The Collected Works of Adrienne Cardon
Has anyone actually read these things called nursery rhymes? They're, what's the word, ghastly? Yes, I'll try ghastly for 200.
The fact that we read these R-rated relics to babies is a tad strange. Although rhymey and sing-songy and deliciously bite-sized, they are really just EPITAPHS OF DOOM AND GLOOM.
Poverty (Pop Goes the Weasel), Violence (Fee Fi Fo Fum), Widespread Disease (Ring a Round o Roses), Sexual Scandal (Georgie Porgie), Hunger (Old Mother Hubbard), Obesity (Handy Spandy Jack o Dandy) Domestic Violence (Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater), Decaying Infrastructure (London Bridge is Falling Down), A Pig Who is Unjustly Excluded from Grocery Shopping! (This Little Piggy).
They are so dark and violent. The line "Be he alive or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make my bread"? A man who locks up his wife in a giant gourd? No wonder babies scream out mid-night. Maybe what I mistook for cutting molars is a vivid nightmare about bones being removed to make a loaf of sourdough! And yet. And yet.
They're sorta cool. But honestly, they're not really relevant anymore. If we insist on exposing our kids to these dark little ditties, we should at least put them in am updated, recognizable context. Right? Like modernize them a bit.
Jack Splatz ate only trans-fats
His wife was a strict vegan
They lobbied against Bloomberg's soda tax
Because they can't live without caffeine
Here comes Mister White Collar
Makes all his money on the high dollar
When stocks go still, he launders the bills
He's an admirable Wall Street baller
Little drone fly
Get civilian kiddies
And don't bat an eye
Run, Run, Run
Little kiddies run
The drone will pass you overhead
And scorch you like the sun
Got Jacky D.
Got Marcie P.
Got Pauly D.
But Hepatitis B.
It won't get me!
Tina met a man at an LA club
Who smelled of malt and rye
He slid a rufie into her drink
And waited for time to pass by
Hey diddle diddle
Our nation has too much credit card debt
Goodnight. The world has gone to pot! If you need me I'll be boarding up the windows on my house and stockpiling water and wheat! See you in the millenium!
Sometime in my life, I want to present or be presented with a giant check.
I was working on some freelance this morning and I quickly ran upstairs to get something. When I came back, Milo was on tip-toe in front of my desk, dragging the mighty mouse around in Illustrator and clicking away to his heart's content. So pleased with himself.
Jared is STILL doing production work, Milo is sleeping in some weird position, leaving me to my devices. SOO I just made my gift to you, dear friend/acquaintance/parole officer -- a VALENTUNE!
Here's a playlist just for you, cause we like, like each other and stuff.
Cuddle up with your spouse, significant other, or Nora Ephron and enjoy yourself. But not too much. This is a Thursday night after all.
Happy Valentine's Day (this week). In honor of this most venerated holiday, I'd like to talk about a different kind of love. The Girl Crush.
Though unable to date the phrase back to its first use, I think I first heard it floating around female lexicons somewhere around the year 2000, probably, knowing the crowds I ran in, in reference to the arthouse crossover Amelie.
The titular character was disgustingly adorable - a twee brunette with large brown eyes and a heart of gold. She talked to her bedroom decor, played elaborate puzzles with a garden gnome and dressed not unlike the Lone Ranger all in her twisty-turvy plot to find love. And France be damned if it didn't work. Men and women the world over were immediately and severely enamored with Audrey Tautou.
What propels hetero men and women the world over to develop these levels of admiration (is it love, envy, respect?) and then publicly designate them as such?
I was sure I didn't have any.
Thinking back, not only do I indeed have girl crushes, my earliest GCs significantly predate Amelie. I think I've had them all along.
My first GC was Princess Buttercup. I thought she was like a cooler, real-life version of a Disney Princess. She had the perfect early nineties wave of long blond locks. She taught me not only did you have to have a dash of ladylike wit and grit, you had to be a fox to snag someone like young Cary Elwes. And wow, she's aged so well. I hope to look like her at 45.
