden, am I right? How’s your boyfriend? How many tattoos does he have, like 12? Is he enjoying his new job, at the courthouse? How do I know what he does for a living? Oh, because I’m a terrifying stalker, bye!”

It was so hard to play it cool! But I’m so clearly not the only one. So many people admitted to the same behavior. But instead of feeling solidarity with them, I mostly denied my true nature. Sometimes, especially after someone would out themselves as a fan of the blog, I would pretend to have no idea what they were up to so as to appear cool and aloof and above it all which: haha nope! Sorry, just kidding, I know everything and thanks for reading!

I actually only had one particularly awkward moment related to this cultural phenomenon, in the ladies room during the Dinner Dance/Late Night portion of the evening (there was a martini bar involved, god I love you, LoCo) when I asked a mild acquaintance about her little girl and she asked “How did you know I had a daughter?” and I replied “Ummmm, read it on the internet.” And then her friend, possibly even best friend, a girl who perennially wears magenta bandage dresses and has Barbie bangs announced to the entire room (bathroom!) that her friend’s baby was unplanned and reminded us all to take our birth control. Calling out your bestie on her illegitimate child in the middle of the college reunion? Ouch, way harsh, Tai.

  But that was it! I Went To My Five Year Reunion And All I Got Was This Lousy Story About Facebook Stalking and Bathroom Conversations. I truly, truly wish that I could have had better stories for you, especially those fellow graduates who revealed themselves as fans...and fellow creeps. Would that I could have fallen on the dance floor (again!) or accidentally made out with a former professor or pooped my dress or just, something, anything at all. Alas, I kept it classy.

I suppose there is always the Ten Year! See you there, friends. I promise to cause a scene!

 

And now, because I am vain and I read somewhere that people like blogs with pictures, here are some choice photos from the weekend. I’m so demure!

We have to go back, Kate! We have to go back!

One Awkward Surprise Visit

What a beautiful weekend, my friends! I spent the afternoon in the park and got a lil color. My legs are looking GOOD:

Post park I had the apartment to myself and was lounging on the couch sans culottes, airing out these char-grilled gams in front of a particularly epic Law & Order SVU marathon, when my roommate and three of her cousins - two male! - unexpectedly walked through the front door.  I yelped “I’m not wearing any pants!” and scrambled for something to cover my ass, then spent the next five minutes making small talk with a bunch of strangers while wearing nothing but my skivvies and a strategically draped blanket. This sounds like the kind of activity Cosmo Magazine might suggest in an article about spicing up your TV time or  making your home sexually appealing for visitors but I’m going to go ahead and say this was not so much erotic as wildly, excruciatingly uncomfortable.

What can we learn from this latest embarrassment? You must ALWAYS wear at least 17 layers of sunblock every time you leave the house, especially if you’re planning on laying about roasting yourself and, perhaps more importantly, you should have a pair of pants or shorts or company appropriate bottoms within arms reach at all times. I’m not advocating you always wear pants, I mean, let’s be honest, pants are the worst, but you just might want to be prepared for unanticipated drop by visitors. Just do it. Trust me.

Summer 2012 is off to an auspicious start!

 

One Awkward Conversation

Are you watching Game of Thrones? Of COURSE you are! Everyone is except me and I do NOT feel good about it. I base much of my self worth on my television consumption and lately I can barely look myself in the mirror. New York Magazine recently ran this Best Drama of the Past 25 Years March Madness Bracket thing and it really forced me to confront my failings. I've never watched The Sopranos OR Deadwood, I’ve only seen half of Twin Peaks and I'm still a season behind on Breaking Bad. Now here we are, starting the second season of the Next Hot Television Event Game of Thrones and I haven't seen a damn second. I am pathetic.

Yesterday I decided I had to at lest make an effort to get caught up on this program, so I G-chatted my good friend Kathleen, a big GOT fan, to whine about how left out and sad and uncool I was feeling except TWIST: it wasn't Kathleen, but a girl named Katelyn who I went to college with and was like, friendly with senior year but have not seen or spoken to I think since graduation, almost 5 years ago.

Here’s The Transcript:

me: Ok

  I know I'm behind

but I really need to get myself involved in game of thrones

  I feel left out

  OH my god

  hi

  but I thought you were someone else?

  but hi

  AH this is really awkward HI

Smooooooth operator!

Guess what, though? It turns out that Katelyn is actually living in NYC and…wait for it…OWNS Season One of Game of Thrones! So, was this an awkward social/internet faux-pas on my behalf orrrr was it the Lord Shimself working a miracle through g-chat? I’ll leave it up to you to decide. (And yes, I said Shimself. Until I really know for sure that God is a specific gender, I’ma keep it neutral. I’m not sure if I even believe there is a God, but if there is, I really don’t want to offend Herm.)

This divine intervention was lovely and it was nice to open the lines of communication with this gal again but it gave way to some questions: What now?! How do I end this conversation? I’d like to suggest we meet over drinks, but she might think I’m just saying that because I accidentally g-chatted her and I don’t want her to think it is a pity invite but a real invite but what if she doesn’t actually want to hang out with me but is being nice and tolerating my nonsense even though I’m SO rude as to admit like “whoops, did not mean to talk to YOU today” and then she’ll feel obligated to say yes and then I’M the one getting pity drinks?!

I decided to go for it. I had to keep the invite light and breezy, to counteract the anxieties chronicled above, so I said:

“Ok well I know it's been a long time but I feel like the world/gmail works in mysterious ways so I'm just going to put it out there: why don't we get drinks? or coffee in case you are now on the wagon.”

Why did I say that? What if she really WAS on the wagon or like, has had a life marked by difficulties of living with someone who does have actual substance abuse problems and here I come, accidentally g-chatting and trying to steal her DVD’s and reminding her about her lifetime of pain and suffering? Why, Liz, Why??

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: it is exhausting being me.

Oh, and lest ye worry about me, it all worked out! We’re getting drinks in a few weeks and they may be pity drinks, but no one has to know that. Also if anyone else would like to lend me their Game of Thrones DVDs or teach me how to use the internet to download videos or pay for me to upgrade my cable so I can get HBO, please do let me know.

Xoxo

Liz

One Awkward Overshare

Milestone! This is my 100th Post. It also might be my most disgusting? Hey, remember when I had that wart on my foot and everyone was grossed out except that one guy who was all “Baby, I don’t care what’s growing on your foot so long as you cover it with one of your three pairs of boots: the black ones, the brown suede or the snow boots.” Well! After literally years of visiting several doctors and trying nearly every non-surgical remedy on the planet, the wart still wouldn’t go away. So I decided to go under the knife. On Friday morning I went into the podiatrist for what was supposed to be a minor procedure but ended up losing the whole leg, from the knee down. I’ll be getting a wooden leg, just like Paul McCartney’s ex-wife. Coincidentally, I, too will be performing on Dancing with the Stars, hopefully I fare better than she did!

