Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jersey Jane

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I wrote my AP English Essay on the Metamorphosis. I can’t deny that something inside of me has always related to the book’s main character, Gregor Samsa, who wakes up from a night of crazy dreams to find that he has morphed into a giant insect. Only instead of one night of nightmares, I’m coming off of three weeks of jokes. Jokes about Aquanet, Lee press-ons and Juicy Couture. And while I didn’t wake up today to find myself wearing sweats at the mall while purchasing a new Coach Hobo, the transformation IS happening and it’s occurring more swiftly than I imagined. By the way, I kind of like it.

Before I even get into all the spectacular ways I’m slowly but surely returning to the state from whence I came – they name is New Jersey - I’m all too proud to share that my legacy has lived on in the land where both gas and fists are pumped. As we made like vagabonds, temporarily homeless between vacating our rented NYC apartment and closing on our purchased Montclair Condominium, my husband T and I set up shop in my parents’ home. There’s a lot of food, a lot of wine, a lot of laughs and the average volume of any conversation is just below shouting. Nightly, I am transported back to 1998 as I tippy-toe up the staircase, trying desperately to be quiet only to find out the next day that I failed when Poppa UnPlain asks me why I stomped all over the house last night. Despite the non-stop barrage of “Eat This! It came out good!” from Grandma and the unusual quantity of red-meat and tomatoes I was consuming, it wasn’t until my first day of commuting to work that I realized, I had truly returned home.

For our first commute, T and I made our way from my parents house at the end of the cul-de-sac I grew up on to the New Jersey Transit bus stop at the top of the block. He wore a back pack and sneakers while I struggled up the hill in heels carrying my tote, walking as if I was expecting the paparazzi to jump out to snap a pic of UnPlain rockin' the ‘burbs. As he dragged me along, desperate for me to move faster we suddenly heard the automatic start of a car and the muffled sound of dance musci on the radio. Simultaneously, we looked to our right and there she was, standing before us - UnPlain Jane 2.0. We stared. Silent. It was as if I’d been reincarnated in my neighbors daughter. T’s jaw dropped and then he mumbled something about this girl being me circa 1998. It was true.

Her shirt was a little too low cut, her jeans a little too small and her highlights a little too fake. She ran out of the garage wearing a tank top, in November, and then ran back inside to ge the lipgloss/cellphone/schoobook that she forgot. We stared in awe as she ripped out of her driveway and off too school in her too-fast-for-a-17-year-old Convertible Mustang. The very same car that was my first, in a long line of driven-into-the-ground vehicles. The only things missing were a Parliament Light hanging from her lips and an Italian Horn hanging from her rear view mirror. Immediately overwhelmed with nostalgia, I looked at T and said, “I love her.”

From that moment on I have been (secretly) pumped to be back in NJ, the very place that bred “Jersey Jane”, long before there was an UnPlain. Stay tuned…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Jersey and Me, Imperfect Together

February 18, 2009 is a day that I will never forget. I was unemployed, carefree and had the luxury of sleeping-in as late as I pleased. But that day, I woke up extra early for 5am workout and an hour of primping then spent 45 minutes picking out the perfect casual-chic winter outfit. Eventually, I strutted out the door headed to a place that nobody wants to go. The DMV. But on February 18, I could hardly wait to be yelled at to “get in line!” or “fill out this form!” by an underpaid government worker.

The line of Guatemalans wrapping halfway around Herald Square could hardly dampen the excitement I felt. I had my iPod-induced swagger on as I took my place in line and whipped out a book prominently displaying a NY Public Library sticker, because yes, I am a New Yorker this was the day I’d be trading in my New Jersey Drivers License to make it official.

Perhaps I should’ve been more excited about the fact that it was the day I would officially become “Mrs. T” by changing my last name. But no. Instead I was thrilled because my ugly, maroon, laminated New Jersey license was being “traded up” for a shiny NY State Drivers license bearing the Manhattan address I’ve occupied for the last 5 years.

Only now, on a day not-too-far away, some unlucky DMV employee will have the displeasure of wrestling me, as I scream “but these are Prada shoes!” to the ground. Then she will have to pry from my cold, clenched fists the New York Drivers License that I so proudly whip out whenever I’m asked for ID, all because my husband T and I are purchasing our piece of the American Dream: A Condo in Montclair.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled and excited and all that and I’ve already begun ordering too much of the Crate and Barrel Winter catalog, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am still the snot-nosed, over-dressed, but under-clothed, guess-where-I-got-in, city-dwelling beeyotch I’ve always wanted to be. I take extraordinary pleasure in answering the question, “Where do you live?” when I’m out of town and in some sick way I actually enjoy the fact that I pay the same amount to rent 700 square feet that many people in the burbs pay to own 3000. Because (in my most superior voice) “you pay for the location, not the space.”

Now, as I prepare to head west across the river, I’m struggling with the fact that I will no longer be anyone’s “city friend” and that people will probably stop calling me for restaurant recommendations. I dread my first night out in Manhattan, probably in the Meatpacking District, when some bitch-faced Murray Hill skank gives me that you’re-so-bridge-and-tunnel look as I whip out my NJ Drivers License.

I invented that look!

So in a few weeks from now, if you see me driving home from COSTCO wearing a hot-pink Juicy sweat suit and sporting acrylic nails, give me a honk. I’m ready for the car, the home and even the commute, but you can bet your sweet ass that I will be delaying my trip to the DMV as long as possible. Not because it’s unpleasant, but because I’m just not ready to give up the persona that has taken me 5 years, numerous trips to Saks (fine – H&M) and an AmEx bill as thick as a phone book to craft.

The only saving grace is that, in New Jersey, they let you look at your ID photo and retake it until you’re happy. So to anyone behind me in line that day – I’m sorry, but I’m now a Jersey Girl and I’m going to re-apply lip gloss, brush on the bronzer and adjust my push-up bra until my Drivers License photo is Just Friggin Right. So back up!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Freezing My Effing Ass Off

My husband and I disagree about a countless number of things. I love olives. He hates them. He thinks it's okay to bring his Blackberry to bed with us. I think that's absurd. And like most couples, he's always hot and I'm always cold. What I didn't realize is just how far he'd go to keep it that way.