Then of course comes the trio of musician CGs.
Robyn, my fearless Swedish pop-pixie, who dances and dresses like a 5-year old and makes KILLER tunes to work out to. . .
And rounding things out in GC land is the fictional Liz Lemon. Because she gets to say and do the dorky things I say and do, only she does them in public. She is either my fictional clone, or BFF. And because when I saw this scene for the first time, it was night and I was eating cheese, and I probably did a spit take.
and Yoko Ono.
Okay. Now tell me I'm not alone here. Confirm to me that the girl crush (and bromance) is a thing. Go.
The boy is ten months old. Question Mark!
The mom is in love. Double Exclamation Mark!
There's that axiom that you don't know what it will feel like to love someone so much. That's true. You could try though. For me it's like this. Imagine swimming in a newly liquid sky through puffy cartoon clouds and that your arms stretch so far you can pull the entire world into your chest and hug it tight toward you, and then you craugh, which is a word I just made up that combines a deep belly laugh stirred up with a long, cleansing cry. Now cover that in cheese, not nacho cheese in a can type crap, but real good, real sharp cheese that's so pricey you can only afford to buy a few ounces at a time. Mix in all the chemical electric neurological reactions you will ever feel, from endorphins, seratonin, dopamine. This feels like the emotional analogue to the most designer drug. I'm sure Freud would have a field day here. But Freud is a schmohawk. And he never met this baby.
The intense love thing makes sense though. The Mormon faith teaches that the way to really love someone with pure, enduring, Christlike love is to serve them. Love=service. By that mark it becomes clear. I'm in the service of this little guy pretty much all day, every day, every week, etc. It came more natural to me that I would have guessed.
He is the most gentle, happy, intuitive, mild-mannered baby and little observer of life. Sometimes he's so observant and focused I think he's an undercover baby journalist, taking notes on how often I clean his highchair and the kitchen in general, which is not. Muckracking all the day long. My baby Upton Sinclair.
Speaking of which, in addition to his normal developments, I am pleased to announce he is also reading The Jungle with perfect diction. With a head so big, I'd be disappointed with any lesser performance.
My favorite books this year were both nonfiction (one biography). I don't think that's ever happened. I've always enjoyed well-written nonfiction and duly acknowledge, when done right, it's as potent a form storytelling as anything else, but it has never held the near-magical, whizzpop allure for me that fiction does. Being said, it's taken a few fantastic journalists to top my list this year.
Every Love Story is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max
Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten
Most Evil by Steve Hodel
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
And Then We Came To The End by Josh Ferris
Every Love Story is a Ghost Story
Obviously, I enjoyed Max's piecing-together of my foremost literary idol and muse. Easy sell.
All writers "borrow" and I steal from him probably more than anyone else, just as he stole from DeLillo and Pynchon, and they stole from . . . .etc. I've written about DFW before, and my admiration for the man has only grown since I fortuitously stumbled across him my first week in the MFA. I've read about half of his work posthumously, and even more interviews and microbiographies, and I'm sure more will continue to surface. I knew a lot about him back then, and what I knew I greatly respected, but I loved this more complete portrait of the artist as a young (and brilliant) man.
As a undergrad, he was often a mess - a depressive, cocky, sweaty schlub - that much I knew - but it was nice to see how Max unearthed some new material that helps in understanding why he was those things. He was a gentle, polite midwesterner, in love with love and ideation and the Big Questions, but underneath he was battling some very real demons, including the depression that would ultimately claim his life. Though I don't find all his works brilliant (a handful's uber-postmodernism get in the way, big-time) DFW has always held some cosmic pull for me, and I'm starting to understand why.
I guess I could put it this way - I've read many books and stories and felt like I truly understood what the author (or characters) were getting at or going through. This empathy comes easy for me. What has NEVER happened, is that as I read about his life, I felt like he was somehow - in some metaphysical, corndog way - able to understand me. I'm reading all about his Illinois childhood and love of reading and sports and junk culture and all that, and I feel like as I'm reading about his life, he is understanding mine. There are major and syrupy logic problems here, which of course DFW, a born logician, would love to refute if he were living.
