Shame


While I was home over Christmas, I had my yearly facial with the awesome esthetician I’ve been seeing since I was 15  (15, and then in the throes of dermatological unpleasantness).  She is the mistress of the art of extraction, and my first visit to her was as much a cultural touchstone of my entry into modern womanhood as my first trip to the gynecologist.  Though no less painful than my first pap, at least the esthetician rubbed my face and shoulders down with essential oils, and I had glowy skin a week later, once the zits she coaxed to the surface and the redness had subsided.  The gyno just poked me with a metal spatula and gave me the pill… which made me break out.  (Sudden stroke of brilliant idiocy – spas that also offer pap smears!  I am trademarking that business idea right now.  Whole Women’s Health & Beauty sees you inside and out!).

Sadly, after treating my skin for almost 15 years and my own mother’s for 30, our esthetician was hanging up her tweezers, imported creams, and bug zapper to retire.  This would be the last proper facial I will have in a while, as I’ve yet to find anyone half as good.

Lying back in the chair, listening to Enya, snuggled in my quilt, wholly safe in the hands of a professional, I was sad, and wanted to mark the occasion somehow.  What about… a lip wax?  I’d been annoyed at the downy hairs on my upper lip for some time.  Terri is the only person I would let wax and pluck my eyebrows, given her skill, and the only person I trusted to tell me if an upper-lip wax would be a terrible mistake, or a bold move forwards. (more…)

Sometimes individual things add up to form a light-shedding, bigger picture.  Sometimes it is not a pretty one, and sometimes it is deceptively pretty, which is not to say that either may be accurate.  No, wait, come back!  I promise, I am going somewhere with this, Your Honor.

I have a Blackberry, which I regularly use as a mental scribbling pad or an electronic ribbon-around-the-finger to remind me to do stuff.  It is better than a ribbon, because it vibrates and blinks and when I pull it out of its little leather case, it says things to me, like:  (19:00) MILK, or (21:00) Client meeting tmmw – IRON/GO TO BED, or (10:30) SandPOW.  These are all recent reminders that Past Tailfeather sent myself at various points.  The first, clearly, was to remind myself to pick up some milk on the way home from work.  The second was to remind myself not to stay up until midnight drinking wine and watching Community on the internet but to, instead, pluck the least crumpled blouse out of my wardrobe and pass out at 11:00 pm after forgetting to call my mother.  The third, sadly, I have stared at for the last three weeks as a saved reminder in my Outlook calendar and still have no idea to what it pertains.  I have a friend nicknamed Sandy, but what is POW?  I refuse to delete it until I figure it out.  It is like a riddle of my own creation.

This Blackberry is a company-owned one, which is another reason I tend to keep my non-work-related reminders cryptic.  This is why one might enter “RX,” for example, instead of “pick up yeast infect meds.”  Also, it is catchier.  So with both work and personal reminders, I sometimes find myself making lists that grow throughout the day.  A work example would be if I have several clients or contacts to call in Southeast Asia.  As I sort through them the day before, my 9:00 am reminder grows from:  (9:00) Call Client X, to (9:00) Call Client X, Provider Y, Client D, Contact A, Contact C.  And then I know to start calling those people early in the day so I can spend my morning sweet-talking them.  Likewise, a personal errand list might grow from: (18:30) Nails, to (18:30) Nails, shower gel, toothpicks, sea bass, SORT RECYCLING.

Those items on my last example list are not related.  Like, that is at least two stops, if not three, plus home from there, as I do not professionally sort recycling or get my nails done at a place where I can also buy seafood.  And yet if you were a television detective trying to solve my murder by reviewing my planner, you might be confuddled.   “Let’s just go to Soho,” you would say wearily.  “It must be some underground perv thing.  Or drugs.  Shower Gel is a big thing now, right?  Oh, sorry, yeah.  That’s Bath Salts.” (more…)

If there is one thing that every young radical who has the misfortune of reaching their late-twenties and discovering that non-profit work fails to pay the electricity bill will discover, it’s that her cooler friends will accuse her of selling out.  And in all likelihood, the accusation will be just, and the “victim” of said insinuation or outright accusation will find herself with only a shaky stiletto on which to stand.

To many people, it doesn’t matter how much I recycle, that I walk to work, or how much money I donate to Planned Parenthood and the Red Cross.  The fact that I listen to NPR only consolidates my place in the affluent white liberal ranks.  I am a meat-eater who feels guilt because I am too lazy to make it to the organic farmer’s market every weekend.  I have a Banksy coffee-table book.  I am friends with my housekeeper.  I yearn to be a roller derby girl but don’t have time and was rejected by Teach for America.  My best friend bought me a Kindle for Christmas.  I am an embarrassing living embodiment of Stuff White People Like.

