Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jeans Shopping, i.e. fear and loathing at Nordstrom

Suck in, flatten rib cage, exhale, exhale, exhale ... ouch!

If only not breathing were in style this season.

I find that there are few more painful processes in life than searching for the perfect denim. We live in a society where jeans are a wearable calling card of social status as well as the wrapping paper of a perfect physique. Well, I am neither a glowing socialite nor a Calvin Klein model, so jeans shopping, for me, could be its own chapter in the writings of the Marquis de Sade.

While we aim for this:

This is, generally, the end result:

The hunt goes something like this:

1. Stop eating. Two to three days prior to scheduled shopping trip, liquids and chicken breasts are your only allowable sustenance, preparing the body to be pinched, dragged, squeezed and tucked into thick and unforgiving denim.

2. Keep an open mind. Your size? Negotiable. I like to wander the racks of Sevens, Joe's, Rocks, Papers, and take anything from size 27 (feeling good) to 30 (an act of total and complete resignation).

3. Experiment. Lie on the floor, lean back, bend over -- whatever it takes to get the suckers zipped. Sometimes I get creative, hopping up and down in the dressing room, hoping that the inertia of my descending body will be enough to lodge my thighs firmly in the pants.

4. Big girls DO cry. It's okay to be upset. Feel free to call the jeans names. Assume the pants were mis-marked. I like to tug the guilty pair off and throw them in the corner, glaring at the faded blue heap on the floor. I mutter something like, "You stupid, sorry, joke of a jean. You're ugly, disgusting, and not remotely fashionable. I hate you." Disregard the confused, yet fearful, look the salesgirl shoots at you.

5. Come to the general assumption that you can live a successful life in skirts, dresses, and stretchy pants.

Jeans? Superfluous. Denim was sooo last year.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do

After three years of part-time work and fine-combed merino wool, the time has come for me to leave Ann Taylor.

The separation has been amicable. I will miss my discount and the uncanny ability I had to get paid for performing virtually no work at all.

Goodbye, Ann.

Unfortunately, there is a dark horse in this love triangle. I have found a new passion, greener pastures and, well, a better discount.

Hello, Banana.

Ann, I believe the choice here is quite obvious.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Men: Rhetorically and Categorically

2,615,929--The population of Utah in 2006.

Allow me to break this down. If there are 2.6 million people in Utah, it's safe to say that half of them are male. Of those, let's say a quarter are ages 20-40. That said, perhaps a third are single. (I feel I'm being liberal here, as this is the premier state for weddings.)

By my math, that leaves 108,997.04 single, eligible men in Utah.

Last year, I dated 107,837 of them.

I find this cross-section broad enough to make the blatant, perhaps offensive, generalizations that follow. In my dating experience (which as you can see, remains extensive), I have found that Utah men can be concisely packaged into the following categories, with only enough wiggle room to keep me, against all odds, still dating.

The Mormon Player

He's smooth. He's hot. He's what every girl wants. Or so his mother tells him every week at Sunday dinner. This is the boy we often see at the Malt Shop on Friday nights, dangling a new blonde freshman from his Polo sleeve. His daily hour at Gold's gym is as obvious as the hearty dose of Aqua Di Gio that wafts from his general direction. Usually named "Brett, Tyler or Jared," and hailing from Sandy, this is the boy who holds out til the ripe age of 23 to wed. You know, to give the ladies a fair shot.

Indier Than Thou

His hair is long. His jeans are tight. He makes you feel infinitely uncool. And even while you're dating, you have the sneaking suspicion that he despises your general being. Your music sucks. Your movies? Juvenile. You know nothing of art and you have no right to claim an affection for anything European. His ex-girlfriend understood him, and the chances that you will are about as slim as you fitting into his Diesels. He doesn't wear cologne but rocks four different iPods as his daily accessories. Often spotted at the Broadway on weekend nights, you'll know him by his blatant sense of enveloping disdain.

The Wanna-be Indie Than Thou

You know you've found him when he says, "I like really, really underground music. Death Cab for Cutie's doing amazing things right now." He wants to hate you, but instead he really, really digs you. Nonetheless, he feels the need to constantly tell you how disconnected he is from you and life in general, meanwhile disqualifying aforementioned statements by calling you sweetheart at every available opportunity. He makes you mixed cd's burned to the brim with Dashboard and the Killers, and writes poetic blogs that make you cringe.

