It is a Sunday afternoon and I am looking at pictures of Jon Gosselin at a pool party.
This is only happening because I followed the link to these pictures provided in Hortense’s excellent post on Jezebel. I do not understand the phenomenon of the Gosselins, because I do not have a TV; everything I know about this bloated, unevenly tanned man, I have learned from the internet. Maybe if I had a TV, things would be different, but right now when I look at these pictures of Jon Gosselin at a pool party, a voice in my head is screaming for mercy. Specifically, the voice is wailing “I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS” and “HATE HATE HATE HATE.”
You know who Jon Gosselin reminds me of? He reminds me of a young man I overheard on Friday at Uno Chicago Pizzeria and Grill. Kevin and I had gone to the Waterfront in Homestead, Pennsylvania—this is a really nice name for an extremely vast strip mall—so that he could get fitted for a tuxedo at the Men’s Warehouse (Incidentally, did you know how vomit-inducingly expensive it is to rent a tuxedo? Because I didn’t. I did know that I’d have a foolproof joke when we walked in the front doors and I said, “You know, I think you’re gonna like the way you look.” It was so foolproof that the saleslady made the same joke fifteen minutes later). After we left, Kevin really wanted to eat at a Cheesecake Factory, which we naturally assumed we’d find there, because I swear to God, people, this is 260 acres of strip mall. There was no Cheesecake Factory. So we went to Uno Chicago Pizzeria and Grill, where we were seated next to the bar.
At the bar was a young couple and a loud, brash Jon Gosselin-esque third wheel of a creature, to whom the young couple paid rapt attention, for reasons that were not ever clear. As we consumed our chicken-based entrees, snippets of his conversation wafted over to our ears, and we exchanged identical looks of disapproval. “Have the other two said anything?” asked Kevin, as Jon Gosselin, Jr. described the halcyon life of a friend whose “business is expanding; he’s getting laid left and right.” The other two hadn’t. Nor did they interject when Goss began to list the pleasures and perils of Facebook. As far as I could tell, our friend had been forced into an uncomfortable relationship talk after pictures of him on vacation had been posted to the ‘Book. This vacation, from his description, was one wild ride. It may have been a bachelor party. His cousin was there. They met some hot girls, and some pictures were taken—“swimming, chickenfights, livin’ the life,” he said. But clearly, whoever had posted the pictures to a public forum had engaged in an act of unspeakable betrayal, and Goss was angry. “I’m not going to post a picture of my cousin, passed out on the couch,” he said, “or [unintelligible]…you know, pizza on my chest, mustard in my hair…”
At this point I was laughing so hard, the kind of laughter you laugh while you are eating and you feel you should really stop, so that you don’t choke, but you can’t. Because I cannot fathom what series of events, in this zany frat boy bachelor vacation from hell, would lead to the smorgasbord this man was now solemnly describing as having been one with his body. Nor could I understand why he was sharing this image with his friends. Since Friday, the words have become a sort of surreal chorus in my brain, one signifying hilarious disaster. Pizza on my chest, mustard in my hair—the very depths of depravity.
But anyway, is it cruel to say that someone should pistol-whip Jon Gosselin?
Close Readings of Song Lyrics: "If You Wanna Be Happy," Jimmy Soul
Theory: Happiness in life is directly correlated with the attractiveness of a man’s wife; i.e., in Mr. James “Jimmy” Soul’s personal point of view, it is dependent on never marrying a pretty woman.
Without quantitative evidence to support his theory, Mr. Soul makes a number of somewhat egregious claims as to the effectiveness of attractive women as marriage partners. A pretty woman, he states, makes her husband look small—however, Mr. Soul ignores the possibility of an attractive petite woman, who would in all likelihood make her husband, should he be of a taller height than she, look large. Mr. Soul goes on to claim that “very often” an attractive wife will cause her husband’s downfall, but he provides no statistics on the frequency of these downfalls, or any explanation of their nature—financial? emotional? An unattractive, or as Mr. Soul colloquially puts it, an “ugly” woman, upon entering the sacred bonds of matrimony, will ensure her husband a lifetime of happiness, primarily because she will be punctual in the preparation of meals, thereby giving her husband “peace of mind.”
Here, Mr. Soul restates his central thesis, which is that the ugly wife is superior to the pretty one, when one is concerned with the punctuality of one’s meals and its effect on one’s overall state of mental and emotional health.
Perhaps Mr. Soul recognizes that his male listeners might chafe at the idea that their happiness might ever depend upon an ugly woman, and so he helpfully provides some general advice for those who are considering marriage to an aesthetically displeasing partner. He advises them to ignore those friends who might question one’s taste and to marry the ugly woman despite their qualms. Again, he stresses, if “her face is ugly,” she is the better catch. However, it is worthy to note that Mr. Soul provides no real parameters for his perception of beauty or ugliness, besides to note that these better catches may include women whose eyes “don’t match.” This is a condition called heterochromia, and many have it, including some women who are conventionally thought to be quite beautiful, i.e. the actress Kate Bosworth.
Finally, after repeating his theory, Mr. Soul presents us with a sample of dialogue that might be had by a man who takes his advice and a friend who perhaps questions the man’s choices. We shall reproduce it here in full:
Friend: Say, man.
Man: Hey, baby.
Friend: I saw your wife the other day.
Friend: Yeah, she’s uglyyyyyyyyyyyyy.
Man: Yeah, she’s ugly, but she sure can cook, baby.