Also, I loved this essay he wrote on cruises in the 90's. I just reread it after I went on my inaugural cruise last week and it made me laugh even more the second time.
Fiddler in the Subway
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten came out of nowhere for me. I'd never even heard of the man. My father-in-law gave Jared this book in the spring, and the two of us kept stealing it off each other's nightstands for months. We'd be in bed each reading our books, and one of us would laugh out loud, or say "did you read this one? This one is great."
It's not often that I've loved any complication of stories in its entirety, but I'd say that was the case here. He's a very funny writer and he's picked some grand topics. All of its enjoyable, but my favorite stories actually come closer to the end of the book. "The Armpit of America" made me LOL a few times, "Doonesbury's War" and "None of the Above" were some of the best non-political political essays I've read in a long time, and "Fatal Distraction" left me in tears. Like, ugly, crying-alone-in-my-bed-in-pajamas-at-11-in-the-morning- tears. Recommended.
The others I will only say a little about.
Most Evil. Most fascinating story of a Marquis de Sade type serial killer, (written by his homicide detective son!) Quick, someone make a miniseries!
Outliers. Finally got around to reading this, though it's been on my nightstand for more than a couple years. It's interesting, easy. I'm amazed how often I'm able to join conversations based on what I've learned from these stories.
And Then We Came To The End feels close to home for anyone who's worked in an office for a long period of time, where your co-workers somehow spend more time with you than anyone else, and you know about their medical problems in more detail than you should, and their love lives, and you've memorized there wardrobe entirely. Even funnier if you've worked in advertising. You'll get all the inside jokes and there are some ones in there that ring both hilarious and true.
Don't you know I only listen to NPR now? And old mix CDs with the likes of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Fleetwood Mac and whatever my friend Sam gave me in college? And like, lots of Robyn when I'm working out?
I'm changing the title of this category.
Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. Any episode with Paula Poundstone.
Just look at that face. And tie.
Music in 2012. I think? Anything worth hearing? I sort of feel weird about Paula's image representing this category.
1. There is a story
2. The story works
3. I feel an emotion other than boredom, irritation, or complete and unresolved confusion
4. The absence of Katherine Heigl
That's it. I don't necessarily have to agree with the filmmaker's intent, any moral, worry about the fps rate, or anything else. It's just got to nail the 4 principles and I will probably like it. Of course last year I saw movies that didn't qualify, of which there are legion.
Silver Linings Playbook
The "Am I Crazy? or Is this Movie About a 'Crazy' Guy Awesome?" Award:
Okay. Technically this movie came out in 2011, which means it basically gets to theaters near me a year later. And it was the best I saw last year. So I'm counting it. Contemporary stylists should take note. This is how style works, when in the service of a rock solid script. For anyone who has ever wondered "am I crazy?" "Am I making all this up?" "Can Michael Shannon actually act, contrary to what he demonstrates in Premium Rush?" these answers and more await you. And does Jessica Chastain.
The Emperor's New Clothes Award:
The Andersons (Wes, Paul)
Everyone on earth shouted praises of these two last year and I wanted to join on in. But you guys, the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes. Maybe he's wearing like a teensy codpiece or something, but not much more.
Moonrise Kingdom. This one plays like Wes Anderson parodying Wes Anderson. I'm fine with a filmmaker having a signature, but this one feels like a flaccid Anderson just pushed "GO" on the Generate Wes Anderson Movie machine and this little tchotchke of a movie spat out. Plus, I'm not too keen on movies where I don't feel a single emotion (other than boredom) for an hour and a half. I long for the halcyon days of Rushmore, the movie which I fear Anderson will never surpass.
The Master. I loved the premise. Loved. I loved the performances. I loved the cinematography. I wanted to love the story. I wish someone like Aronofsky or Peter Weir would have made it instead. Or Sidney Lumet arisen from his grave. Actually, I wish someone would still yet take another shot at this concept, with a new screenplay.