Now, by no means am I claiming sainthood. I admittedly cheat at board games. I will shove Aces down my pants when playing cards to ensure a win. And I will argue anything to the death, no matter how ridiculous, just to prove I'm right, even if I'm wrong (like the time I pulled out a five minute, bullet-pointed argument claiming it was Bruce Hornsby who sampled from Tupac and not the other way around.)  Quite the opposite is my Honest-Abe husband, T, who will insist on restarting a game when he finds out I'm cheating, even when he's on the same, (winning, wink wink), team. But recently, I found out that while T is the first one to stand up and admit to being wrong, he will employ the sneakiest of tactics to keep silent when he wants to keep things just the way they are.

For the last two months, as winter hit its coldest temperatures I've spent the majority of my time between the hours of 8pm and 11pm walking back and forth from the living room to the bedroom adding layer after unsexy layer of thermals, sweats, socks, hats, scarfs and burying myself under blankets.  I'll look up at T with sad eyes and whimper, I'm freezing.  He'll try to warm me up by giving me a big hug, but then generally jumps ten feet when my ice cold hands hit his skin screaming, "WTF!!  Your hands are so cold!"

Thinking to myself, "Yes. My hands ARE so cold. That's why I'm dressed like this," I usually give him a quizzical look and ask how on earth is the apartment this cold when we live in 700 square feet on the 14th floor or a large building?  Doesn't heat rise?  This goes on every winter and every night we get into bed, T wearing shorts and a t-shirt, me dressed for a day on the slopes. He drifts off only to open his eyes to shoo my cold hand off of his arm and I try to burrow into the bed like a mole in the hopes of maybe staying warm enough to sleep through the night.

Cut to two nights ago.  There we were doing the usual, I'm Freezing vs. Don't Touch with those Cold Hands dance when I finally sat up and said, "I really can't take this, can we call maintenance or something?"  T looked at me somewhat quizzically and I thought I must've actually had icicles hanging off my nose, but with that quizzical look on his face he said, "Why don't I just turn on the heat."

I looked at him dumbfounded.

"What?"  He responded nonchalantly.

Flabbergasted, I said, "We can TURN ON the heat?"


I continued, "All this time, I've been under the impression the building controls the heat, but you're telling me, WE can turn on the heat."

Completely matter-of-factly he said, "Yeah, didn't you see me turn it off two months ago because it was so hot in here?"

I was stunned.  Not one to shirk sarcasm I just stared at him for 30 seconds then replied, "Haven't you seen me parading around here dressed like an Eskimo, not allowed to even brush your sensitive skin with my practically frost-bitten hands for the past two months because it's so COLD!?"  

I literally could not believe that for two months straight he'd watched me shake, shiver, pile on layers and lose the ability to cry because my tears were frozen and all he had to do was TURN ON THE FRIGGIN HEAT.

We went back and forth like this for a good twenty minutes, my voice rising, my analogies getting more and more absurd and with each ridiculous statement, T laughed harder and harder.  The only reason I didn't pick up the radiator cover and throw it at him is because nothing on earth gives me more pleasure than making him laugh that hard. Even when it's at my own expense.  

So as I sit here, freezing my ass off, I'm plotting revenge in my head.  It will be good and it will be bad and it will be funny.  But for now, as I think of the best ways to cause the most discomfort, I am desperately wishing he was home to show me how to turn on the heat.  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Velvet Ropes

By the time four o'clock rolled around yesterday I was deep into a productive day that included a job interview, a hard core workout and completing a laundry list of errands. And when I picked up my ringing phone to the sound of my friend Z's voice suggesting we go out to dinner, I didn't think for a second that dinner would lead to 4am Disco Fries at my neighborhoods stankiest diner. I don't think that's what Z was expecting either, but somehow that's how our night shaped up.

After a couple glasses of wine over a quiet dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants Z and I were digging through my closet getting dressed for a night on the town much to my husband, T's, dismay. The wheels were in motion and what I thought was going to be a quiet evening of scrapbooking with a glass of vino was transforming into an all night rager with velvet ropes and diamond-priced vodka. Ever since I was laid off from my job I swore I would take advantage of having my weekdays off and party with people who's beautiful faces and bodies allow them the luxury of never having to work a 9 to 5, only I've always felt too guilty to actually do it. Until last night that is when the lure of a night out with one of my besties and the thrill that comes with dressing up one of my friends in my clothes got the best of me and I was raring to go.

So at 9:30 last night Z and I headed out dressed in my Sunday best, her teetering in a pair of my size-bigger-than-hers platform stillettos and started our night at one of my favorite Lower East Side spots, Fat Baby. It's probably not a good thing when you walk into a place and the bouncer recognizes you as the girl who sat in his truck eating the Pringles you had bought for him last time you were there, but that's what happened and after two palpatation inducing RedBull Vodka's I was once again best friends with Mr. Bouncer Man.

Upon hearing that there was a little-person tossing event at Fat Baby that night and wanting to really take advantage of our freebie Wednesday night Z and I decided to head out to one of New York's toughest doors, 1 Oak. It's infamous doorman, Ben is armed nightly with the excuse, "Sorry, tonight's a private party" and an I-don't-give-a-shit-who-you-say-you-know attitude normally reserved for someone of much larger stature. So you could imagine my nerves that we'd be spending our big night out standing outside the door like losers begging to be let in, however, if I've learned anything during my years in NYC, it's that the key to getting in anywhere is to go early. Sure, you'll feel like a lame-ass for first hour when you're one of only a handful of people in the lounge, but before you know it you're another drink deep, the room is filled up and no one knows that the only reason you got past Ben in the first place is because you showed up at the embarassing hour of 11:30 when everyone knows the party doesn't start until 1. And so we rolled up behind a group of four other losers, dropped a generic name like Joe to Ben saying, "he knows you" and he must have been feeling generous because after walking away for 30 seconds he came back and ushered us in.

