But Enough About You

A couple of months ago, I Googled myself to survey the search results of my LinkedIn profile, as I wanted to check the prominence of my public internet presence.  Formerly, my profile was satisfyingly amongst the top results, and while my private Facebook page would pull up as well, it is locked down and unproblematic.  This is all important, as I am very likely to be Googled by clients due to my business, and networking is crucial my job.

Imagine my consternation when I discovered that a 20-year-old nude model who shares my “Professional Tailfeather” moniker has been exposing herself all over the internets, granting interviews to taste-questionable websites, and generally undermining the professionalism of Professional Tailfeathers everywhere.  Even worse, she is somehow from my hometown, which has led to a number of dodgy Facebook friend requests (DENIED).  I had sort of blocked this out until my alarmed father sent me a link today to this “bouncy co-ed,” which he had innocently stumbled across whilst researching a midwestern distillery that shares our surname.  Apparently, Undermining-Professional Tailfeather has conquered less literal aspects of the internet search, thanks to our uncommon last name.

Oh, Professional Tailfeathers.  Can we not agree to conduct ourselves with some degree of decorum on the world-wide-whatsit?  One of you already claimed the eponymous Twitter account, with giggly tweets about the X-Factor and underage British binge-drinking.  Should we not agree on some ground rules?  As a small consolation prize, Professional-Tailfeather-the-Naked may be gorgeous and practically illegal, but my LinkedIn profile still trumps her latest pizza-themed, soft-core porn shoot in terms of Google results.  So this is my headline:  Soulless corporate shill beats out bare-breasted-and-pepperonied beauty in the internet search sweepstakes!  At least for now…

Although I am not normally in the habit of paraphrasing Rita Rudner, I recently did so in an office card for a colleague’s wedding, noting that I was delighted he’d found that special person he wants to annoy for the rest of his life.  The present Boy Person and I are not nearly that far gone, but have taken great pleasure in irritating each other for the last couple of years; it’s all part of the loving foundation on which long-term relationships are based.  Whether we’re goosing each other in the stairwell, making hideous faces behind each others’ backs, or imploring one another to, please, really, just shut up, we’re never short of love or totally obnoxious behavior.

I don’t know why we find such mutual amusement in annoying each other – I don’t mean to the point of actual anger, but certainly irritation of the junior high variety.  My latest and greatest achievement is the bottle of nail biting solution I’ve brought home in an effort to curb his nasty habit.  He’s agreed to this treatment after two years of my pleas for hygiene and observations that the stubs on his fingertips look like ten little bald men, and so every other night, I get to coat his nails in highly flammable polish that tastes like a pure Everclear hangover.

And, oh, it is delightful to witness him absentmindedly snag a cuticle between his teeth, and hack like he’s coughing up a hairball.  The faces, the sputtering, the whingeing…  My enjoyment of the spectacle even surpasses the nearly-maternal pride I feel when he displays his half millimeter of nail growth (“Look!  White bits!  There are white bits on the ends!”).  Good job, baby.

You see, I also consider this just revenge, of a sort, due to an incident from early on in our relationship.  Allow me to set the scene of the crime.  (more…)

My Boy Person had to go out of town for five nights last week.  Since he moved in, he’s been job-hunting, so has taken on the vast majority of the housework during the day and, ’50s-style, has dinner on the table for me when I get home from the office.  Were he not bored senseless, and did we not need the money, I’d say it’s a pretty sweet set-up.  I’ve been doing some light cooking on the weekends (mostly egg-boiling) and some laundry here and there so as not to get totally spoiled, but he’s definitely taken over the day-to-day chores and I’ve been able to work later in the evenings (yay).

Before he left, he joked that he couldn’t imagine how I survived without him.  “Ha ha,” I said, and thwacked him, “I managed just fine living on my own for the last ten years, so I expect I’ll manage.”  What rubbish, right?  As though I am thoroughly undomesticated!

Except I forgot that I kind of am.  I had big plans for the week.  I was going to take a bubble bath, paint my nails, bleach and depilate my various ladyparts.  I was going to call my family at home to catch up since the holidays, hit two different exercise classes, and had grand notions of reorganizing the closet.  I even planned out my menu for the week (I did have vague recollections of how much I hate cooking when I get home from work), and bought stuffed pasta and pre-seasoned pork escalope and a head of broccoli I could steam in minutes.  It was going to be so productive and relaxing!  (more…)

work_stressA few weeks ago, I did a post about my Boy Person’s impending move-in date, and how, while I was excited, I was also weighing in my mind the ways in which I view this new definition of commitment as a limitation of opportunity.  How very funny, in retrospect.  This week is my first week as a cohabitant, and the challenges thus far are a little different that the ones I was expecting.

I planned to do my second post on the division of housework and personal time – you know, the standard day-to-day things that keep us all ticking along, and seek input on how you divvy up your own allotments of chores and space as cohabitants.  While space is something the Boy and I are still working on, all of that has come secondary to The Most Important Thing in My Life:  My Job.

As seems to be the nature of my job, things lurch along without much of a problem until, all of a sudden!, we enter a solid week or two of panic mode, wherein I am at the office 11 hours a day, perpetually stressed and wiped out and completely incapable of carrying on functional relationships with the people in my Real-Life, to the point where I am too exhausted and irritable to even make a phone call when I drag my ass home.  I get so physically and emotionally tired that I am a fount of irritability.  I am crabby.  I am short-tempered.  I am brittle.  I am the worst version of myself and I have no time for anyone else.  I never meet friends during the week and I don’t even like to call my mom, because when I get home I just want to inhale the little bubble of solitude I have for three hours until I collapse into bed to have anxiety-dreams and wake up dehydrated and achey at 4:00 am.  It is melodramatic, completely self-centered, and I feel helpless to do anything about it.  (more…)

papparazziI did a post last year called Gradations of Celebrity Sightings after tripping over Boris Becker on my way to work, and we all had fun recounting our most random encounters with The Famous (you New Yorkers always win; for the record, I have since seen Bill Nighy outside Pret a Manger – twice!  So, yeah.). 