Movies I Sill Want To See, That Might've Made One Of These Lists Had I Not Had a Baby, Thus Preventing Me From Going To The Movie Theatre, And While We're At It, Sleeping, Hanging Out With Friends, Exercising, And Reading The Moviegoer By Walker Percy Which Has Been On My Nightstand For Months And Which I Have Failed To Read For The Third Time But Is Thematically Connected To This Post, In A Way:
Zero Dark Thirty
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Cosby Show
The "Can This Show Get Any Better?" Award
How DOES IT END? And DOES IT HAVE TO?
I find Zooey Deschanel intolerable. There. I said it. Let the hate mail commence.
*Someday I will emotionally steel myself to write about this series and why, despite pushing 25-years-old, it's my favorite show ever.
1. BalletBoys Tickets - What a champ your boss is, huh? A guy who is always talking to you about "The Game" and who seems to really get a kick out of sweaty groups of men bumping up against each other in the name of sport. Well now you can give him the gift of his dreams - BalletBoy tickets! After all, who displays more outright athleticism than this all-male ballet troupe? 2. Ladies in Lavender Criterion Collection Fantasy Football is obviously just a front for your boss to spend so many work hours glued to his monitor watching his two favorite actors Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in the lovely and moving tale of spinsters in a small Cornish village in the early 20th century. 3. Peyton Manning's half-eaten Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito Now available on ebay. GET IN THE GAME!
It's that time of year. When you begrudgingly give gifts to people who you don't really like.
Maybe it's a co-worker. Or maybe a boss. Or an in-law. Or maybe for Secret Santas you drew the one guy in your book club that never emotionally left his MFA program and turns the discussion toward literary theory when you just want to talk themes and eat snacks. In any event, now there's a lot of quarter-hearted gift-giving going to be happening, and you need to deliver something that will send the right passive-aggressive message.
If you've found yourself in a similar pinch, please take solace that you're not alone in your miserliness. Rather, find inspiration from these gift guides detailing ideas for the all types of people you unfortunately have to buy stuff for this year.
And now. Part I.
1. Edible Foraged Wood From Free-Range Pinyon Pine. Nothing says "I really care about responsible eating and want everyone to know it," like foraged wood. Pinyon pine has the nuttiness of Idiazabal, the scent of your neighborhood park and the texture of a wet gym towel. Delicious artisanal goodness. 2. Eames Rocker Earrings The most stereotypically coveted chair of all your design friends can now swing from their earlobes. Of course, they'd never be able to afford the real thing working freelance and part-time at their local bar, so now they can have a much smaller version. 3. Finfolk 1-Year Subscription Ever wish you could find a magazine that covered your dual loves of dolphins and typography? This magazine is just for you, I mean, your friend! Don't miss the holiday issue covering the latest in dolphin folk music, the saddening epidemic of dolphin ennui, and the how-tos of preparing small-batch seaweed. 4. Ombre Umbro The nineties are back in vogue, and so is ombre everything! OMG ombre! 5. Literal Infinity Scarf Heh heh. Heh. 6. Gold-dipped toilette tissue Since we're gilding everything in sight, why not toilette paper? (Toilette - it's French.) This will look so cute in their chevron-themed bathroom, dontcha think? 7. Dog that sets type What could be hipper than a typesetting dog? This dog knows his lowercase like the back of his paw. Order now, and your friend would even have time to have him typeset their letterpress Christmas card! Yip-yip, yip-yip, yippee!
I've been a little underwhelmed by both candidates this election cycle.
What happened to all the showmen? The rock and roll candidates? Rick Perry was a total nutter, but at least he kept it interesting. Herman Cain, you were marvelously entertaining.
At best the entertainment factor of this election has been in line with the jobs report. Dismal. If you're looking to be entertained, the Parties are where the parties are at. They're keeping it nice and spicy on both sides. You know, like in terms of crazy talk. FOX NEWS. LOOKING AT YOU.
