NYC: The City You Forgot You Knew

I’m a bit of a pop culture groupie. And New York City—with it’s starring role in so many movies and TV shows—is a popular culture lover’s dream. Forever a fan of both the small and large screen, I’ve been able to enjoy countless portrayals of life as I will never know it thanks to the magic of television and cinema throughout the years. 

I had not been to New York prior to this visit and yet I was amazed at how familiar it was to me once I arrived. Rounding every corner provided the strongest sense of deja vu I’ve ever experienced. And taking in many of the sights was like looking into the face of a dear, old friend. Whether you’ve been to the city or not, take a look at some of these famous places. Perhaps you will find them to be as familiar as I did…

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Spanx: A True Holiday Miracle

I don’t know how they do it and I don’t care. It doesn’t matter how they manufacture something capable of shaving 5 to 10 pounds off of my “lumpy places” — just so long as they keep on doing it. Forever.

Packing a little extra luggage in the trunk is usually inevitable this time of year what with all the gathering, merry-making and drinking to drown out the sound of your annoying relatives as they get all up in yo’ biz.

But the question then comes—as you try to stuff that trunk full ‘o goodies into your favorite sweater dress or skinny black skirt—what the hell do you do with all of this stuff that’s accumulated about your butt, thighs and tummy?

Enter my holiday BFF: Spanx. Trust me, if you aren’t already a believer… drag your own larger-than-normal trunk to the store and pick up a pair. Or two. Or three. I promise they’re on sale right now.

PROBLEM.

SOLUTION.

It’s a bit of a trick and little bit of torture trying to get them on and off… but the results are so very worth it. Just imagine slamming all the cookies, chocolate, cheese, brandy, rum and yummy treats made with real butter and heavy cream that your heart desires and still looking stellar for the office Christmas party or New Year’s Eve bash.

As soon as they’re over you can go home and—after about 90 minutes of cursing as you wrestle your way out of your own private sausage casing—slip into the warm, forgiving embrace of your sweats… and no one will be the wiser.

To Be or Not To Be… Carded

There comes a time in every woman’s life when they just stop asking. And unlike the fantasies we may have entertained when we were 16 or 18, it turns out it really isn’t all that great a feeling.

We spend our under-aged “kitten years” wishing we were old enough to wander casually into a grown-up establishment, brimming with cool confidence, make eyes at the handsome bartender and seductively order something “neat,” “dirty,” “extra dry,” “shaken, not stirred” or “on the rocks” like it’s our job. In other words… we can’t wait to be viewed as independent, mature members of society.

But in reality… when that magical times comes when we CAN wander casually into a grown-up establishment, brimming with cool confidence, make eyes at the handsome bartender and seductively order something “neat,” “dirty,” “extra dry,” “shaken, not stirred” or “on the rocks” like it’s our job… we sit there secretly praying he will ask to see our I.D. In other words…  we hope to be viewed as that long-gone “kitten,” perhaps not even old enough to grace the place with the innocence of our presence.

And the “eyes” we make at him, well… they are one of two varieties… the pleading or the daring. Pleading with him: OH PLEEEEEEZE ask to see my I.D. you know I can’t possibly be older than 21, don’t you? Or daring him NOT to ask, thus threatening his very life on what might happen next. If NOT carded (gulp) we are likely to fling ourselves across the bar, grab his towel and strangle him with it for so much as THINKING we are so obviously “of age” that we aren’t even worth the asking.

The only time… THE ONLY TIME that I DO NOT want to be carded is when I’ve forgotten my I.D. Which is, of course, as Murphy’s Law clearly states… the exact moment the poor bastard will ask. This happened recently after an Ohio State game and Lee was concerned that I would not be permitted anywhere without my I.D. Not because I look that young, but because they were college bars and college bars tend to be ultra cautious. But we played the whole “Guess Who’s More Likely To Let You In Without An I.D. Sociology Game” and chose the right bouncer… and it worked. And I got in. That time.

Had they not let me in, I was going to execute a new strategy where I put my face up REALLY CLOSE to the person making the judgment call that was going to effect the entire rest of my evening and ask them whether or not my crow’s feet would be an acceptable form of identification.

Poor bartenders and bouncers. It must be tough to be them… dealing on a daily basis with women perched ever so precariously on the edge of sanity as we wrestle with this whole getting older thing. But here’s an FYI… I am 36. Yes 36. Fifteen freakin’ years beyond the legal limit, and far from being considered a “kitten” but I still want to be asked if for no other reason than to flatter my ancient ass. For what it’s worth… There’s an additional 20% in it for you if you do.

Single White Female Seeks…

Girlfriends. That’s right I said girlfriends. I am searching for a few good female friends… though I’d settle for just one. I have actually been considering taking out an ad and conducting interviews. I’m not searching for the virtual kind of friends with whom I can “chat” electronically across the miles about all sorts of random topics. Those are wonderful, please don’t get me wrong.

I realize that many of you reading this right now are those sorts of “friends” to me. But today I am specifically referring to the real-life-flesh-and-blood-in-your-physical-company kind of friends.

… Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey … Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine … Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha … And to be fair to the bros out there … Vince, “E”, Ari, Drama and Turtle …

There’s a simple reason why these famous “friends” from popular culture have worked their way into our living rooms and ultimately our hearts over the years. We all want what they appear to have. They have a bond and a closeness that cannot be denied. Someone is always there to bail you out, cheer you up, calm you down or stay in with you and share a bottle of wine.