We were greeted with an room empty save for a duo of cougars excitedly sitting at a booth and just thirty minutes later we were running up the bar tab of the only two dudes in the place with $18 Vodka Sodas. Somewhere between Vodka number three and water number two the place filled up with some seriously beautiful people making me feel like a 5'5" midget. Forgetting where I was, I started telling some model about the "steal" I got on my BCBG dress when she complimented me on it and she gave me a look like I had just whipped out a coupon to buy myself a drink. The night wore on and my next trip to the bathroom with Z resulted in me earning my entrance into 1 Oak by cleaning up the projectile vomit she spewed all over the bathroom for five minutes before heading back upstairs where she snuck another drink on our "friend's" tab even though I begged her to pound a water. Not one to stop a party, I slammed a water, ordered another cocktail and hit the dance floor with Z alternately rocking my best moves and talking shit to people who are way cooler than I will ever be. I think I may have gone so far as to use the words "industry" and "fierce."

Then, just as we were desperately trying to order another round with two devestatingly pretty gay men whom we had just annointed our new best friends, something clicked and we were officially over it. Looking around and the over abudance of scarves, neon hoodies and purposely messy hair Z and I realized that at 29 years old, with wonderful men waiting for us at home we really didn't care all that much about seeing or being seen by people whos priorities are seven years and 10 pounds behind ours so we left. But we weren't headed home.

Anyone who knows Z knows full well that a night out with her doesn't end with leaving the bar, it begins there and what happens between 3 and 4am is more exhausting than the previous five hours of dancing. Over the next hour, to the best of my recollection, this is what happened. We got into a cab and when the driver pulled over to let us out I noticed the street sign and realized he dropped us off 8 avenues from where we needed to be. We got back in the cab, told him he was a jerk, to take us to where we needed to go and that we weren't paying for the rest of the ride. We stuck to our guns and our cab ride ended with him getting out of the cab yelling that he was going to call the cops on us to which one of responded, "For what? Being smokin hot?" I should've known that there was no way Z was just going to quietly go home from there and against everything I believe in (this week) she insisted that we hit up a diner. I begged, pleaded and finally relented as we walked through the doors of a diner I haven't visited since T and I masacared a pound of rare roast beef on another 3am morning about a year ago.

There I was, putting myself into cheese coma sharing French Onion Soup, Disco Fries and a Tuna Melt with Z, swearing to myself that I would spend two hours at the gym as soon as I woke up). I was hopeful that paying the check would signal the end of our night, but as we both teetered home, having switched shoes Z announced that she had to find a charger for her dying cell phone and asked whoever roamed the streets if they thought the Verizon store was open. I don't know what made her think that Verizon opens up at 4am, but she was on a mission and when Z is on a mission, there's no stoping her. After 15 years of friendship, I've learned that what Z wants, Z gets. So after "quietly" bursting into my apartment and trying not to wake T as we kicked off our shoes and "tip toed" into the bedroom to see if his charger would fit her phone, both he and I were watching her head out the front door.

So while Z was out scouring Manhattan for a cell phone charge at 4am, T and I sat there arguing over what to do about it. He insisted that I go after her, I insisted that he go back to bed. After all, this is the same Z who once ordered a pizza from her car in parking deck at 3am because we refused to go to a diner. After calling her dead phone forty times and after 30 minutes of arguing with each other, there was finally a knock on our door. T opened it up and in waltzed Z proudly holding her new cell phone charger which she procured by having a cabbie driver her halfway across town and refusing to pay him unless he waited for her while she found a charger that fit her phone at the only open Walgreens in NYC. And so T was finally able to get back to bed three hours before he had to get up for work and five minutes later found himself snuggled up with two girls sporting cheese fry breath. Now being in bed with two women would normally be every man's fantasy, only it's not so sexy when you find yourself clinging on to the only corner of bed and sliver of blanket your sleep-talking wife and her sleep-thrasing best friend haven't claimed as their own between snores and kicks.

By 12pm today Z and I were fully awake and hungry once again. After a trip to another diner for breakfast and Z hitting up three parking garages before figuring out where she'd parked her car it was time for me to clean up the Tornado named Unplain Jane that swept through our apartment last night just in time to meet my husband for an after-work (or in my case, after-nothing) cocktails event. Ouch.

If I learned anything last night it's that nothing good happens after 2:30am and maybe I'm getting a little too old to be sucking up to bouncers for access to places I am no longer cool enough for, but at least I can say I've been to 1 Oak and am over it. (That's not to say that if Lindsay Lohan had walked in I would've creamed myself and returned every Wednesday night for the rest of my life.) Not to be a sap but nights like these always serve as a great reminder that velvet ropes, over priced cocktails and fancy people desperately searching for the next-best-thing don't equal good times. Good times come packaged as hilarious best friends and amazing husbands. Next time we can skip the lines and the pretty people because it's a lot more fun to sit around getting fat and having laughs with your friends and family over an underpriced meal.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Running of the Brides

At around 7am last Friday morning my husband's phone rang jolting both of us out of a deep sleep. He answered it and spoke in muffled, half-asleep tones as terrible thoughts began to swirl around in my head. Did something happen to our parents? Was Sephora going out of business? Thirty seconds later he passed the phone to me and said, "It's Y on the phone for you."

"Of course it is," I thought. Of all the people we know if there's anyone who will creatively find good reason to break the general time rules of how early/late it's acceptable to call someone, it's her. And today she had her reasons. I put the phone to my ear and in the complete opposite of her "morning voice" she blared, "I wanna go to the Running of the Briiiiiiiiides!" Of course she was referring to Filene's Basement annual "Running of the Brides," an event where teams of women line up, pull hair and strip naked in public in the name of deep discounts on designer bridal gowns.

Given that it was 7am and I was still reeling from the terror an unusually-timed phone call induces, I told her she was crazy. That it was too late to get on a line that, according to the Today Show already wrapped around the block, and to call me back at noon and maybe we'll go pick through the remains in what would essentially be a big, white, taffeta graveyard. And in a I'll-do-what-you-say-but-I'm-disappointed-like-a-five-year-old tone that only Y has perfected, she said, "Fine" and we hung up.