But the candidates.
Beh. Reasonable, viable options. Almost zero crazy-talk soundbites floating around there this time. Boring.
Obama. Where's the pull-myself-up-by-my-boot straps bravado? Where's the spunk? The Children's choir singing original praises? Boring. Boring. Boring.
Et tu, Romney.
Since the entertainment value of this election season was pretty much annihilated after Mitt's nomination, it has to become about something else.
Now we are presented with a choice between two articulate, wealthy, fairly measured men, who at the end of the day are more moderate than their party wants them to be, who at the end of the day attest that they mostly both want the same thing - strong families, strong healthcare system, strong middle class, strong economy.
"I'll create jobs and improve the economy."
"I'll help the middle class."
"I'll provide affordable healthcare.
Two candidates who certainly don't agree on everything, but who do have a lot of eerily similar goals yet employ very different strategies. They have very different, complex plans to get to there, but clearly, all roads lead to Rome. Not all roads will actually get you there, but that's where they're heading at the very least. So it really comes down to a few things:
1) Who you believe
2) Whose road to Rome you like better
So there it is. Whose plan, whose hypothesis, do you like better? Because that's all they are, hypotheses. Theories. I smirk when I hear both men make promises that they have no business making. Safety is not guaranteed. Nothing is. And past performance, though important and worth looking into, is not indicative.
Obama and Romney have both been closer on issues that their parties are comfortable with. They've both weaved in and out on policy in fiscal and social issues. They both have marvelous successes and failures under their belts. As I expect. They are POLITICIANS. I think people forget that. That's all they are. Not saviors, not Gods, and not ravenous demons either.
However, what these candidates have done is not as important as what they will do should either win the election. Just because Obama and Romney employed certain tactics and yielded economic "failures" and "successes" in years past, does not mean they will in the future.
Nothing is perfectly replicable. Even if the strategy and tactics are the same, external conditions (socially, economically, politically) have changed. The experiment will yield different results.
So we rely on who we believe and what hypothesis we believe. They have their hypotheses, their educated guesses, and that's what we have, too.
The choice of a guess.
Yes, I'm a bit I'm aggravated by my lack of choices (we have 200 cereals to pick from in the supermarket, but fundamentally 2 presidential candidates?) That's a discussion for later.
a) who you believe
b) Whose road to Rome you like better
I believe both of them. Both of them are telling the truth (and lying, and spinning with the fervor of a doped-up Armstrong). Truth is, in spite of their utter boringness, and specific brand of un-truthtelling, both of these men are men I can respect. I could believe in either. Neither of them are the terrible, uncaring human beings their parties or any media might have us believe they are.
Obama is not the out-of-control-Neo-Keynesian, irresponsible socialist I've heard people swear he is. And Romney is not the feeble, uncaring, out-of-touch plutocrat. This is insultingly reductive. And you should be insulted, too, that you, as a political consumer as expected to believe such reductions. We are smarter than these stereotypes we're being fed, America.
And I will try to support and respect either candidate should they win.
But since I have the choice, I have gathered as much info as I can get ahold of (and attempted to verify, which is increasingly difficult in a world that scarily parallels the movie Network), and I will use my educated guess as to how I think we might get to Rome.
And I guess Mitt Romney.
Juliane Moore. You've sort of turned into a parody of yourself, but you do know how to clean up. Modesty suits you. Yellow for gingers!
Dave Smoot is killing it in this 1998 Old Navy striped polo. The heather-gray. The blue WWJD bracelet. And what a wonderful accessory in that Eastpack backpack. He really nails the junior-high band teacher look. Definitely the best-dressed production-sound mixer the Emmys have ever seen. And he is really giving Louie CK a run for his money.
So, which of these fashionistas dazzled you the most?
Since my baby left me
I've found a new place to dwell
It's down at the end of lonely street
at Ramada Inn and Suites!