Aww, sorry! That was mean.

Ok, ok, that wooden leg stuff was a mild exaggeration. I still have both legs but one of my feet has like, a scoop cut out of the bottom and I can’t wear cute shoes for like, weeks. Mildly painful but mostly it’s just embarrassing having people ask me why I’m limping and having to tell them I had groady wart surgery. I blame society - some ailments, though totally legit, are considered ick. Warts, rashes, boils, really anything skin related. I’m to pretty to have ANY of those! I’m am so ashamed of my gross podiatry problems and yet I can’t stop telling everyone.

Everyone.

I have a problem. Due to some crazy mix of insecurity and self absorption, I always assume people spend A LOT of time thinking about everything I say and do and the best way to keep people from thinking I am a weirdo is just to overshare every single unwanted detail until they know fo sho that I am a weirdo.

For example.  A recent conversation at a bar between me and a friend:

Friend: “I am just about to start Season 4 of Breaking Bad!” Me: “Oh! I plan to catch up next weekend.” Friend: “Neat!” My Brain: “It is neat! Wait...I wonder what she meant by that? I mean, I definitely always stay in weekends watching TV but what if she thinks it is lame that I have a whole weekend plan just to watch DVD’s! I bet she’s curious why I’m planning it for next weekend instead of this one coming up. It’s already Thursday! Does she think I’m blowing her off? She can tell I’m hiding something from her! Oh god our friendship will never survive this!” Me: “Because of my wart! I’ll be watching Breaking Bad because of my wart! Well, not because of the wart, really but the wart surgery. You knew I had a wart, right? Did you know? I blogged about it. ANYWAY it is SO gross, it has been on my foot for years and WILL NOT go away, I’ve tried everything but it keeps onnn growin’ so my doctor’s gonna cut it right out! Just slice a hole in my foot. I won’t be able to walk. That’s why I’ll be inside, watching Breaking Bad. You know, since you were curious.” Friend: “Um...I think I need another drink..." (Slowly backs away, a look of terror in her eyes)

Just shut it down, Liz.

I had this same neurotic conversation times about 9 million at my office, a place where truly no one wants to hear about my medical issues. Friends can live with it, but does our mail guy need to know that the reason I won’t be signing for packages on Friday is because I’m having wart surgery? No. Did I tell him? Of course I did! Did I send my boss an e-mail reading:

“Hi! I need to take off on Friday, March 9  (personal day, not vacation) (just for a doctor’s appt) (nothing scandalous!!)”

and then a few days later follow that up with an in-person announcement about what, exactly, I was having done, lest she think I was actually doing something scandalous even though I made it pretty clear from the third parenthetical aside that it was NOT scandalous? You know it! Every single person in the office who so much as looked at me the week leading up to my surgery got the full story, and then some. I had no other choice!

What was I supposed to do? Just casually say “I’ll be out of the office on Friday, see you next week!” and then leave and everyone would just stop thinking about me and go back to business as usual? Um, yeah right. The world is obsessed with me. They need to know what I am up to!

I could say I was going on vacation. But WHERE would I say I was going? What if someone looked at my twitter and saw that I was not at all on vacation but instead was in my house live-tweeting a Boy Meets World marathon?

I could say I was taking off for a doctor’s appointment. It is true! But what would people think I needed taking off a WHOLE day for one apt? Only two possibilities: brain-cancer MRI or abortion. I don’t want anyone to panic and think I’ve come down with a terminal illness. And who are they to judge me for maybe or maybe not having an abortion?!! My body, my choice! Don't tell me what to do! But despite my left-wing-bound-for-eternal-damnation-up-with-Womyn opinions on the rights of a lady and her uterus, I don't really think it is appropriate to have such politically charged conversations in the workplace. (But apparently I think it is A-OK to discuss grotesque medical ailments?)

I could have said I took off for a number of appointments - doctor, dentist, hair cut, acupuncturist - but I just got my hair cut! And that’s just too many crazy details to keep straight. Everyone would obviously remember that I said I was going to the dentist, so then in a few weeks when I leave early to actually go to the dentist I would either have to lie again OR make everyone think that I’m at the dentist like, weekly and ew, Liz must have such disgusting oral hygiene, why’s she all up in that dentist all the time?

And on, and on, and on until the only clear option is to just cut everyone off from any assumptions they may have about my oh-so-important life by blurting out intimate details about the skin virus currently eating through my left foot.

And what will I say today? Now that I am limping? (I'm also wearing giant white sneakers with nude pantyhose - I'm one crimping iron away from a full-on remake of Working Girl over here.) That I sprained my ankle? BUT HOW? Maybe I'll just say I cut my foot. "On what?" people will ask. "ON A SCALPEL DURING WART SURGERY!!!" I will scream, unable to control myself.

It is exhausting being me.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, I DO have photos of my post-op foot! I’m thinking of starting a tumblr, maybe like Warts Are the Original Hipsters where I’ll photoshop my wart wearing ironic mustaches and plaid and stuff, or Tuesdays With Wartie! Once a week she’ll dispense sage life advice and remind us all what really matters. Or something with cats! Or Ryan Gosling???

Shut it down, Liz. Shut. It. Down.

One Awkward Dance

I just got back from a delightful weekend in Savannah, a fact which I mentioned in my most recent post, a post which has now been deleted. In an attempt to write more for NaNoWriMo and what have you, I posted late at night about a fear I have of peeing on airplanes but instead of coming across in a quirky way, I felt my story got sort of gross and sexual in a way I didn’t intend it to and didn’t feel entirely comfortable with (in fact, instead of panicking about dying in the airplane bathroom, I spent the entire flight mentally editing my writing and wishing I could go back in time to improve it.) So I deleted the post and am re-working something better. Editing! Learning! Overwhelming anxiety! Writing is fun. If you already read that one, sorry it was so lame and if you didn’t, well, you better have a realllll good excuse for ignoring me or we are in a fight. Moving on! I’m putting together a full travelogue for The ‘Vannah (no one calls it that) but wanted to share one little tidbit from the trip. As I’d mentioned before, a big group of my college crew was in town for the wedding of one of our dear friends. It was one of the most heartfelt and intimate weddings I have had the pleasure of attending and – sacré bleu! – there were two grooms. All weddings make me weep, I can barely watch an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” without sobbing into my afghan, but there was something about this one that really touched me. Just knowing the adversity that my two friends have had and will continue to have to face in a frequently cruel world makes my heart ache and seeing the love and support around them on their big day was miraculous. I defy anyone to witness these two dudes together or any other loving, committed same-sex couple, for that matter, and just try to argue that their love isn’t as deserving of equal rights as a straight couple. Come on, y’all. Love is love!