By the time I stumbled out of my bedroom and mainlined a cup of coffee, I woke up enough to realize that I was not being a good friend. Armed with the excuse that I was half asleep when she called, I picked up the phone, dialed Y and said, "OK, drive into the city and we'll go" and it's a good thing we did.

By the time we arrived the crowds had somewhat died down and their were thousands of gowns on the racks. One look around the store pierced the eyes with a sea of white speckled with the half naked bodies of soon-to-be-brides waiting to step into the next sample hopeful it would be "the one." Not ones to brandish whistles or matching T Shirts (on short notice anyway), Y and I started picking through the racks. Beaded? No. Lace? No. Pink? No. Finally armed with an armful of hits and misses (not missus) Y and I picked an unoccupied section of floor where she could take it off and I could help her put it on. It was dress # 2 that brought the tears to my over-emotional eyes and a certain spring Y's step that only comes with "the one." But how could the second dress be it? Y insisted on trying on a good 10 more dresses and I did my best to be a good friend and not scream, "This is the one. Buy it!" every time she put dress # 2 back on and smiled at herself dreamily in the mirror (especially since two of the ten looked like something sprung off of After all, only she could make this decision.

Knowing that dress # 2 was in fact "the one" we held on to the only two copies in the store as three to four other brides hovered like vultures waiting for us to let one of the coveted frocks out of our sight. No girl can buy a wedding gown without her mother there to give the final nod (and the final swipe of the credit card) and so Y called up her mother in South Jersey and told her to head into the city. And so, what started as "let's just go take a look then go to lunch" was shaping up to be 6 hours of watching creepy men check out half naked brides while pretending to be shopping for cuff links at Filene's Basement.

It was nearly 1pm and since Y and I possess two of the biggest appetites known to man, one of us needed to go pick up lunch. So she threw her tiny body on top of the two gowns and I promised I'd be back ASAP before heading out to Whole Foods. What would normally be a five minute visit to the grocery store in New York takes twenty because you have to battle the crowds of office lunchers picking up their whole-grain, gluten-free, tofu and bean sprout sandwiches before they smoke that lunchtime cig on the way back to the office. So as fast as I could, but not fast enough I made my way back up the three flights of escalators to the back of Filene's where Y was turning away the throngs of brides who asked to try on her gown. We plopped ourselves down in between two displays of men's undies and had a make shift picnic on the floor of Y's new favorite retailer and enjoyed ourselves. As we inhaled our food a Filene's employee and would be pageant stylist stopped by every few minutes to show us yet another monstrosity that Y "must" try on. After saying no six or seven times we finally felt bad and promised to try on the beaded taffeta tablecloth that he called elegant and stylish.

About two hours later, after running around the store looking at other dresses, taking turns guarding the two to-die-for gowns we were holding and scoping out the largest, deepest most horrendous camel toe in grey spandex you have ever seen in your entire life, Y's mom finally called and announced that she was at the front door of the store.

Needless to say, it wasn't long before we were clinking glasses in a celebratory cocktail, cheersing the bride-to-be and the gorgeous new dress she'd be sporting down the aisle. Even if she hadn't come home with a dress the sheer entertainment factor of the day and hearing a Filene's employee exclaim, "Dang, I got titties," would've made the whole trip worth it. But luckily she did get a gown and it's a stunner and hopefully her fiance won't have a heart attack when she struts down the aisle in that fierce number that was wholly worth 6 hours spent on the floor.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Not to Be a Human Being

There is nothing more fascinating to me than the way people conduct themselves in public and the factors that make us act, or not act, in a particular way. Sometimes we are kind, sometimes we are abrasive and sometimes we are just plain ridiculous. And this Sunday, as my husband T and I enjoyed one of those rare do-whatever-the-hell-we-feel-like days together, ridiculous seemed to be what was on tap.

After our coffee and morning news I convinced T to finally take me to see Revolutionary Road (Revolutionary Road (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Contemporaries)) by announcing, "You're taking me to see Revolutionary Road at 11:15." As expected he hated it (partially because he was determined to hate it and partially because he actually hated it), I loved it and we had our usual post-movie let's-pretend-we-know-something-about-the-"cinema" discussion.

We had worn our gym clothes to the movie and only had to make a quick pit stop to pick up bottles of water on our way to work out. It was during this pit stop that ridiculous set in. After searching around Duane Reade for five minutes before finding where they had hidden the bottles of water, we worked our way up front and got on line. There was one person checking out and we were next. As people who generally observe the unspoken rules of social-distance we stood two, maybe three feet behind the person checking out as not to press up against her and give her flashbacks of getting grinded by over-age guys who snuck into teen night at a nightclub in the New Jersey town she grew up in (Hunka Bunka anyone?)

As the cashier scanned her items, we stood there, clearly next on line, having abandoned our "intelligent" movie conversation for more important matters like gas. Just as the transaction ahead of us was wrapping up an old woman swooped in, half looked at us and stepped in front of us on line. The girl left and the woman placed her items on the counter and instructed the cashier to check her out.

Utterly confused as to if this was really happening, I looked at T with the same confused face that I looked at my Maid of Honor with when someone farted during our wedding ceremony. My eyes darted between T and the cashier and I lost it (again, in the same way I lost it when the gas was passed under our chuppah). My face turned reddish-purple, my body shook and I couldn't stifle the laughter. Nothing I did could stop the hysterical laughing and I was literally cracking up with tears coming out of my eyes and gasping for breath between "ha-ha's." Between laughs, I gasped to T, "Is this really happening?" and the cashier did all he could to to keep it together and not start cracking up too as he tried to convince grandma that he wasn't over charging her for the cat food. I kept laughing, the cashier counted the pennies that she was paying with and T just stood there dumbfounded.

She was lucky I was having a good day, because normally I am the first person to call someone out when they behave in a manner that defies common courtesy. Just last week, some woman first, told off the person behind the deli-counter, then yelled at me to get out of her way in the grocery store so I turned around and told her, "You need to be nicer to people lady!" To my surprise, she actually responded by yelling back at me, "Yeah, you're right!" Which was basically contradictory since she yelled it at me in a the nastiest tone possible.