Welcome to the Hotel Ramada
Such a lovely place
(such a lovely place)
Such a lovely continental breakfast
(such a lovely continental breakfast)
Living it up at the Hotel Ramada!
If you like Hotel Ramadas
And gettin' in from the rain
If you like little bars of handsoap
And pastel landscapes of Spain
If you like makin' love at midnight
On 150-thread count sheets
Than Hotel Ramada is the one for you
Our senior discount can't be beat!
You know what, it's been fun recapping DUH, CLEARLY, THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE.
And I guess I have Dawson's Creek to thank for that in a roundabout sort of way.
But it turns out, the show is just not very good in light of other teen dramas (My So-Called Life, for instance). In fact, Dawson's Creek is pretty bad. I made it into episode 3 of Season 5 and I decided I wasn't even interested in seeing it into its final two seasons. Mostly because Joey Potter became completely intolerable. I sort of saw that coming.
Pacey gets more likeable.
Dawson is redeemed from a pre-collegiate life of whininess.
But that Joey. Still sullen and baby-voiced and just not so fun as a character. (This is still really fun to watch, though.)
Also, Mitch dies in an ice cream accident!!!
So, about that 10-year high school reunion.
I seriously debated flying back for the festivities. Like, looked up plane tickets and such. One of my BFFs is arranging the reunion, and would give me updates on people who had committed to attend. (Blair? I'd love to see her!)
Because I'm not on Facebook, I don't see updates from people in my Kansas past. Mostly I'm okay with that. But in light of the approaching events, I looked a few people up.
Like the girl who I always played second violin to. Don't worry, she's a professional violinist now. I will literally always be second fiddle. I'm very okay with that though.
And the artsy girl who always made awesome comments in class and was cool without really trying. Cool concept jewelry!
What can I say, I guess I've always been interested in ambitious workaholic types.
But who knows who all these other awkward, Abercrombie-clad teenagers turned out to be! That's really what's most appealing to me about a reunion. To see the ways people have changed and grown into themselves and are more comfortable in their skin. To see the ways in which they'd surprise me, and maybe had surprised themselves. (The homecoming queen is pursuing a doctorate in Homiletics and Liturgics? Surprising. Surprising and awesome.)
I want to get a look at all these people's presents, and futures. I want to see the cool things they're doing with their lives. That's a pretty persuasive argument for going.
That, and I got a smokin-hot post-partum bod to show off. Heh. Heh.
But just as I was nearing ticket-purchase, my present and future caught up with me. I was invited to speak at a conference in New York on faith and creativity. I guess I'm doing cool things also.
And although I am so excited to take my 5-month old son to see his mother's post-collegiate home, I will admit, I'm a little sad I won't be able to make it to my first home to see the people who are way cooler than Dawson and crew.
C'est la vie. I guess it's time to relive another time in my life via Netflix.
I hear She-Ra is on Instant Play.
First of all, congratulations are in order. You are still alive.You didn't succumb to leprosy or horrid death. The apocalypse has not yet come, though technically 4 months of the year 2012 remain so now is not the time to count your eggs. Possible Mayan Doomsday approacheth.
For these reasons and more I applaud your transition in becoming A Successful Adult.
18-year-old Adrienne, I know you're on the path towards becoming a journalist. Might want to steer clear of that one. It's a long and winding road.
Turns out you still don't need to use math very much, so good job on taking the easy way out and stopping after Algebra 1. Don't be ashamed when you go to dinner parties and people make offhand references to theorems and other junk. You don't need to know that! And yes, you will go to parties where people will be talking about sine and cosine and other weird computerspeak.
On that note, you may have put 2 and 2 together (because that's math you CAN do) and figured out that you'll have friends who are much smarter than you. Learn to deal with this. You still do a mean mingle.
You will not be the valedictorian in high school. Or in college.
You are still blogging after 10 years. I hate to be the one to tell you, but you are no longer on Xanga. You are also no longer on MySpace. Of course, at 18 you don't know what MySpace is, but you're none the worse for this.