(Yes, I am aware that this is One Awkward Year not One Get Up On A Soapbox About Gay Marriage Year but I had to say it. I also know for a fact that Barack Obama reads this blog on the daily, so thought I’d put a little bug in his ear.)

Hi Barry! Say hi to Michelle for me.

The moving wedding ceremony was followed by an equally moving reception and after a southern-style buffet dinner (shrimp and grits in my face forever!) we took to the dance floor. The grooms danced their first together and then each shared a dance with their mothers. It was a beautiful, special, perfect night…until some clown had to ruin it all. I won’t name any names, but let’s just say that someone, no worries who, but a person ended up sprawled out on the dance floor with head under one of the groom’s grandmother’s formal ball gown.

Ok, I’ll name a name. It was me.

I think it would be an understatement to say that I don’t embarrass easily. I welcome embarrassment. I run headfirst into humiliation eager for the attention it can bring me but every so often even I, the Queen of Awkward Moments nearly die from sheer mortification (see also: the driveway incident.)  This was one of those moments.

The DJ had  just slowed it down after an up-beat number or two and put on the Lionel Richie jam “My Endless Love” which we can all agree is one of the Top 5 Most Romantic Songs Of the 80’s, 90’s and Today. It also happens to be the song that my friend’s parents first danced to at their wedding 30 years ago. They took center stage on the dance floor for a few beats before inviting the rest of the guests to join them. My friend Kevin and I took to the floor together but here’s the thing: slow dancing is the worst! I’m not just saying this because no one ever wanted to dance with me in Jr High or High School (basically had to pay my senior prom date) but unless you’re seriously crushin’ on the person you’re dancing with and drunk enough not feel uncomfortable doing what is essentially a stand-up, swaying snuggle in public, slow dancing is the pits. Let’s go full Footloose and outlaw it forever!

To fight the awkwardness, Kev and I busted out our full repartee of hilarious (“hilarious”) moves – we went full-on 8th grade, with hands on shoulders and enough room for the Holy Spirit, we spun, we tangoed, etc. We were already probably ruining the romance and sanctity of this whole sweet moment for our friend’s parents but then we really took it to the next level when we introduced The Dip.

Here is the thing about The Dip. Unless you are professional Dancers with the Stars, both members of the duo need to be VERY explicit about what is happening or else the dipper will dip too soon and the dipee will find herself suspended unsteadily half-way upside down. Eyes will meet for a fateful second before the dippee crashes to the ground, pulling her dipper down with her.

Oh yes, that happened. We were 12 minutes into the reception, WAY too soon for anyone to be laying on the dancefloor and there we were. Luckily, my dress didn’t end up over my head. Unluckily, someone else’s did. Somehow in our tumble, I ended up with my head directly between someone’s legs. I panicked to pull myself off of the floor, only to find my face stuck in a swath of black fabric. A friend of mine later kindly described the scene as “artsy” … here she is in the photo below reenacting the moment over a deep-fried breakfast the next morning. No one got photos of the actual moment, that I know of (!!) but fingers crossed we're spotted flailing about in the background of the wedding video.

And, oh yes. As I mentioned above, that lucky someone who found me climbing up betwixt her legs was none other than our friend, the groom’s GRANDMOTHER.  And don’t think this was one of those “oh, no one saw” situations. Everyone saw. Everyone. I have lived a lifetime of horrors but this one might take the cake. I wanted to throw myself into an active volcano. It usually only takes me 10-20 seconds before I start embracing my embarrassment as potential comedy routines but it took me a solid half hour to get over this one. I’m not sure which is bruised more, my ass or my ego.

My darling dancing partner Kevin (yes, LoCos, that Kevin) was even worse for wear, emotionally. Not a non-stop trainwreck like myself, he’s less accustomed to enormous public displays of humiliation. I was pretty certain he was going to run from the wedding, the state ofGeorgia, theUnited States and never, ever look back. A good friend might let him forget it, but a GREAT FRIEND would write a story about it for the internet, where it will live on for eternity. You’re welcome, bud!

If it makes you feel any better, you’ll now always be…My Endless Love.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnfwnOp6uek&feature=related]

One Awkward Relationship Milestone

Ack, I’ve been gone so long! On top of work and "The Wire," I just moved into a new apartment so I’ve been a little helter skelter of late. But now I’m back with a bang! Or at the very least, an audible toot. This past Saturday I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn, such a hipster now, and all went surprisingly smoothly. I hired movers, which meant I got to laze around eating cheese while other people did all the work. It was glorious. Plus, my gentleman friend B was up for the weekend to help, which meant we got to spend so much time doing nauseating coupley nonsense like shopping for linens at Target and building shelves and organizing my shoe collection. It was que romantique. And amid the domestic bliss we celebrated a major relationship milestone: I farted in front of him for the very first time.

I know I shouldn’t be embarrassed, everyone does it (except Kate Middleton!) but ughhhhhhhh mortifying! As we all know and love, I’m not shy about discussing bowel problems and make frequent reference to my own debilitating digestive issues, but as much as I gleefully enjoy toilet humor, I prefer to keep my own toilet humours to myself. Especially in front of the one person I want to think of me as a perfect ladylike angel from heaven. Or at least someone he wants to bone on the regular.

Ok, it might not technically been the first time, but it was at least the first time neither of us was pretending to be asleep. I swear to God I could go days at a time without so much as a twitch of the intestines until I’m laying little spoon and suddenly it’s like all the Indian food I’ve eaten in my entire life has just kicked in. All the ladies know what I’m talking about, right ladies?!? (Ladies? No, just me? Someone please tell me this is a normal thing?) So there may or may not have been at least one other time where something escaped and then I just laid there pretending to be asleep, praying he was also sleeping or at least had the decency enough to pretend as well and never mention it again. So far, he has, but now I’m telling the whole internet and I’m sure he’s reading this so the jig is very, very up.

So after 6 months of sleepless nights and Bean-o, I finally broke the seal. We were rearranging my new bedroom, I was in the hallway, surveying from the outside in and he was standing just a few feet away inside the room.

“Hmm, let me think,” I said, pausing to observe our handiwork.

As I pondered the position of my bedside table he gazed lovingly back at me, eagerly awaiting my keen home decor insight and then a puff of air escaped my body and obliterated our tender silence. It was very small and did NOT smell but oh, there was no denying it, no passing the blame, no pretending it didn’t happen. He was looking right at me. Just staring at me, waiting for me to speak and instead, my hiney did the talking. We then stood, staring at each other, for a full hour and a half (at least!) while I considered my next move and he tried not to laugh at me. I should have taken the opportunity to bust out a Steve Urkel style “did IIIII doooo thaaaat?” but I couldn’t think quick enough. I must have tooted out all of my creative energy.