But on Sunday, the old broad in Duane Reade lucked out. She finished counting pennies, took her receipt and after cutting us in line with not so much as a glance back, she headed out of the store, but not before knocking down the display of tissues on the counter on her way out. It's a good thing that I can count on my husband to toss in the appropriate snide remark when I'm too busy laughing, because he yelled after her, "Don't worry lady! I got it!" (in reference to the tissues) as she made her way out the door.

I always joke that when I hit my late eighties I'm going to do the following:

1. Eat whatever the hell I want and get really fat.
2. Start smoking a pack of Virginia Slims a day.
3. Set new standards of daily wine consumption.
4. Say and do whatever the hell I want.

Maybe I'll even take up stealing, fart out loud in public and be as cranky as I want to be to "youngsters". I've always planned to do so under the guise of, "I'm old. What do you expect?" I always say this jokingly and truly hope to be healthy, vibrant and attractive (not smelly, wheezing and nasty) until they hammer the nails into my coffin. But after witnessing this woman get away with utterly ridiculous behavior and go about her day like she's entitled to do whatever the hell she wants just for hitting 70, maybe I'll meet myself somewhere in the middle...

P.S. In completely unrelated news, don't forget to get your St. Patty's Day Shirts here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Real Housewives, A Hair in My Body Butter and The BlAmEx

On a Friday and as I was getting ready to snuggle up with Oprah I thought I'd get some more random things off my mind. So here they are.

The Real Housewives of Orange County

As we approach the end of yet another season of watching these aging women with fake breasts flaunt the only thing they have going for themselves, money, I am approaching my boiling point. That is to say that with just one episode to go, I find myself disgusted with the things that come out of their mouths. This week in particular, in between fighting over who said their favorite drink was a Dirty Martini first and accusing each other of being bad people the housewives managed to come out with these gems:

Vickie (with tears in her eyes): "If I can say I got one more dancer off the poles than this cruise was worth it. "

I'm sorry, now I'm sure your three day cruise to teach people about the insurance business inspired some recent LA transplant that she too can one day shop at the Forever21 in Beverly Hills and buy the same clothes as her teenager. However, how do you think homegirl paid for the eight hours she got to spend in a stinky cruise ship meeting room listening to you talk about how you work 22 hours a day to avoid your sexless, loveless marriage and afford to buy yourself gifts because your husband won't? She worked the pole. That's how. And she's going to continue to work the pole until her boobs and her face start to droop as far as yours already have. Then, she'll go into insurance. So thanks for the insurance lecture Vicki, but don't credit yourself with ripping girls down off the pole.

Geana (pouting): "Why don't we have any 'bummers' in Orange County?

Yes, by 'bummers' she means homeless people. Does anyone else find it sickening that this woman feels jipped because unlike her daughter's college town of Berkley, CA there aren't any homeless people wandering the streets of her gated Orange County community? I'm sorry, but since when are the homeless a novelty? Have you not truly made it until there's a homeless person within a five block radius of your home? Perhaps we can plop a shelter right down next to her house so that she can play dress up with all the cute little bummers? What a d-bag.

A Hair in My Body Butter

So after dragging my sick self to the gym yesterday morning and getting in a half-ass work out, I actually had to shower before 3pm so as not to offend my lunch date by stinking. After stepping out of the shower and getting the floor soaked as ususal, I began my lengthy post-shower routine. Lotion here, brush there, eye cream, lip cream and SPF oh my! When I was sufficiently oozing youth-preserving moisture, I moved on to my favorite step: Body Butter. There's nothing I enjoy more than heaping on that gooey delicious moisturizer and basking in its delicious smell for the twenty or so minute it takes to soak in.

I was going about my business as usual, sad that I was reaching the bottom of another tub of my favorite lotion and there it was. It was dark, about 1/2 an inch long and I swear it had a face. Ok, it didn't have a face, but regardless it was menacing. With only half an arm left to butter and one scoop of cream left I wrestled with myself over what to do. Do I go fishing, pick the little fucker out of the cream, save it in a plastic bag for evidence and stick it in the freezer? Do I turn my head, scoop haphazardly and just hope the hair falls on the floor sometime between scooping and rubbing?

I daintily dipped a finger in the tub, swirled a little while contemplating my next move in Unplain vs. Mystery Hair and as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone. I was so caught up in what to do with it that I never even stopped to think about where the hair came from. As one half of a Jewish-Italian couple, I am no stranger to an abudance of hair (or sweat for that matter). The many options of the renegade hair's origins ran through my head. Was it the obvious? Was it a chest hair? Or was it the losing half of one of my ever growing split ends?

I guess we will never know where the mystery hair came from or where it's headed for that matter. I'm just happy to say it didn't wind up getting rubbed into my elbow...or did it?

The BlAmEx

The mythical Centurion Card. We've all heard of it and know about it's astronomical yearly spending requirements and fees. We've watched the VH1 specials about the supremely-absurdly-donkey-crazy rich and how the ultimate status symbol is the Black AmEx Card. But until now, I could never actually say I've seen one in use. Needless to say, that all changed.

As I waited at the front bar in the W for my lunch date yesterday, ferociously typing away on my BlackBerry addressing the important subject of Harry Conick Jr.'s hotness with my best friend, I sat next to an unassuming, 30-something gentleman who was typing ferociously on TWO BlackBerry's about what I'm guessing were more pressing matters. He drank a soda and a capuccino and I tried not to bump into him as I laughed (more like snorted) outloud at the witty banter going back and forth via email on my handheld.

Just as I was typing a long, drawn out description of Harry Conick Jr.'s chiseled chest, I saw it. Angels appeared, a choir sung in the background and I swear you could hear a gong ring out as he placed it on the bar. The Black American Express. I did a double take just to make sure I was actually watching this happen. Without flinching the waitress picked it up and took it away to swipe it (while secretly creaming herself I'm sure.) I turned to face the man so that he wouldn't see the text I was now typing on my BlackBerry, addressing both my husband and my best friend. (Some things trump a rousing discussion of New Orleans hottest export).