The Perpetual Frat-Boy

The Mormon player plus 10 years. The PFB is still sighted with blonde freshman, but a hipper joint, like PF Chang's, is generally preferred. A luxury car and a private bedroom at Arlington are all that separate these from the MP's of yesteryear. PFB's were once engaged, usually around age 24. Since then they've had serious relationships once every 5 years, and find themselves still living across the hall from their "very best friend and former mission companion." PFB's play golf on the weekends, where they tell their friends (who double as their roomies) all about current blonde freshman.

The Overeager Identity-eater

You get the sneaking suspicion that he's assessing your every move while filling out an imaginary checklist. First date conversation consists of family aspirations and your opinion on the feminist movement. He is unimpressed by your hobbies, instead, asking you whether you believe if "breast is best" when it comes to infant feeding. While you're pleased he's overlooked his disdain for formal female education long enough to take you to dinner, you can't order the chicken without him asking whether you know how to make it. He prefers his women in twin-sets and starts most statements with, "my mom says . . ." By date three you're either engaged or mentally lynched, so OIE's tend to be off the market quickly.

The Gem

He doesn't need his mother to tell him he's perfect. He just is. He's smart, sassy, down-to-earth and wants everything you do. Anytime you find a gem, you think to yourself, "this is it," only to find that said gem is making every other single Utah girl think the same thought. You see, gems know of their rarity, and thus, the playing field is broad and open. And the players? Well, temporary. Gems marry for the sake of procreation just shy of their 40th birthday. Their children, wife and home are undeniably perfect.

*Above categories are strictly hypothetical and, though containing obvious truths, remain (fingers crossed) subject to change.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cast no Stone (at these stones)


Most of you, dear readers, will never understand the repercussions of a strange and terrifying phenomenon — one that respects no freeway, permits no interstate remain unscathed. One that leaves its victims marked, crazed, wracked with terror. I'm speaking, of course, of suicide rocks.

They're reckless, callous; they have nothing left to lose. At once abandoned from the granite batholiths of their ancestors, or abducted by the self-interest of the mining industry, these represent the sediments that have refused to mold to the everyday life of the average countertop. They will not settle into bathroom tile, they will not grace your garden embedded with your child's handprint. And they will not lay idly by, awaiting hikers and campers to use them as a picnic perch.
These, my friends, are rocks with an agenda.

I can only say now, 48 hours after becoming another faceless victim of suicide rocks, that perhaps we've misjudged these terror-enraged stones. What could drive them to hurl themselves into unsuspecting Volkswagens on the freeway?

I don't know my aggressor. We never met until that fateful afternoon when our lives merged in an instant of screams, scratched paint and shattered glass. The rock was young, perhaps a mere 4 or 5 billion years old. He could have been anything – a monument, a temple, grinded into concrete. Instead he chose a suicide mission – one that left him broken and alone aside a puddle of tempered glass on I-15.

Of course, I can sit back and ask, "why me?" But the wondering, the unanswered questions – it's enough to make anyone crazy.

I confess, I have not always treated rocks with the respect they deserve. I've thrown them, skipped them, and more than once I fell asleep in geology 101. I didn't try to understand them – often mixing up minerals and sediments, stripping an igneous of its identity by labeling it metamorphic. My disregard quite literally came back to hit me – in the window.

And so this rock – this stone without a name who decided one fateful September day to throw his life – and himself – to the wind and into my car: who is he? I confess, anger swelled as I regained control of my vehicle and, shaking, pulled off the nearest exit. But now, with the terror of the moment swept away like the shards of glass left behind, I think of him: this desperate, passionate and abandoned stone.

I appreciate the warm-wishes of you, my family and friends, to myself and my unsuspecting car. My scratches will heal and my car, once my deductible is paid, will be good as new. But I urge you to turn your thoughts from me to this nameless stone, who lies, discarded and alone, with no company but the memory of his actions. May we all strive to understand those who we once thought of as merely pebbles and boulders. Perhaps we can polish them, refine them, and lead them to a life worthy of more than a suicide mission on I-15.

*This blog is dedicated to the nameless rock that now resides near the median of I-15 between Lindon and Pleasant Grove. Though his identity remains unknown, he appeared dark in color and deeply, deeply disturbed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Catch this Phrase

"I know, right?"

The snickers are blatant, taunting and wholly uncompassionate when, from a dark corner of my subconscious escapes the above expression.

"That dress is awesome."
"I know, right?"