On an excellent night out a while ago, my friend Shanelle and I ended up having many, many drinks with a slew of papparazzi who’d been camped outside a nearby hotspot with their heavy-artillery camera equipment.  This was even better than an actual celeb meeting in many ways, as they were happy to share horror stories about their predatory ways and inside scoop on the stalking-for-pay business.  For fun, they even gave us a mini-celeb experience, shouting “Tailfeather!  Tailfeather, over here!” blinding us with flashbulbs and rapid-fire shots, so that passers-by stopped to gawp and try to figure out how we were famous (and we could have been any one of Britain’s roughly 10,000 reality show “stars”).  We giggled, thinking that probably a few of those people would go home and say they saw someone famous outside a Mayfair pub.  “Who was it?”, their friends would ask excitedly.  “I’m not sure… But definitely someone.  One of them was blonde, and there were papparazzi.  It must have been that drunk bird off of Big Brother!”

That evening eventually wound down when the papparazzo who’d been chatting up Shanelle got a text that Leonardo DiCaprio was at a SoHo lounge, and slipped off into the night after a money shot, gruffly whispering at her not to tell any of his friends where he’d gone.  I was reminded of this recently when the boy and I were out for a Thai meal at a little place near Goodge Street and he froze with his fork halfway to his mouth, clearly deaf to whatever riveting story about my office I was in the midst of.  His eyes tracked a group of skinny hipsters as they were warmly greeted and led to the more private dining area downstairs.  “WHAT,” I said.  “You totally just missed the part of my story where Todd stood in front of my desk and clipped his fingernails with my scissors.  That was the climax.  What IS IT.” (more…)

pageantTo be honest, I actually have a pretty high threshold for people babbling about their kids.  I like kids, I used to work with them, and I genuinely find them fascinating and their parents’ sense of delight charming.  Kids are great.  I am interested in their first words, the playground throwdowns, and how their respective parents are tackling puberty issues.  I’m a good audience for kid stories in general.

What I have a lower tolerance for, however, is both the total overshare aspects of childrearing and the stupified superiority complexes exhibited by some parents, which is why I had to stay at work an hour late today to make up for the fact that I read every single entry in the STFU, Parents tumblr.  I was alerted to this blog courtesy of a Salon Broadsheet post, and it happily exceeded my expectations.

STFUParents is a lovingly-crafted wee gem that encapsulates (and takes to task) the smug and pedestrian tendencies exhibited by some folks the second they discover they’re about to birth their own “little miracle.”  Specifically targeting the mind-numbing and nausea-inducing Facebook updates people impose on their friends (and by friends I may mean people-they-have-not-actually-spoken-to-in-twenty-years) about their shitting, puking bundles of overachieving joy, STFUParents hilariously skewers obsessive parenthood, lack of awareness, and the self-satisfied “Supermom!”

What breed of parent are we talking about here?  Not necessarily the nice people you work with, who might bust out with a wry and exhausted anecdote about their firstborn teething.  Not your cool friends who have, yeah, experienced a life-changing event and share some of the joys and punishments with you, without losing their perspective or their ability to relate.  Rather, the blog tackles those folks who have taken the self-congratulatory and exclusive road by proclaiming things like:  “You can only relate if your (sic) a parent!!!! lol :).”  Or:  “Baby Cleopatra unleashed an atomic bomb today!!!  I didn’t know poo could explode out the back of the diaper and into the hair!  LMAO!!!” (more…)

london-underground-lf7uI don’t know how often this happens on subway systems elsewhere in the world (seemingly most dramatically in Japan, based on this movie I saw when I went through an extended J-Horror phase), but as someone who only takes the tube or rail once a week or so, it seems disturbingly frequent.

You thunder down the escalators and push through the crowd to your platform, barely listening to the station announcements in the background, until your ears pick up:  “There will be delays on the Piccadilly line, due to a body on the tracks.”  Which I suppose is the sedate way of saying:  “Some poor bastard’s thrown himself in front of a train and, man, is it a messy scene.” 

In the two or three times I’ve heard this unfortunate announcement, I’ve noticed an interesting reaction in myself, which is often visible or audible among my fellow travelers.  First is, “God, how terrible.”  And then seconds later, “Fuck, I’m going to be late.”  I think this is a fascinating, alarming, and ultimately natural reaction, but how weird when you think about it.  You’re hit first by empathy, almost dizzied by the pathos of the human condition, and then so quickly and practically the focus turns to how this unknown person’s initially unrelated tragedy is affecting you.

According to an article in Time from 2008:

Last year in the U.K., 194 people killed themselves on the tracks of mass-transit systems, with some 50 of those choosing the sooty tunnels of the Tube. New York City’s subway averages 26 suicides a year. In Paris, 24 died on the tracks of the Métro last year. While it is a fallacy to imagine any suicide as a solitary act — even the tidiest affair leaves survivors stricken — death by train is a particularly declaratory form of killing oneself.  It makes the act a form of theater — for the driver, watching it all from behind his windshield, and for the rest of us. (more…)

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