"I just saw some guy use a BlAmEx!!!!" I "shouted" via BBM.

The responses I got from my husband and my best friend were not very different.

T: "Talk to him!!!"

A: "And you didn't immediatley blow him?!"

(I feel the need to interrupt my story here as I just realized the two people closest to me in the world are known as T&A. Coincidence? I think not. Although that fact is chalk full of irony since I have neither T nor A despite my desperate attempts to miraculously grow both.)

Two seconds later, my lunch date arrived and I watched mystery BlAmEx man exit Blue Fin with my not having spoken to (nor felated) him.

And that ladies and gentlman, is Friday.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Few Bad Ideas

In my ongoing quest to find interesting things to do and that I can write about here, I am constantly tossing around ideas to my friends, my husband, the clerk at Duane Reade and to myself (yes, out loud). Below are a few of these ideas that at first seemed genius to me, but clearly are just bad.

A Day at the OTB

I can't tell you how many times I've walked past the Off Track Betting facility in my neighborhood, with it's fancy name (something like "The Green Medal Club) and opaque windows and thought to myself, "Wow, I wonder if it's some snooty Republican men's club." Then, because I'm staring at the windows I'll usually bump into whatever homeless man is stumbling out cursing and throwing down his tickets and realize that it's the OTB, not a branch of the Yale Club. So one day, over afternoon cocktails a friend and I decided that my next UnPlain experience should be a day spent at the OTB. Newly unemployed and with no extra dollars to spare I could dress down, stick a cigarette behind my ear and hang out in a 4' by 4' room all day with a bunch of down and out degenerate gamblers. Even as I write this, part of me still thinks it's genius. Fortunately for my health and well-being, my husband T, for the first time in the five years we've been together actually told me that I was not allowed to do it. Of course this only made me want to do it more. Eff him, right? Nobody tells me what I can and can not do!

Except that he's right. The OTB is probably a dangerous place for an attractive young lady to spend a day, but every now and then I push the thought of potentially getting stabbed out of my head and revisit the idea of going for a few seconds before I come to my husband-imposed senses once again.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's actually been!

Little People

Yes, I feel guilty even writing a small blurb about the vertically challenged (and I mean legitimately little, not just short), but people of the smaller persuasion are of particular fascination to me. It's a love-hate thing. Take the Roloff Family from the TV Show Little People, Big World. They haven't done anything to me, I've barely even watched the show, but for some reason I loathe, yes loathe, them. I despise them so much that every time a commercial for the show comes on I have to yell out loud, "It should be called Little People, Big ASSHOLES!" at the TV, even if I'm all by myself. On the other hand find me an Oompa Loompa or one of those little Maury Povich kids and my heart fills up with so much love that I want to strap on a Baby Bjorn and carry a little person around with me all day.

So today as I rode the M15 back downtown from Bed, Bath and Beyond, I saw my favorite kind of little person walking down the street. She was a little person that required a double-take just to make sure she was actually a little person. She didn't have "little person face" and was just a a smidge taller than your average below-average height person. Then, when I looked down towards her feet as she walked along I saw what were unmistakeably a pair of little girls Mary Jane's. I swear, her shoes could've been purchased at The Children's Place. Don't get me wrong, I have a few tiny-footed friends who can wear a chidren's size sneaker, but none have tiny feet so darling as this woman. I was immediately enamored. My mind went to that place where I contemplated either jumping off the bus to "interview" her for my blog (which I'm sure would go over really well) or whipping out my BlackBerry to snap a picture to later post and comment on.

Ultimately, I figured it was a bad idea to do either and it would just make me look bad, but I have a feeling just writing about it accomplished that anyway.

The Crack of Dawn

The other two ideas I had involved waking up at the crack of dawn which obviously isn't going to happen. So my apologies, but no, UnPlain Jane will not be appearing on the Mike & Juliet show this Monday nor will I ever find out what the semi-hot guy who sits at the same table at Morton's every Wednesday morning at 8am does for a living.

Any ideas that don't involve too much effort on my part are greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Subtle Butt

It's amazing what a long day of running errands, doing lunch and trying to find a Starbucks with an empty seat can make you forget. So it wasn't until late this afternoon, when I engaged in a battle of wits over BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) with one of my favorite people that I remembered one of the more interesting things I saw today while watching my one of my favorite morning shows, The Doctor's, on the elliptical machine at the gym (can I be anymore suburban housewife?)

The BBM conversation with this:

K: UnPlain I need the Rosetta Stone to decipher the language you and my fiancee use when you talk to each other.

UnPlain: Get with it K. You're Double Oh C (OOC = Out of Control)

K: Whatevs UnPlain - did I get that right? Your husband, T and I are going to come up with our own code involving burps, grunts, nosepicks and farts.

And as so many of my thoughts, conversations and diatribes begin, I responded, "Speaking of farts..."

And so, speaking of farts, while watching The Doctors, which is incidentally one of the worst, most repetitive insults of intelligence to even the most simple of simpletons TV, the subject of flatulence was raised. Immediately my ears perked up at one of my favorite topics and I slowed my roll on the elliptical and paid attention. What followed next was a tight shot of Dr. Jim holding up a pair of fire engine red man panties and applying a 3" by 3" black square to the "business area" of the "manties" (man panties). As such, Subtle Butt, when applied correctly will prevent the odor end of your best post fiber-heavy meal work from escaping past the confines of your pants.

The Doctor's then went on to explain the chemical reactions that occur and the science behind how Subtle Butt works, but I was too transfixed with the thought that I may never have to see that I-can't-believe-I-share-a-bed-with-you look from my husband or be forced to sheepishly leave the grocery store before checking out again. Just as I was wishing I had invented this genius product, it hit me that I, like most of the women I know, prefer to wear butt-floss under my skin-tight jeans and tiny patches of fabric that I pass off for dresses. And unless you're a hippopotamus or home-bound due to a genetic weight problem, odds are your thong doesn't measure 3 inches across. And if either of these are the case a little flatulence is probably the least of your issues.