Friend (as though appreciating an acceptable notion): Yeah, alright.
Disregarding the many questions this sample dialogue raises—questions about the lack of tact displayed by the man’s friend, the context in which he “saw” the man’s wife, and the man’s frequent use of the word “baby”—we can see that Mr. Soul’s conception of the attractive vs. unattractive dynamic comes down to the ability of an ugly woman to punctually prepare good meals. However, as Mr. Soul ignores a number of variables that would challenge the importance of punctual good meals—the presence of a cook, an attractive woman’s ability to cook, an unattractive woman’s inability to cook, a man’s ability to cook—one can only determine that when writing this song, Mr. Soul was somewhat preoccupied with food. Maybe he jotted down the lyrics while waiting for a lunch break (or for a tardy meal which some attractive woman was preparing for him). All in all, lacking as it is in statistical support, one comes to the conclusion that Mr. Soul’s theory is, at best, impossible to prove.
You have this boyfriend, you see, and to inaugurate his graduate school career, he is growing a beard. He is growing a beard based on your recommendation and urging, because you really wanted to see what he’d look like with a beard. It appears his beard is going to be an impressive one. What beard-related nickname do you bestow upon him? Because Beard-O is pretty unoriginal?
Last night I dreamed that I was playing Moonbeam McSwine in a high school or college production of something that was not L’il Abner—the plot of the play resembled, if anything, that of the film Bring It On. This dream featured, and I don’t think this is an overstatement, everyone I have ever met in the course of my entire life. People with whom I went to grammar school, high school, college—people I’d forgotten about, faces with which I can’t even correspond names, all of them sort of weaving their way in and out of the narrative of the rehearsal, asking me questions about my life, telling me things about themselves, waving across crowds. In the best sort of dream cameo there is, Peter St. Onge appeared, in a tuxedo shirt and black jeans, his hair in a faux-hawk, completely silent but dancing joyfully (maybe because I watched this video immediately before sleep), and threatening someone* with a knife.
(*I do not name this boy for fear that he searches for himself on Google, but he once got kicked out of a classroom by a history teacher for smiling too much).
The buses in Pittsburgh are oddly narrow and standing in one on a Monday mid-morning means jostling against your fellow students, making apologetic faces at each other. I don’t mind it, really—my one week on the spacious sidewalks of Pittsburgh have already made up for the five-year-long invasion of my personal space I suffered in New York. I also don’t mind standing on buses; I wear comfortable shoes for that very reason (also for the reason that I cannot walk, at all, in heels). I stood next to another able-bodied female in front of two male nerds on a seat. At one stop a crazy-eyed guy turned to them before he absconded the bus.
"You two need to learn some respect," he said, "and give a lady your seat on the bus. You need some common sense. And if you have a problem with me you can come outside; I’m getting off here."
He left. I guess the nerds didn’t have a problem with him, because they remained seated. Both had that empty, quizzical expression one tends to wear when a crazy person starts talking to one.
"I like standing," I said to the nerds. One of them ignored me, but the other looked up.
"I have no idea what that was about," he said. And he, the other standing girl, and I laughed. Pittsburgh!
I got electricity yesterday. To celebrate, I drank a Sparks and cooked some pasta in my closchen.
This morning I pumped gas for the first time in my life. Anyone who happened to witness the event would surely testify that I performed the act with all the feminine grace and clear-thinking efficiency as an episode of “Rhoda.”
It would be really nice if you could make it through your cousin’s bridal shower without getting drunk, eating all the deviled eggs, or using the phrase “the patriarchy” at any point, in any context.
You knew about the symbolic firefighter and princess rubber duck decorations (the groom is a firefighter; my cousin is a woman and thus identifies with princesses [?]) way in advance. Your grandmother would really appreciate it if you only scoffed on the inside.
began with a 25-minute dramatic monologue performed by the woman I am training to replace me, presumably entitled “Friends of Mine With Whom I Am No Longer Friends, And Why,” which included the sub-monologue “Back When My Husband Was Briefly Deported.”
Three co-workers have said, “Katie, you look nice today!” with utter surprise.
I don’t know why I can’t just replicate this feeling constantly without the element of loss. I don’t know why conversations like the one my high school locker buddy and I just had via text message (“I want to know you when you’re old and gray”/ “We’ll have lockers next to each other in the nursing home”) can’t happen bi-monthly, at the least. I don’t tell my friends I love them enough, or write them letters enough, or know nearly enough about them.
Two days ago I lost my brother. I don’t know what to say, or how such a note of sorrow is to be written but I felt that something is to be shared.
The St. Onge brothers were an integral part of my high school experience, and Nick writes really beautifully here about his brother Peter. Every time somebody I know dies, I can feel myself straining my memory for the bits about them, and with Pete, I remember that he watched Aladdin over and over when he was stuck at home with pink-eye; that he was sharply, wickedly funny even at moments when no one else was laughing; that I once leaned across him at a table and he kissed my temple; that he drew me a birthday card when I turned 16 that was a caricature of him, pregnant. I will miss him a lot; I already did.
I’ll light the fire; you set the traps for the dozens of mice in the walls and ceiling. Such a cozy room, if you forget the bed bugs that may or may not be in our mattresses and our clothing. Our apartment is a very, very, very fine apartment, with one scorch mark in the carpet from when my iron fell over this morning (perhaps I can convince the landlord that a mouse ran into it?). Life used to be so hard. And it still is.