Kill me.

So blah, blah, it all ended fine, of course. B apparently found the whole situation to be adorable, but now I’m obviously panicking that the magic is gone. A friend of mine, who’s been in a relationship for years, told me that the magic stays until you pee in front of each other, so there’s always that to look forward to!?! I’m certainly making this more mortifying by telling the whole internet but you know what, someone had to do it! I mean, maybe (hopefully?!) there are millions of women laying awake right now fearful to break wind in front of their significant others who will read this and become emboldened and confident with their bodies and all things their bodies emit? I can be the change the world needs. I am the Mahatma Ghandi of female flatulence.

Ladies, get farting!

Gentlemen, you’re welcome!

One Awkward Social Network

Are you guys on Google+ yet? I am. Jealous? You should be. If you’re unsure of what Google+ is well, you need to crawl out from that rock you live under and get wid it. Haha JK. No one knows what Google+ is. And, actually, good on you for the living under a rock thing. I pay 8 billion dollars a month to live in an apartment with plywood floors and a mouse problem so you may be onto something. Anyhoodle, Google+ is, as far as I can tell, a new social media platform run by…wait for it…Google, which will allegedly will take the place of facebook and streamline and blah blah internet revolutionize hashtag communicate etcetera etcetera etcetera. There’s been a lot of buzz on the internet, I guess, mostly just people on facebook talking about the new facebook which, whoa, my brain. They debuted the system last week or the week before or god knows when with some ‘invitation only’ thing, but it has now made its way down the food chain to good ol Hobags, at which point I think it now becomes obsolete. Despite being a smart young person who works in the communications field and thrives on any form of attention, I can’t figure out this whole social media thing. I actually recently learned after years of hilarious jokes that I am, in fact, 1/8 Amish (!!!!) so I guess I blame my heritage?

It’s just too much! Facebook, I can do. But barely! Every week they change something or put up new features and everyone does Farmville and oh my cataracts! Except old people jokes don’t even apply here because old people can do The Facebook better than I can.  I had a MySpace in college but I only joined that because I found out that this guy I was making out with’s ex-girlfriend had a MySpace and the only way I could see what she was all about was to get my own MySpace so yeah, that happened. Not my finest moment. I started a Twitter account, which was fun for a hot sec, but then I got involved with all sorts of work contacts and just didn’t know what to twit. Er, tweet. I could tweet “professionally” but that seemed both boring and pretentious or I could tweet “personally” but I don’t think my work contacts need to know what really goes on in my brain. So then I had TWO Twitter accounts, one for book shit and one exclusively for boner jokes. Why did the boner cross the road? To get to the other side! Ugh. Both of those accounts quickly fell into disrepair. (On that note, I have now updated my “personal” Twitter! Click the T icon at the top of this page or follow @awkwardliz for a good time. Please?). And I don’t think we need to get into the online dating scene, we all remember how well that went. On top of all of this, my company instituted a corporate networking site, which I think really takes the fun out of the internet if you ask me, where we can get on the web and chat it up about radio shows or book covers or whatever it is that goes on around here. I lost my password. I do expect my employee of the month badge to be arriving any moment.

And here we are. Google+. Another opportunity for me to fail at the internet. This afternoon I decided to give it a go and, just as a test (!) uploaded a link to a recipe I recently made. I thought it would just go on my feed or my page or whatever but it seems, instead, that I e-mailed my entire g-mail inbox with the following message:

"Hey everyone! Look at this salad I recently made for myself and then tell me how jealous you are!"

Charmed, I’m sure. I should consider myself lucky it was just about salad and not like, my favorite lubricants or something (KY warming jelly!) (Just kidding I have never tried that it creeps me out!) (Has anyone tried it and if so please report back in the comments now I am curious?) (AAH shut it down!), but I don’t know who received this e-mail! Both my mom and my gentleman friend, neither of whom are on Google+ received the message, which means it could have gone to old college professors, weirdos I met on OK Cupid, my HR coordinator at work…anyone! BLERGH.

So in summation, if you received an unwanted e-mail about salad, I do apologize. If you would like to be my friend on Google+, please send me an invitation and/or don’t bother, I won’t know the difference! If you know how to use the internet, and would like to guide me, I would be eternally grateful.

And if you like quinoa, look at this salad I recently made for myself and then tell me how jealous you are!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/health/nutrition/13recipehealth.html 

One Awkward Movie Night

Ooof, Mondays. Amiright? I am still recovering from the weekend, from Thursday night actually. Generally I’m in bed no later than 10 PM on school nights, 10:15 on weekends, but this past Thursday I stayed out past 3 AM! I was just boozing it up, throwing it down, shaking it side to side.  

HA! No. I was in the movie theater for a 12:06 AM showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: The Deathlier Hallows: 2 Deathly, 2 Hallow. It was, hands down, the nerdiest thing I have ever been a part of, and this is coming from someone who spent most college weekends hosting Disney Channel viewing parties. I haven’t been surrounded by so many adult virgins since, well, the most recent Disney Channel viewing party.

 

Our showing was one of 12, debuting every minute from midnight through 12:11 AM in a giant multiplex near Penn Station. We arrived 2 hours early and the line was already, literally, around the block. One fullManhattancity block lined with geeks. Girls as early-years Hermione, in kilts and sweaters, nearly everyone with penned-on lightning bolt scars and/or wands. A group carrying swiffers in lieu of brooms. There was a girl with gold wings, presumably dressed as the snitch, and a surprising number of otherwise “normal” looking 20-something guys in what appeared to be very expensive, or expertly hand-made regulation Gryffindor quidditch uniforms. To those gentlemen: call me. There was a group of about a dozen young women with neon yellow hoodies screen printed especially for the occasion with the movie’s title and the date on the front and special nicknames on the back. There was a kid dressed like He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named (Voldemort) in black robes and terrifying white face paint. There were a number of Luna Lovegoods, but none of them were nude. A rare missed opportunity on my end.

 

If it sounds like I’m making fun of these people, oh, I definitely am. But, like that closeted, neckless bully rags on Kurt in Glee, I tease because of true love, and jealousy. I should have dressed up! A regret I’ll take to my grave, I’m sure. Bury me in my nude suit with a long blonde wig, please.

 

The theater was filled with an air of camaraderie as we all shrieked at the romantic parts and gasped at the scary parts and She Who Shall Not Be Named (me) sobbed, audibly and dramatically for a full hour, wiping her snotty face with a coffee-stained paper towel. It was perfection.