But if you favor grannies or you're a man then odds are you can sleep tight with the knowledge that thanks to Subtle Butt your SBDs can now remain between you and your pants.

A Swift Kick In The Ass

When I woke up this morning I knew I had to move a little more quickly than usual thanks to the knowledge that I had to be somewhere at the crack of dawn, noon. A little daunted by the prospect of getting in a workout, getting dressed and actually blowdrying my hair and applying make up in time to get out the door for my lunch date, I moved more quickly than I have been in recent days. After forcing myself to finish my workout, I made the mistake of getting on the scale at the gym. What followed was a BBM to my husband that read, "I am fat, unemployed and lazy, do you want an annulment?" Taking his non-response as an indicator that he was considering my offer, I sulked home and began wallowing in the fact that after three weeks of real unemployment (I don't count the period between losing my job and the wedding) I had become everything I swore I wouldn't when I wrote a bit of sunshine in October called, "That's What Unemployement's For.

Realizing I'd let my writing slack off and that I'd become complacent in calling a day where I hit the gym, cooked dinner and sent out some resumes a success I decided it was time for a swift kick in the ass. I'm not one to respond well to prodding (the truth is I'm so stubborn that even if I want or planned to do a chore/task/whatever, the minute someone tells me I HAVE to do it, consider it NEVER HAPPENING). Combine that with the fact that, as my husband announced across the dinner table during one of my first meetings with his entire family, "she's a total narcissist," I knew that I needed to find some other way to motivate myself. As such, I decided that you, my readers, are the biggest motivation I have. The more hits I see on that statcounter, the more I'm convinced like Sally Field that, "you like me! you really really like me!", and the more I want to keep going.

And so as my motivation to not let the two Essay Collections I'm working on fall by the wayside like so many projects before, I've decided that once weekly I must finish an essay and publish an excerpt on UnPlain Jane. And so today I give you an excerpt from the first essay in the collection Wedding.Honeymoon.Disaster. : A Collection of Essays from a Calamity Bride.

So without further ado, here is a little taste from Chapter 1:

The Dress: My Sordid Tale of Buying off The Rack fabulous fucking dress from Saks.

The dress was perhaps the single most important element of “MY wedding” (aside from the groom). There is something about a dress, any dress, even a work-dress, that lights a little fire in the pit of my belly. The glorious dress. The most revered element of my wardrobe. With just this single, solitary garment, the dress, any woman can turn herself into a myriad of things. With the right bounce and a pretty frill, a dress can turn you back into an innocent again and with the right hemline and cleavage, a dress can turn you into the raging slut you always wanted to be (or were in college). With the right dress, and only the right dress, you can marry the man of your dreams and for just one day be the princess/diva/Mormon you always envisioned yourself as.

I learned the importance of the dress at the ripe old age of six when my mother purchased and subsequently hung in my closet, what I referred to as my “speech dress” (mainly because it was the dress I would put on when I would stand on top of my bed, giving speeches on topics of great important, like Strawberry Shortcake, to the audience of stuffed animals I had carefully arranged on the floor below me.) My speech dress had that perfect amount of swing that a six year old needs to do that endearing chin-down, hold on to the bottom of the hem with both hands and sway back and forth move indicating we either have to pee or want a new toy. Incidentally, I still use this move whenever I try to get my new Husband to perform some sort of emasculating act of for me, because if he really loved me, yes, he would allow me to put mascara on his incredibly long eyelashes.

The very first time I wore my speech dress was when I played the illustrious role of the “The Capital Letter I” in Ms. Zangy’s First Grade Class production of “The Alphabet”. Through the magic of poster board and the fact that, still in her early thirties, my mother was inclined to be crafty, I waltzed onto stage wearing my speech dress and a Letter I slung over both shoulders, looking like the guy on 7th Avenue wearing a cardboard sign advertising nails, waxing and/or threading. The same guy that I tell to “Fuck Off” every day when he shoves a flyer in my face. But on that day, even though I was wearing what could’ve just as easily been an advertisement for Mexican food and even if I was the overweight Capital Letter I with a bowl cut, standing next to Jennie DelMont who starred as the adorably dimpled and pig-tailed Lower Case Letter i, I was unstoppable. I was unstoppable because I was wearing my speech dress and that made me the star of the show.

I wore that dress as often as humanly possible until my mother finally threw it out when, in the fourth grade, I tried to shove my “80 pound whale” self (as my gentle older sister dubbed me at gym class weigh-ins) into my “speech dress” and nearly took our dog Curly’s eye out when the zipper popped off and went flying. My dress obsession was born and since that formative time as a burgeoning, first-grade fashionista, I have dubbed myself an expert in dresses, especially white ones, which is why I placed the absolute utmost importance on finding the wedding dress of my dreams. Thus, on a chilly fall night, with print-outs in hand and my best friend, A, in tow, I daintily pressed the number “3” on the elevator at Saks Fifth Avenue and sashayed past Contemporary Sportswear into their Bridal Salon for my 6pm appointment with a bridal consultant...

I hope you enjoyed your first taste of "Wedding. Honeymoon. Disasater." Look for a short excerpt each week from this project or my other baby, "Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Other Great Disappointments.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From Three Year Olds to Three Am

Bright and early on Saturday morning my husband T and I hopped a train to New Jersey to celebrate our nephew's third birthday. Luckily, I had the wherewithal to turn down one of my "crazier" friend's offers to hit a guaranteed rager the night before. Even I know it's inappropriate to show up at a family affair soaked in the stench of sweat, booze and hairspray and I didn't want to be introduced to the twenty or so children as Bozo the Hungover Clown. With the panic-attack inducing gifts I had purchased at the children's department in hand, T and I arrived at his brother's home to be greeted by the sound of banging, laughter, tears and "mooooooooommy."

As tiny, adorable little mini people whizzed back and forth past us, up the stairs, down the stairs with parent's chasing them tensely shouting through smiled teeth, "get that out of your mouth!", T and I looked at each other and I said, "Oh shit. Remind me to take my birth control as soon as we get home."