I have no aspirations to become the Paris Hilton of Salt Lake, spreading cliché tag-lines to passers-by while simultaneously clutching a handbag, a hot beverage, and an armful of clothing, all the while steadying oversized sunglasses on the tip of my nose.

No, the truth is far less glamorous.

"Um, did you really say that?"

Yeah, I did. And it resonated somewhere in the recesses of my own pet-peeve-dom. "I know, right?" is merely a drop in a bucket of Utah slang that I have—quite unwittingly—gathered in my six-year residency.
Well, perhaps maturity is recognizing that you are your worst pet peeve.
The following are all phrases that have infected my repertoire, needling their paths from the cultural epicenters of the beehive state into my unsuspecting mind.

"No 'T' for me."

My nightmares are but an endless series of guttural stops, unapologetically replacing the proper pronunciation of a consonant.
Case in point
"East is where the mao-ins are!"
"Can you help me sew on a bu-in?"
"Of course I know him! I went to Brigh-in!"

May the gods of speech rain audible 'T's' on the Wasatch Front.

Just say "play"

There was a time I could, with some surety, claim that I had never asked a friend to "play" since the close of the 5 th grade, when just as backpacks turned to book-bags and contacts supplanted glasses, "play" transformed to "hang out."
Well, not so, say the chipper blondes of the Utah Fun Society. "Let's Play!" is the new "Wanna hang?" is the new, well, "let's play."
And who says Utah isn't SUPER fun!!?

A state of “nym”-phos

Ah, the acronym. Short, consice, with only the faintest hint of formality. More wordy states, take note, we have no patience for your verbosity here.
"I totally had a NCMO with an RM last night!"
"No, no. We had a DTR, everything's cool. But keep that on the DL."
"Are you already in PG, ’cause I'm totally still in SLC."
"umm, BTW, AF doesn't have a good YSA."
Resist the urge to LOL.

Frustrating as my slow decline into total cultural submergence may be, perhaps this charming air of locality should be celebrated. Like the “wicked awesome” phrases of New England or the “No worries” attitude down under, without our own little tag lines we’d just be in, well, a state of boredom.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sometimes, your BFF gets married.


And they're so happy.


But it annoys you.


And disgusts her grandmother.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

And then, there were two.


Friday, September 7, 2007


Leaving a car at pioneer park or walking past the soup kitchen on 4th west may make anyone uneasy. Nonetheless, these activities are required for everyday urban errands -- like eating at Caputo's and shopping at the Gateway.

I'm timid in my work clothes, eyes downcast, my high heels clip-clopping apologetically as I weave through the loiterers, carefully avoiding eye contact until, startled, I respond to the light tap on my elbow.

I fumble at my purse, stuttering something like,

"uh, I uh, see I don't, oh, well I mean, that is, I don't really carry cash, I mean, money, er cash, just visa? mastercard, oh I'm sorry, uh huh, okay, really, it's not you, it's me, I mean, god bless," finally rescuing a crinkled dollar bill from the unearthly abyss that is my handbag.

Awkward and uncomfortable, I tried to put myself in their shoes.

Consider it done. Aside from the fact that mine are Charles David and I have 50+ more pairs to spare, our shoes are now one and the same.

"Address, miss?"
"And where would you like that delivered?"
"Are you going home?"
"Are billing and shipping the same?"
"My place or yours?"

These are now the questions that leave me stuttering, my mind resisting the realization that I'm homeless.

A fourth of my possessions are currently in my car. The other three quarters, jumbled and disorganized, are in my friend's Eagle Mountain spare bedroom. And me? I live on a couch.

A vagabond, a gypsy, a nouveau-Boheme. Call it what you will, the glamor is wearing thin. I don't sleep enough. I'm missing half my mail, and it takes me 45 minutes to get to work.

I take comfort in the temporary nature of my situation. Desirable apartments are quite elusive in urban Salt Lake, though my pen is inked and my checkbook handy. So I remain without an abode, hearth-less, my bed in pieces in a basement corner.

I have yet to line up on 4th west for a hot cup of coffee and a Costco muffin, and it's been years since I've napped, wrapped in an olive blanket in Pioneer Park.

But for the time being, my pride stripped and my humility blatant, please sir, could you spare a one-bedroom?

Flight of the Conchords- Albi (racist dragon)


You'll thank me. Really.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I have a favorite nephew


Don't worry.. Nick and Joe won't be able to read this for several years.