 

It was not, surprisingly, the most energetic or the most awkward movie crowd I’ve ever been a part of. I admit, with much shame, that I once went to an opening week showing of one of the Twilight movies, I can’t remember which one.  Maybe the second one? There was a fight on a mountain with a red-headed vampire? She died. Spoiler alert! Lord (Voldemort) knows why I went to this film, I must have been out of wine at home or something. I’ve made my opinions on the Twilight series verrry clear to anyone who will listen, but for those of you who’ve not yet heard my review, allow me to summarize it for you in one word: TERRIBLE. And now, in two words: VERY TERRIBLE.  Bad writing, bad characters, bad plots, bad dialogue, bad romance, bad, bad, bad. Bad! And don’t bother just reading ahead to the fourth book in hopes of a good sex scene because, spoiler alert again, NOTHING HAPPENS. (Or so I hear, anyway. Not like I did that or anything. What a pervy move that would be ha, ha, ha awkward laughter…backs slowly out of the room…)

 

So while it may sound nerdy and awkward to be in a room full of people dressed in wizard costumes, imagine being in a room full of grown-ass women, we’re talking like 40+, we're talking like this lady:

wearing Team Whatever t-shirts, shrieking, practically panting with lust and weeping with joy every time some 16-year-old warewolf rips off his jorts or creeps into his girlfriend’s bedroom in the middle of the night or whatever happens in that movie. That, my friends, is awkward.

 

Actually that’s also probably how my Nude Luna friends react when watching HP movies but for the point of this argument let’s just say: Potter fans are losers, but we could be much worse!

 

As we walked home up 8th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan at 3:00 in the morning the usually busy city streets were quiet. Our route took us past bars and sex shops and The Saddest Place On Earth, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and barely anyone was out, save some drunk revelers stumbling out of bars, some homeless people, and groups of midnight moviegoers, all in their finest Harry Potter gear. It was a veryNew York sort of night and, it actually felt, forgive me for going all Carrie Bradshaw on you, god this is so cheesy, a tiny bit magical.

 

 

One Awkward Trip

Hello friends! It's hot as Hades up in the NYC! I hope you're all staying cool. My tips for beating summer heat: put lots of ice cubes in your pinot grig, and make believe you're living in Colonial Times. Works like a charm! So! This weekend I traveled to gorgeous rural Western Pennsylvania with my gentleman-friend (#humblebrag) to attend a wedding of 2 of his college friends. This whole out-of-town with a significant-other, special event situation was just rife with possibilities for embarrassment – sharing a small hotel bathroom, meeting all of his friends, overzealously participating in the Cha-Cha Slide. There were so, so many ways this weekend could have gone horribly awry but Ol’ Hobags fucking nailed it, yo! I mean, there was this one minor thing where I maybe insulted religious people in front of a preacher’s son and this other time where I was trying to interact with this hot dog salesman and I wanted to say “your secret is safe with me!” (he’s an international spy), but I couldn’t remember how the saying went, so I just yelled “The secret is…!!” and then ran out of the store and then this one other thing where I spilled diet coke all over myself in a rest stop and my man-pal said it was “funny to watch me do things,” (romance!) but other than these small, minor items which so could have happened to anyone, I think I did pretty good for myself. Pretty, pretttty good.

 (If you’d like to make this a drinking game for every time I subtly remind the internet that I'm now getting laaaiiiyyyeedd on the regular, you can now take 3 sips of your iced wine.)

So I was obviously feeling super great about myself on Monday afternoon when I took the Bolt Bus back into the city. I got into Penn Station mid-afternoon, took the subway northward and walked 8 more blocks until, literally one block away from my apartment I realized: I'd left my entire suitcase in the bottom of the bus! All of my most treasured belongings (hair mousse, sandals, several dozen Hershey's Kisses) were in that bag. I stopped in the middle of the street, started sobbing and did what any rational adult lady might do in such a situation: I called my momny. I don’t have “smart phone capabilities” because a) I’m poor and b) they didn’t have iPhones in Colonial times, so I had to frantically beg my mama to look up the Bolt Bus customer service number, while standing, sweating and crying on the sidewalk. I decided at this time that it would be in my best interest to head back towards the scene of the crime and started running, nay, sprinting, downtown in the direction whence I came. I manage to get a representative of Bolt Bus on the phone nearly right away so I’m just galloping down the street, screaming into my old-fashioned cell phone about my lost bag.

So this particular bag is this brand called Vera Bradley, which is like, so east-coast preppy and reminds me of about 85% of the girls I went to college with who are all, pearls and handbags and daddy’s money and blech. Yes, that’s such a stereotypical judgment and I love this bag and sorry if you’re reading this and you love Vera B, I’m sure you’re a perfectly nice person, I’m probably just jealous or something, but I couldn’t bring myself to identify the brand of the bag to the guy at lost and found. I guess I didn’t want them to think I was some kind of snooty jerk, or something? Like, name dropping brands? And also I thought that maybe Bolt Bus employees wouldn’t know this particular brand, so why say it? Which then made me fear I was being really racist and classist and they’d catch on and KNOW what a horrible, snobbish, east-coast, elite racist, awful person I am, so I was just running down the street, crying, yelling into the phone, actively worried about whether or not the guy working the Bolt Bus lost and found hotline thought I was a cool person when...I ran over a small child.

Just mowed that bitch down.

Mild exaggeration! What happened iiissss, I was plowing down the sidewalk, weaving through human traffic when I cut in front of a little girl, maybe like, 2 years old, pushing a baby-doll stroller. As I cut in front of her, she rear-ended my foot with her baby stroller which caused it to fall over, which in turn caused HER to fall over which in turn caused her to start crying and just as her lil tushie hit the pavement, the man on the other end of my cell phone announces that I have 20 minutes to make it 20 blocks downtown or the bus is leaving town – with my suitcase still on it! I’m already a pretentious, brand-name bag owner who is prejudiced against public transit workers and now I have to decide whether to help a crying child who I knocked to the ground or leave her lying there so I can go retrieve my lost hair products.

So I kicked her in the face and kept running.

Just kidding. I didn’t do that! I helped her up and took the subway to Penn Station and talked to the bus driver who did not seem to think I was a jerk in any way (if maybe a little bit flaky), and got my bag back, then I went home and life moved on like normal. But I find that ending a tad dull, so when retelling this story to your friends (you all do that, right?!) let’s stick with the part where I kicked the kid.

One Awkward Meet-Cute

So! Here’s an extremely personal and also gross fact about me: I have a wart on my foot. Barf, ick, ew – I KNOW. It’s disgusting. But shut it. This is a judgment free zone. And believe me, I’ve seen your body and I don’t think you should really be criticizing other people’s flaws, if you catch my drift.   Warts are persistent and thus I’ve had to make multiple trips to ye ole dermatologist, every 3 weeks or so, usually around 8 AM, to have it zapped with freezing liquid nitrogen. It’s a sexy process, believe me.