While kiddie parties are often scary (to us non-parents anyway) they do have one amazing upside. Sugar. And lot's of it. Not being one to understand the concept of moderation, I devised a plan. As I stated to T on the train, as thoughts of cookies and cake and chocolate whirled through my head, my plan was to skip all real food and save the calories for dessert. (I decided to do this as a precursor to the experiment I'm planning which is to ditch my normally healthy meals for one day and instead eat the same amount of calories in some sort of completely bad for me food - i.e. an entire box of Enteman's chocolate chips spread out over one day OR three five hundred calorie Oreo McFlurries - breakfast, lunch, dinner).

So while I watched T march back and forth from the lunch table deservedly enjoying an i-don't-have-to-be-on-a-wedding-diet-bliss pizza, sandwiches and whatever else he could get his hands on, I carefully plucked a few snap peas off the veggie tray knowing my moment was coming. Pretty soon, they lined the kiddies up and we sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday and my mouth watered as I watched the cake being cut into tiny child-size pieces. As I stood there feeling my bloodsugar dropping, silently thinking to myself, "you better start cutting grown-up sized when it's my turn" I noticed the fruit bowl. In a moment of sanity I decided that I would skip the cake and instead have a feast of fruit and M&M's. Which I did.

Sometime between Happy Birthday and opening presents I ingested so many M&Ms that I felt my body go into some sort of sugar shock. I was literally grinding my teeth and shaking and must've looked like something that came out of the toilet in TrainSpotting. At this rate, I would've been better off showing up as Bozo the Hungover Clown and at least have had a good reason for looking and feeling like Andy Dick's twin sister. Needless to say, I saw my only line of defense to be salt. I mean, they're opposite in taste so they must have the opposite effect right? So after everyone had left and it was just the four of us sitting across a kitchen island seperated by a small sea of Doritos, Tositos, pretzles and dip I did what was necessary and began inhaling piece by piece the salty snacks that in my mind were going to counteract the evil effects of all the delicious sugar I had ingested. Bad idea.

As we rode the train back to the city I downed bottle after bottle of water trying to flush my system out in enough time to be able to suck in my stomach, pull on my favorite jeans and head downtown to Cheap Shots with one of my friends. As I said, I do not understand the concept of moderation so after a nap and quick fix of my make-up, I was sipping a pre-game glass of wine waiting for the call that it was time to go. On my junk food kick and having skipped dinner for two reasons 1) it took about five hours for the feeling of sugar-induced naseau to subside and 2) knowing I'd be drinking enough to warrant a very late night snack, I entered the bar, ordered a Vodka Club and a round of Jolly Rancher shots (did I mention we were pretending we were 20 years old that night) and cheersed my buddies to a long night.

Somewhere between three and four bars later I looked at my Blackberry and saw that my 3 am, self-imposed curfew had arrived. Had I not had a wonderful husband sleeping at home I probably would've said "F-ck it" and used my new Google App to find out which NYC bar stays open the absolute latest, then hauled my group of friends there to keep the party going with the inevidable group of Irish lasses and lads we would find at such a place. Luckily for me, with marriage comes a newly found ability to be rational when you're out without your better half (if T is out with me it usually ends with me holding the camera snapping shots of people's reactions to whatever hilarious, obnoxious and so-unlike-him-snarky remark he just said to a complete stranger). But alas, it was girls' night so at three am, like cinderella, my towncar was about to turn into a subway ride and I grabbed a cab back uptown.

I spent the ten minute ride home deep in thought contemplating what delicous snack I was going to "treat myself" with (as if I hadn't already treated myself like a friggin Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory all day). Pizza - No. McDonalds - No. For some reason, again, my 3am rationale kicked in and I decided I was going to have a treat, but not something so bad I couldn't recover from it. I instructed the driver to drop me off in front of the 24 hour Duane Reade and wondered the aisles slowly, contemplating the many options laid out before me. Chocolate and cookies and cake, oh my! Then, like the sun breaking through the clouds, resting gently on a wire rack, was the snack of my dreams. First, I checked the nutritional content (yes, I actually did this). Second, I rationalized that at 140 calories per serving and only 2.5 servings per bag, that 330 calories was reasonable. Third, I took them to the register grabbing a mini Ghiradelli dark chocolate on the way to get some sweet on with my salty.

I walked the block home and on the way ate half of my piece of chocolate and threw the rest out. This is a horrible calorie-saving habit I have and I am fully aware that by even metioning it, half of my readership will step-back and think to themself that I am derranged. The other half will think, "good idea" and enter it into practice immediately, so it's a draw. After over-excitedly greeting our overnight doorman who "it's been way too long!" since I'd seen, I made it upstairs to my apartment, tiptoed into the bedroom, gave T a kiss on the forehead and thought, "see you after the feast."

On the couch I turned on a DVR'd episode of My Name is Earl (which I had to subsequently rewatch the next day for clarity) and downed the bag of SunChips, carefully savoring each bite. I truly believed that the bag would be enough to satisfy my late night craving but when I walked into the kitchen and opened up the fridge to get a glass of water, I saw my favorite of all the food groups staring at me: Butter. Now, if the rest of civilization wouldn't think I was disgusting, I would gladly eat butter and all butter related products with a spoon. No vehicle necessary. However, I'm aware this is socially unacceptable so even at three am, by myself, I took out a piece of bread and piled on enough butter to make it unrecognizable and then went to town. Rinse. Repeat. Only this time with a half of slice of bread (so as not to be "totally disgusting")

I woke up the next morning feeling still full and none to proud of myself. It only got worse when yesterday, as I cleaned out the fridge, I noticed that I had at some point ripped into a leftover piece of chicken as well. I dumped the chicken and headed to the gym where I put in another hour and a half of cardio to try and counteract the effects of my three am feast. Clearly the effects had already taken hold because when I stepped on the scale, the needle was a few notches higher than I generally like it to be.

Perhaps my experiment in junkfood will have to wait or perhaps I already conducted it without even realizing it. Either way, three year olds and three am nights do not a healthy, fit lady make.