I know right now you think being grounded is the worst possible punishment in the modern world, but listen, get over it. Turns out you're going to be a bigtime homebody anyway. Embrace your introvert now.
Think really hard about this question - do you really want to spend $55 to see the Beastie Boys in concert? Wouldn't you rather save that money so in 4 years you could see Elton John, or even Paul McCartney?
Also, the time will come when you have the chance to attend a Elliott Smith show at the University of Utah. You'll probably talk yourself out of it and do homework that's due the next day. Maybe rethink this - I hope I'm not giving anything away, but it could be his last show.
On that note, why not slow down buying compact discs. You never know.
Some financial advice now. You and a friend create a website your freshman year of college called ChipmanChicks.com (named after your dorm). You create profiles of girls in your hall, complete with posed pictures of each girl, detailing their interests, dating status, etc. You might seriously want to consider expanding this venture. Like, now.
You may not believe this, but you like Utah. A lot. You even bought a home there.
You may not believe this, but you married a Mormon boy.
You may not believe this, but turns out Dawson's Creek is sort of awful. Really, don't kid yourself.
Of the 101 Things to Do By Age 30 list, you have completed the following:
3. Be a creative director.
11. Become a mother.
19. Learn how to cook Thai.
42. Become well versed in cheese.
44. Go on a cheese tour.
48. Learn how to confront people.
74. Get a video game system that I can play Mario Kart on.
But you are well on your way to achieving perhaps the most important:
101. Be someone my 5 year-old self and 90-year old self would be proud of
Rock on, 18 year-old Adrienne. You do okay, kid.
Waaay before there were Pacey, Joey, Jack, Andy, Jen and Dawson, there were the Uglies.
My friend Corinne and I invented The Ugly Club during some boring class in 7th grade. We made membership cards emblazoned with "UGLY." Members 000000000001 and 000000000002. For some reason, our young self-deprecation stuck. Though we weren't after exclusivity, we gradually added 3 more members, and that seemed to round things out. The Ugly Club was born.
These girls made high school life not only tolerable, but remarkable. And now, even after high school has long ended, and we moved to NYC, Nashville, Chicago, Kansas City and Provo, I still need them. They were smart and weird girls then and now they're the ambitious, talented, and hilarious women who still love dance parties, karaoke, snob food, book clubs, and very very inappropriate jokes. The TV dramedy I will someday write will be about them.
We did it, you guys. We lasted longer than the Spice Girls.
Here's to being Ugly.
Back to Dawson's Creek for a moment now.
Remember that tortured "will-they-or-won't-they?" relationship between Joey and Dawson? Ladies - didn't you want that kind of thing more than anything? I certainly did. (Mostly because instead of drinking and partying, they stayed in and ate pizza and watched campy movies and danced around their feelings with the grace of Elaine Benes. Dreamy, huh.)
Spoiler Alert - I didn't find that kind of love. I doubt most high schoolers do. Instead I settled for relationships that at best just hinted at the kind of friendlove exhibited in the soapy teen series.
Friendlove - n. The overwhelming desire to have a tension and drama-filled relationship with your best friend of the opposite sex, secretly hoping that someday the unspoken chemistry between the two of you will reach some critical mass! and that you'll finally divulge your true feelings! and enjoy the best kiss of your young adult life. Romantic comedies are rife with this kind of lie.
My first boyfriend, of course, did not fit this category.
He was a fellow lifeguard at the pool I worked at during the summers. He was blond and tan and looked like he dived out of a Sweet Valley High novel - broad shouldered, blue-eyed, strong-jawed, cholorine-scented. He looked like the kind of guy who would've been named Brad, and could've easily pulled off hot pink swim trunks.
We met in the summer of my sophomore year and spent the long days frolicking in the water like tan, blond, glistening dolphins, subsisting only on young love and concession-stand soft pretzels. Of course, we were terribly unsuited for each other.