The first time I go, I notice a dude sitting in the waiting room – second time, same dude! We nod to acknowledge the coincidence and then move on with our lives. At least I do. The third time, March 17 to be exact, I walk in the waiting room and am greeted by a thickly accented voice booming “Good morning, Elizabeth! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!” It’s the same dude! I am about to politely respond when I realize…I’ve never told him my name. He must have overheard the doc calling me into the exam room and committed my name to memory, which I think we can all agree is just super normal, socially acceptable behavior. For a serial killer.

I try to turn to my book, but he persists with a litany of invasive questions, ranging from my St. Patrick’s Day plans to my heritage to my reasons for such frequent doctor visits. I should have told him I had an incurable case of MindYourOwnBeeswax, but I didn’t think of that great joke til just now, so I just politely stammered out one word answers to his questions.

Big mistake. Last week, back for one more appointment (another one! GROSS, I KNOW!) I enter the waiting room with trepidation and breathe a sigh of relief: empty. I’ve no sooner sat down when the door bursts open: “Elizabeth! How are you today! Your doctor is on her way! I saw her in the hall!”

Like a man being hunted by a dino, I played dead.

He sits down across from me and says: “Oh, new boots! You have three pairs of boots. Those ones (black), the brown suede (!!!) and the snow boots. I have never seen this pair before!”

The Brown Suede!!!! Dude is like thisclose to kidnapping me, skinning me and using my flesh to make a 4th pair of boots he can wear at home in the makeshift dermatological waiting room he's surely built in his murder dungeon.

Just when I think he can’t get any creepier he starts asking me about St. Patrick’s Day (he remembers our last encounter!), and asks me if I have a boyfriend which, believe it or not, I could answer in the affirmative, without having to lie (how you like me now, Internet?!). I thought my status might discourage his stalking, but no. He forged on, inquiring what color hair my boyfriend has (presumably so he can die his the same color, in an attempt to woo me? Kill my boyfriend, shave his head and make a wig?), and where, exactly, both my home and office are located.

 I evaded those last two.

At this point the doc called me in for my exam and I’ll spare you the deets on what happened in there, but it was truly grotesque and the wart is still not fully gone (odds of me still having aforementioned boyfriend by the end of this story are getting slimmer and slimmer). I limped back into the waiting room to make a follow-up, but I could have saved the time – my charming friend already knew my schedule. “She’ll be back in three weeks!” he announced, as I made desperate “HELP ME!” eyes at the receptionist and quickly limped away.  

I should probably have reported him to the doctor or sent a quick preliminary note to Dr. Spencer Reid (real person! Look it up!) so he could be on alert for my immanent demise but, of course, all I could do was think about how differently this scenario would have played out had it been written by a Hollywood writing staff.

I’d speculate I devote about 80% of my brain space to romantic comedies – watching them, analyzing them, creating imaginary scripts written by me with Ryan Gosling as the male lead and, no duh, Mila Kunis in the role of Liz Ho (or, if she’s to busy, Helen Mirren) and, most often, just comparing how my reality plays out against the world of romantic comedy. There is a popular a convention of these films known as the “meet-cute” in which two potential romantic partners meet in a contrived way in unusual or comic circumstances. Like, when J-Lo falls down and is saved by sexy Dr. Matthew Mcconaughey in The Wedding Planner or when Richard picked up Julia for some pre-paid sexytimes in Pretty Woman, or when Harry & Ron get randomly paired up as roommates at Hogwarts. 

In movies, these awkward chance encounters always lead to light hijinks followed by heavy petting followed by true love. In real life this just never fucking happens. As a perfect example, had my above doctors appointment been a rom-com, the gentleman would have been a tall, mildly nebbish young man who dipped out early from his job as lead architect on a new center for wayward inner city teens to pick his dear grandmother up from a routine check-up. I, obviously, would have been in for treatment for a mysterious and secret fatal disease which mostly just involves a lot of delicate coughing. Instead, he’s a middle-aged European weirdo with an undisclosed dermatological condition and a boot fetish and I’m having a growth removed from my foot. Que romantique!

Another classic example involves a dog. In rom-com world, dogs are excellent props for a meet-cute. Out for a casual stroll in the park, a subtly gorgeous young woman might become ensnared in the leash of a runaway dog. Who should come to her rescue but his owner – a dead ringer for Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, complete with accent and thigh muscles. In real life, a subtly gorgeous, if noticeably unwashed young woman (me) might be dwalking home from the Laundromat one Sunday afternoon when her one leg becomes the sexual plaything of a runaway dog. With the dog up on his hind legs, his front legs literally wrapped around her thigh, his pelvis thrusting at warp speed, who should come to her rescue but NO ONE. His owner, looking like he just wandered off the set of Winters Bone will just stand there, staring, before giving a nearly toothless grin and drawling: “Sorry, but he can’t help himself. You’re really pretty.”

Que, QUE romantique!

To fully illustrate my point, I’ll give you but one more example, this one coming from the depths of public transportation: the subway. AHollywoodromance might easily involve a “clumsy” professional lady dashing for the subway, the doors about to close, when a knight in shining armor (or at least well-fitted Armani) reaches out his hand and pulls her to safety. Because she’s still so “clumsy” she might spill her coffee on her white blouse but, no worries, he’s still her guy. In real life a clumsy (no quotes needed on this one, once again this person is me) might be dashing for the subway, the doors about to close, when a knight in shining armor (better yet – artfully framed glasses <3) reaches out his hand and pulls her to safety. Because she’s still so clumsy she reaches into her bag to grab her pretentious hardcover book and instead pulls out her birth control pills, flinging them across the train, the hard shell-shaped case bursting open upon connecting with the filthy floor, firing the interior pill packet even further down the car, past seats filled with what can only be nuns, angry über religious types, and her mother in disguise. He is most definitely NOT her man and she lives on for eternity regretting the missed opportunity to turn to him and say, sexily “well, looks like we’ve got nothing to worry about here. Your place, or mine?”

And so I think we can conclude: rom-coms are a bunch of malarkey and awkward meetings are just that. Awkward.

On that note, I’ll bid you adieu. And, I do realize I’ve been The Girl Who Cried Blog lately but, should you not see me round these parts in the future please, I beg you, do not just assume I’m being lazy but immediately alert the local police as I’m most certainly being held captive at the dermatologist’s office.

One Awkward Hair-Do

New Year, New You! That's what I always say. The dawning of a new era is the best time to reinvent yourself spiritually, emotionally and, of course, physically. To welcome in 2011, I'm going to share some simple tips on achieving a really fun, flattering new hair-do. Now this do is really just for special nights out. Birthdays, weddings, funerals, key parties, etc. I tried it for the first time on New Years Eve and the results were spectacular! And it is SO Easy! All you need is a blow dryer, a big round brush, a slightly smaller round brush, water, two patient assistants and, eventually, a pair of scissors. Oh and also wine and Swedish meatballs, but they're not mandatory. Ready? 1. Make sure you're the last one in your apartment to shower, so the water is freezing cold. If you want, you can take a hot shower, but I think this is really important for sort of setting the tone of the hair-do.