Some people are fortunate enough to have friends like that in real life. But sadly, for me, I am not one of those people. Make no mistake. I have some amazing friends with whom I have stayed in touch over the years, but we no longer live in the same state, let alone the same city. And the ones who do live in close proximity… well, it seems we’re all too busy with our own little lives to make the time to nurture a friendship. And I am equally as guilty as anyone else when it comes to this.

But now, at 36, I am wishing for that close friend or friends with whom I can share anything. ANYTHING. The kind of friend…

  • who would tell me what a jerk he is (even if he isn’t) because it is what I need to hear in that moment.
  • I have a standing date with on Monday nights to watch The Big C, Nurse Jackie or The United States of Tara.
  • who would tell me the harsh truth no matter how hard it is to hear.
  • who would NOT post compromising, reputation-altering or career-threatening photos or videos of me on Facebook or YouTube (no matter how great their viral potential may actually be).
  • who lived nearby and would show up at 3 a.m. if I think my cat is dying (or just hacking up a giant hairball).
  • who would help me hide a body if necessary (just sayin’).

Any interested party, living within a 15-mile radius and fitting this description please feel free to submit an application to yours truly.

Willingness to share shoes, accessories and clothing a plus. Co-dependant, jealousy-prone, psychopathic, passive-aggressive narcissists need not apply.

Secret Single Behavior

While not everyone is a Sex in the City fan, I would venture to guess that everyone has some secret practices or behaviors that they would just assume keep that way. I have been a fan of the show for years and have seen every episode at least 3 times. But one of my favorites is the one where Carrie is adjusting to a new life living with Aidan, her boyfriend who has just moved in…

“Carrie lamented to the girls about the loss of her “secret single behavior,” which for her includes eating a stack of saltines with grape jelly while standing up in the kitchen reading fashion magazines. Miranda admitted, “I like to put Vaseline on my hands and stick them in those Borghese conditioning gloves while watching infomercials.”

I have lived alone for 6 years now and am currently in a long-distance relationship. Therefore, much of my weekly interaction with “the man” is via phone or Skype. The other night while on the phone with him we began talking about the things we do all by ourselves when no one is around. In other words … our secret, single behavior (SSB).

I realize that by sharing this with all of you, it will no longer remain “secret,” but that’s OK. I’ll still keep the really odd or creepy ones to myself. I feel like sharing mainly because I am fascinated by human behavior and this inquiring mind wants to know what your SSB is. You know… the old I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours kind of thing.

Here are a few of mine:

When no one is around, I like to…

  • mindlessly watch reruns of Seinfeld and Friends (that I have seen a thousand times already) while reciting the dialogue in tandem with the actors. Verbatim.
  • bake fresh cinnamon rolls and drink mugs of warm coffee while watching indy films and staying in my pajamas for as long as possible on Saturdays. Even if it is mid-June and 75 degrees and sunny.
  • eat microwave caramel corn for dinner.
  • literally lie on the floor playing cat and mouse with Stan, my cat. Obviously, I am the mouse.
  • curl up with a heating pad when I don’t have cramps. Even if it is mid-June and 75 degrees and sunny.
  • read 3-months worth of horoscopes from my Glamour magazines while studying the calendar.
Now that I’ve shown you mine, will you please show me yours? Add to this list in the Comments section and either make me feel like I’m more normal than I suspect or share with all of us just how weird you are.

The Life I Was Meant to Lead?

Every morning after hitting the snooze button for probably the sixth time, I crawl out of bed and curse the morning. Staring in the mirror at the matching set of luggage beneath my eyes and the pillow marks etched deeply into my face, it becomes increasingly clear to me… This is not the life I was meant to lead.

I believe with every fiber of my being that I was meant to be rich and pampered. This is not a new concept for me. In the early years I merely thought that I would enjoy living that way.Who wouldn’t? However, things grew more serious as I became cognizant of a subtle but consistent migration toward behaviors and attitudes supporting this “I deserve to be pampered” way of life. And now… NOW it has become a full-on revelation that this is WHO I AM and I shouldn’t fight it any longer.

You see I am discovering as I get older, that there are very few things that I actually care to do for myself. Why can’t someone else do my laundry, iron my clothes, change my sheets, make my bed, empty my dishwasher, clean my house, wash and wax my car (no, make that detail my car), do my grocery shopping, cook for me, sort my mail, pay my bills and clean up after the cat when he hacks up a hairball on my freshly steam-cleaned-by-somebody-else white rug?

And while we’re on the subject of doing things vs. NOT doing things… Why must I work? I mean at all? Why can’t money just appear in my bank account? Why can’t I spend my days sleeping until the Lord wakes me, reading and watching television all the while becoming a student of Suze, The Doctors, Oprah, Chelsey, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha—learning how to lead my very best, fiscally-responsible, healthy, witty, well-balanced, fabulously-accessorized life? Why can’t I spend my days shoe shopping in the farthest-reaching corners of the globe? I mean seriously, I really FEEL it in my bones that this is the life that I was intended, no make that designed to live.

Which then begs the question: If this truly is WHO I am… yet there is still no magical trust fund with my name on it… What in the hell am I supposed to do about it? As long as I continue to do my own laundry, ironing, dishes, etc. I will feel like I am living a lie.

I suppose I shouldn’t completely lose hope. They say that knowing is half the battle. And if that’s true… then I guess I’m at least halfway there.