And yet, last week, when my best friend from high school jokingly emailed me something about my job as a “corporate shill,” I about spluttered my Merlot all over my Netbook.  I am far from moneyed, after all!  My apartment doesn’t even have a dishwasher (and I will tell you, I never thought I would be practically 30 and living without basic mod-cons like central air).  I do have a classic dryer from the 1970s, and a television that, as best I can tell, was the finest model on offer in 1995.  I have a mouse for a roommate and a potentially murderous mold problem in my bathroom.

If I were a proper corporate shill, I would have a condo and a standing appointment for a weekly bikini wax.  I would fucking know how to ski.  I would not have a deep-discount wine habit and holes in the toes of all my socks.  Just because he’s living in one of the Carolinas and getting his PhD in Hippie Pot-Smoking does not mean that I suddenly know how to iron. (more…)

It’s only a game-deciding goal in the World Cup.  A reasonable venue for the worst call of all freakin’ time.  There are about three American players being fouled, and yet the ref somehow managed to see something no one else in the entire stadium world could.  Amazing.

So, I’ve been in this long-term relationship – five-and-a-half years, to be exact – and things haven’t been going well recently.  To be honest, it’s been a rocky relationship from the start, and I can only ascribe its duration to my own complacency, oft-misplaced loyalty, and perhaps a mutual recognition of tenacity.  There have been good times, no doubt, but also a fair share of bad times, and throughout it all, a nagging sense of boredom and of things left undone and unsaid.

When Johnson and I got together, I was 22 years old and coming out of a nasty patch; I latched on to him with enthusiasm.  He was a foreigner in my hometown, we were both looking for some security, and the mutual benefits were immediate and obvious.  It didn’t take long for me to invest my heart and time, shrugging off the occasional errant suitor in the face of Johnson’s promises of longevity and fulfillment.  If I was good and devoted to him, he would be good to me, and together, we would go places.

It didn’t take long before I could see we were going to have problems.  He had a roving eye, as is his wont, and I was going to have to fight to remain in his affections.  Over the years, other pretty girls came and went, but I continued to declare my commitment and one by one, they dropped by the wayside.  I wanted to prove I was dutiful and in it for the long-haul, but sometimes the frustrations of all this struggle to stay visible and important overwhelmed me.  I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just sail on an even-keel; maybe we weren’t so well-matched after all, and I should be seeking attention elsewhere. (more…)

Once you get out of school, it becomes harder for the bullies among us to persecute people online, which is obviously a real shame.  Sure, for the junior high set there’s been MySpace and the high schoolers have the Facebook, and college and grad students have the benefits of JuicyCampus or other social boards to slander and libel their peers (click on any of those links for a good time!), but what of us grown-ups, out in the real world?

I mean, LinkedIn and Viadeo have been great professional networking tools, but I’ve often found them lacking – where’s the free-for-all forum where I can launch personal attacks and deride my colleagues for their laziness, brown-nosing, or just being giant whores, with the comfort of anonymity?

Well, the internet isn’t about to fail us, hence the advent of the professional and anonymous peer review board, Unvarnished.  Unvarnished allows users to dish about their co-workers’ job performances from the safety of their home computers and is fresh out of beta testing.  The concept is similar to Amazon user reviews and, if it isn’t already obvious to you, can be abused just as handily.  From Time Online:

It’s a concept that has caused some controversy, particularly since Unvarnished allows employees to be reviewed anonymously and with no way of removing a negative review. But the co-founders, veterans of sites like LinkedIn and eBay, think there’s a market for honest, unfiltered feedback about how individuals perform in their jobs and say their site will ultimately be more useful than the carefully selected job references or curated blurbs on someone’s LinkedIn profile. “We’re trying to take how professional reputation works in the offline world and port that online,” says co-founder Peter Kazanjy.

Yeah, you bet your ass there will be a market for it.  A sweaty, grimy, desperate black market.  Because why launch a whisper campaign within your organization when it might be traced back to you, when you can simply put it online and remove the risk of accountability, not to mention ensuring that your grievances will be available, forever, to potential employers and contacts worldwide?  It’s the future, y’all. (more…)

Speaking of giant colons…  According to news sources, including Minnesota Public Radio correspondent Bob Collins (who personally witnessed the eyesore), this is an actual billboard overlooking I-45 in Minnesota and not, as was originally posited, a Photoshop job.  The sign was allegedly rented by a group of Twin Cities small-businessmen who wish to remain anonymous, although I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to publicly proclaim themselves purveyors of such topical wit.  Collins is on a mission to identify these fun-loving scamps, and were I a local resident, I would indeed be curious as to which businesses I should no longer be patronizing.

So while my response to the question at hand would be an unwavering, “hell no,” I will admit that it was jarring to see the original rube, that charismatic, nonsensical man-of-the-people, after so much recent overexposure to his sociopathic heir apparent, Sarah Palin.  The more things change, y’all…

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