2. Watch a couple of You Tube videos on "How to Blow Out Curly Hair" and "Drying with Volume" and stuff. It doesn't matter if you have straight hair, you should still watch these videos because they are interesting! And informational.

3. Using the larger of the two round brushes, blow dry your hair until it is straight and beautiful. Just as you're about to be finished, get this brush slightly stuck on the bottom left side of your head. Just slightly. Have a mild panic attack, invite your first assistant (for me, sister M) into the bathroom to help/tease you, and then just rip it out.

4. Feel embarrassed. Resume blow-drying.

5. Now your hair is totally dry, but it's not as voluminous as the models on YouTube. This is where the smaller (ideally also older, grosser) of the two brushes comes in. You're gonna want to take a giant section of hair from the top middle of your head, also known as the crown, and roll that entire section around the brush, allll the way down to the scalp. Do not miss a single hair, this is important!

6. Now try to remove the hairbrush. If you can get it out, you're doing this wrong and you need to try again. What you want to happen here is for the brush to be so completely stuck on the top/middle portion of your head/hair that it's just not going anywhere. Ever.

7. Panic. A lot.

8. Keep the panic to yourself - remember you're still super embarrassed about the first brush you got stuck in your hair no more than 10 minutes ago. You're an adult who can't brush her own hair. Just deal with it on your own. No need to involve other parties.

9. Get in the shower and attempt to get the brush out of your hair by smearing conditioner all over your head and face. This will only make the brush stick harder, but at least the shower is now warm, and also a good place to cry.

10. After the shower, spend 10-12 minutes frantically ripping at your head, until you realize that the brush is like really super stuck. This is good! At this point, you want your hair to look a little like this:

You are beautiful! Now you're ready to involve other people in your hair styling. Call in the one of your two assistants who has NOT already seen you with a brush stuck to your head (for me, my roommate K), and put him/her to work on your hair! Remember - your assistants can be anyone! Sister, brother, roommate, friend, neighbor, the pizza man, your cat, even your boyfriend. Although, if you're the kind of adult who gets a hairbrush stuck in their hair you're probably very single but hey, there's someone for everyone! That's another thing I always say.

So this is really quality bonding time. For the next hour - 1.5 hours, you sit on the toilet in your fuzzy robe while your assistant rips at your hair and you try not to cry and she tries to refrain from wondering out loud what she ever did to end up with a roommate like you and you are having SO MUCH FUN:

Look at you two! Such a good pair!

11. So step 11 is not mandatory and happens like, concurrent with step 10. This is where the wine/meatballs come in. Remember: you're having FUN. Start snacking! Get assistant two to periodically come into the cold bathroom where you're just hanging, styling, and bring you your favorite nosh. It can be anything you want bourbon/pretzels, beer/marshmallows, tequila/tater tots - it don't matta, just as long as the beverage is alcoholic and the snack is small enough that you can shove a lot of it in your face reallyfast, in an attempt to quell your rapidly increasing anxiety. And by anxiety, I mean the fun kind, like when you're riding a roller coaster, or having a pregnancy scare or trapped in the Saw basement, not the bad kind.

12. After you've been at this for at least an hour, it's time to reevaluate. Give your former self one last look:

Now hand your assistant those scissors and SNIP!

SNIP SNIP SNIP! This should take at least another 30 minutes, if you really want to do it right. SNIP!

13. Get back in the shower (your 3rd shower of the evening), have another cry, get out of the shower and style your hair just like you normally do every single day.

And you're done! A beautiful, simple, big-night out hairstyle! The most exciting thing is how, after just 2.5 hours, your hair will look exactly the same as it did before, except with little short pieces hidden all around the crown of your head. Like a LITERAL crown. You now have a crown of hair and a guaranteed attention-grabbing story at whatever special event you happen to be attending. TA-DAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Here's to a very happy awkward 2011, y'all!

One Awkward Touchdown (Ron Livingston Edition)

Are you ready for some football? I sure am! There is literally nothing more in this world I love more than organized professional sports. Why, just yesterday, I asked a friend if the World Series was over yet. (Spoiler alert: it hasn't even started.) So it should come as no surprise to anyone that not only am I in a fantasy football league, I'm straight up fucking dominating the NFL. True story! My team, The HoBags (obviously) is perched at or near the top of the roster, running my opponents into the ground. I am to Fantasy Football what Taylor Swift is to VMA's: all I do is win. I mean, granted there are like 85 weeks left of this shit and I will inevitably fall from grace immediately, but I'm really relishing my unexpected moment in the sun . I've become a sports maniac. You should hear my trash talk. I throw down major burns like: "I hope Tanya Harding hits all of your running backs in the knees," or "I hope your whole team shoots each other in the feet in a nightclub," or "I hope your team is like the beginning of 'We Are Marshall'...not the inspirational part in the end, with Matthew McConaughey, but the part in the beginning where the whole team dies in that horrible plane crash." Ugh. Definitely didn't learn everything I know about sports from Hollywood or Page Six.  I should become the poster child for Title IX. It just makes no sense why chicks get such a bad rap when it comes to sports. How could dudes possibly find us irritating?

Speaking of dudes, the best part about Football season, aside from all the day-drinking, is obviously all of the eye candy.The "Fantasy" in Fantasy Football definitely stands for those of the deviant, sexual variety. I mean, just DUDES everywhere - t-shirted, Sunday-scruffed, Budweiser drinking DUDES. It's like, if you replaced each grain of salt in the ocean with a hot man (and an occaisonal slut wearing knee-socks and a football jersey with "The Situation" embroidered on the back) (go home, sluts!), and then put a bunch of TV's in that ocean and then dove into it on a Sunday afternoon.  Obviously none of them are hitting on me, duh read this blog, but it sure makes for a lovely swim. (Someone get me my Pulitzer!)