We spent nearly a year dating, though I'm not sure now looking back how that worked. He was sweet. In the way that vanilla ice cream is sweet. He played football, but the wrong kind (ie. American). He didn't think Waiting For Guffman was funny, so . . . that should've tipped me off. He was someone I was attracted to but didn't like all that much. His company was fine, and there wasn't much better at the time. He ended up cheating on me with a senior cheerleader, an act totally typical! of a Brad who could pull off hot pink swim trunks. Very D. Creek, eh?
Next came the older guy.
If you're going to have a rebound guy, you want a dashing, charming, bad-boy type who will sweep you off your Doc Martins and make you forget all your troubles. Instead, I somehow stumbled into Mike.
He was another "nice" fellow. Sensitive, mellow, go-with-the-flow. I could make him laugh and I liked that. Sort of passionless in his pursuits, except when it came to his jet-black Camaro.* In that area he was very, well, driven. Much of our relationship was spent cruising around at night in his car listening to Dave Matthews Band, his favorite artist. In hindsight, I wonder if he dated me to have a passenger-side accessory to his beloved car. Once again, slim pickings at my high school.
*I realize the Camaro + driving for recreation + Kansas upbringing makes me sound like I walked straight out of a John Cougar Mellencamp song. Oh gosh, did I?
Enter the guy I tried to fabricate friendlove with for over 2 years to disastrous results.
Troy. Not enough and somehow too much to say about this one.
He was kind of a Dawson type, even dressed the same, though it was no longer fashionable. With Troy I wanted friendlove, I wanted to (semi-consciously) recreate some kind of relationship modeled after the ones I saw in the movies. Of course, this was a unbelievably stupid thing to do, because I was not Joey Potter (thank heaven) and he was not Dawson.
The thing was he was the one guy I liked a lot as a friend, unlike the guys I actually dated. This friendship couldn't be manipulated into more than friendship, to my dismay, and it ended badly. I am entirely to blame for this lack of romantic or platonic relationship.
Instead, I ended up kissing one of his best friends outside of his house. Oops?
= one of his best friends outside his house.
I hesitate to mention him, because it wasn't much of anything. However, it sort of was a game changer for me in terms of my taste in men.
Nigel was the object of every smart girl's affection and the ultimate triple-hyphenate - sexy, cool, mysterious. He sort of(?) looked like Seth from The O.C. and played in a band and carried a briefcase instead of a backpack. COUNTER CULTURE ALERT! He was a hipster before I even knew what that meant. He also wrote and performed his own poetry. Swoon. He was the antitheses to the football player, and a VERY welcome alternative. Of course, he was trying just as hard as they were, only he ran on a different platform.
It started with a month of hands-off flirting. Followed by an extremely brief and desctructive affair.
As the story goes, high school graduation came and went with no friendlove in sight.
I felt severely cheated out of a high school sweetheart and felt like I hadn't learned very much about relationships, except that I didn't like who I was as a part of them. I always acted false somehow. Probably because I was screwed up from too much television.
Upon now watching Dawson's Creek with wizened eyes, it occurred to me that I was off the mark in even wanting a Joey/Dawson kind of love. Those two were probably the most static and irritating characters on the show and their friendlove soon began to cloy. Pacey Witter was much more the interesting character. I digress.
But thank goodness for college, right? It's where you get to repent for all your high school crushes and relationships and actually go after guys who you like for the right reasons and who ignite something in you that makes the both of you better.
And in the end you do much, much better than a Dawson, or a Pacey.
Or I did, anyway.
Did you hear that, high-school Adrienne? You'll get an improved, true version of friendlove. You'll get the real-life filmmaker - articulate and hilarious and passionate. He'll love Waiting for Guffman, prefer math rock to anything resembling Dave Matthews, hate to go swimming, hate football even more, share your love for antipasto, and very organically use words in conversations that would have even stumped Dawson.
And you'll never believe this one. He'll be blond.
Adrienne currently works as a Creative Director at BYUtv. She is a brand strategist, poet, jeweler, graphic designer and cheesemonger trapped in a copywriter's body. Needless to say, boredom is never an issue.
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