So thanks to my devotion to sports, my love of bloody marys and my desire awkwardly stare at strange men, I found myself at a watering hole known as The Ainsworth this past Sunday, footballing it up. It's barely kick-off, when my friend Laura turns to the group: "Hey, isn't that Berger from Sex & The City? Over there, by the bar?" After a few moments of confusion - Wait...which dude?...where?...Berger's black now? - we spotted him leaning handsomely against the wall, black leather jacket, scruff, pockets full of post-it notes. Invigorated by being in such proximity to a C-list celebrity (sorry, Ron Livingston, you know it's true), we spent the remainder of the afternoon skeeving on him as he moved throughout the bar: "Why is he alone? Who do you think he's texting? Did you know his wife got to eff Don Draper? Do you think if I brought in a printer, he'd go outside and smash it with me?" Finally, ever the cool, jaded New Yorkers, we decided someone needed to interact with him, a task which, obviously, fell to me. Filled with multiple cocktails and a desire to seem "cool" and "natural" (two things I've never been), I choked under pressure and did the smoothest thing I could think of. I ran into him. Intentionally. And I said "Oh, sorry." And he said "no problem." And then................. I walked away.

And that's it. The end. Best story ever? Not even close. I may fail when it comes to"cool," "natural" human interaction, but at least I am a champ at managing imaginary football teams.

I hope you all win the Super Bowl and have to drive off in a Hyundai! Ya burnt!

One Awkward Shower Scene

Despite a dedicated passion to being as lazy as humanly possible, the straining buttons on my favorite jeans finally inspired me to join a gym. All the exercise stuff is honestly not as bad as I'd imagined.  Mainly because all cardio machines come equipped with a little private television set, allowing you to shed your rolls while still keeping up with those krazy Kardashians. But! Do not let the adorable tiny televisions fool you! The gym is a veritable house of horrors. Awkward moments lie around every corner and NO ONE is safe. Perhaps you'll accidentally hit the pause button on your treadmill, mid-run, and be flung into the handlebars. Or think a guy is checking up on you when, really, he's gaping at his own rippling six-pack. Or you'll  spill your entire water bottle onto a pile of yoga mats. Or get the draw string to your gym shorts stuck on the handrail of the stairs as you're trying to make an exit. Or perhaps you'll have a personal trainer,  one who barely speaks English. His idea of discussing your fitness goals will involve literally poking at your love handles and upper-boob/armpit fat, grimacing in disgust.  A month later you'll run into him and he'll say "oh hey, you look . . .better."

But all of these atrocities are no match for the harrowing den of bodies known as the locker room.

I'm no prude and don't have big issues with nudity. Or at least I never thought I did. I mean, last night my roommate found me cooking in my skivvies and simply said: 'I see no-pants season has arrived." But I really think there's a line between lounging on your couch in your boyshorts and prancing around the lavatory with your bush on display. I mean, I understand you need to change into your sports bra. Fine! By all means, casually face your locker, slip from one brassiere into the other, and go on your merry way. You need to towel off post-shower? Who doesn't?! Quickly and efficiently pat down one half of your body while keeping the other under wraps. It is common courtesy. Please DO NOT blow-dry and straighten your hair while wearing only a hip-length golf shirt and the glory of God's creation. And, yes, articles of clothing do contain physical mass. But I honestly don't think a bra and panties is going to tip the scales. Please, please, PLEASE do not weigh yourself in the nude.

Please.

The cherry on top of this Hell sundae is sharing a gym with people you know. And I don't mean your pals or your swim team or your mom. We're talking co-workers, folks. I'm going to go on record right now and say I would be perfectly fine not ever knowing which people sitting across from me in the conference room go brazilian, which keep it natural, and who has the biggest areolae.  Today I sauntered into the locker room, confident after a relatively embarassment-free workout, only to find the director of another department in my company standing naked as the day she was born, lotioning up her legs. There was bending involved. I now need to quit both my gym AND my job. Excellent.

And there you have it. Despite the alleged health and wellness benefits, the emotional strain of the gymnasium will probably kill us all. We're better off staying home, watching televisions on couches in the privacy of our own homes. I mean, there's still a big risk of seeing a stray set of boobs, but at least you know they're probably just Khloe's and, at this point, that's hardly startling.

One Awkward (Non) Pick-Up

It's always exciting when you're in the beer line at a party (at your own house) and a dude (who's met you several times before) comes up to you in the beer line and says "Hey Sexy." And then you (flirting) say "Did you just call me sexy?"

And he (horrified) says "No!! I just called you Lexie...isn't that your name?"

I know I'm supposed to have a secret identity, but I'll tell y'all one thing: my name sho' ain't Lexie.

One Awkward Brunch

So imagine you're at a super poshy restaurant, having brunch, sipping mimosas like Carrie B, and your eggs Benedict comes out burnt. You tell your waiter, right? What if someone spills water on the table? Tell the waiter. What if someone clogs the toilet? ...Tell the waiter? I mean, you need to let someone know, right? It's only polite. But what it wasn't your fault? You don't want him thinking he who smelt it dealt it.  And do you really need to be discussing toilet issues with the man serving you bagels and lox? Just no.

Anyway, this predicament presented itself to a friend of mine today. She took the mature route and alerted our waiter to the potty-blockage issue. All seemed under control until he stopped by our table to refill our drinks and ask "so, were you able to use the toilets? Did everything go OK in there?"

Ugh. TMI.

One Awkward Bottle of Wine

Like all sophisticated people I enjoy a fine wine. And like most sophisticated people, I have no idea what "fine wine" means. This creates all sorts of horrors when out at a dining establishment trying to get my classy drink on. It turns out that the act of ordering a bottle of wine at a restaurant is one of life's most uncomfortable rituals. You know how it goes. You order the 2nd cheapest bottle of wine on the menu so as not to look like a cheap skate, but still not break the bank (a friend recently told me that they actually price up the lower quality wines because they're onto our tricks, but I'm standing by this plan).

The waiter brings over the bottle of wine and stands there and presents it to you, like a freshly slaughtered duck. What's the appropriate response? "neat label!" or "yes, fine sir, that looks divine" or "word UP, crack that bitch open!" I just never know. Then he hangs around the table, opening the wine (which, as someone formerly in food service, I know is just as painful as them) and you and your dining partners just kind of sit there. Do you continue your conversation? Even if it involves the phrase "I'm pretty sure I was at least topless?" Do you pretend to be talking about something intellectual, like the Iran Contra Agreement? Seriously, someone please tell me.

Then, and this is worst of all, it's time to get interactive. Last night at dinner the waiter uncorked the vino and handed me the cork. Just stuck it right down in front of me. I, of course, put it to my face and smelled it. Turns out that was the wrong choice. You're just supposed to touch it, rub all up on it, and make sure it is nice and moist (future AwkWORD of the Day!) Apparently wine is fine with a nice moist cork.

Then the waiter pours you a small sample of wine and you swish it all around in your glass and smell it and drop some strangely pervy sounding vocab terms like "full bodied" and "nice legs" and anything else you can remember them doing  in Sideways and then, after you give an authoritative nod of approval, they finally fill er up.

And then you can drink that bottle of wine reallllly fast, and by the time they open the second, third and fourth bottles of the evening, you're prepared to handle the situation like a truly sophisticated boozehound.