No. 7: Even tomboys like flowers. —Shannon McCarthy, 24, Valencia, California
No. 622: When we say we don’t want flowers, we really want you to secretly ask our friends or search our Web history to find out what our favorite kind of flower is without us knowing so we’re “surprised” when you hit the nail on the head. —Meredith Blake Matthews, 26, Pittsburgh
No. 10: Anything but roses. Think about it. We’ve mentioned our favorite flower more than once. If you can’t remember, go with a lily. —Rhiannon Falzone, 25, Chicago
No. 1,001: I could give a damn about flowers. Are you reading this list and taking it seriously? Because stop. If you’re doing that, instead of like, having conversations with me in order to understand the nuances of my individual being, then I don’t want to be anywhere near you. Jesus Christ.
“Also, why do they offer the ring in silver if the book describes the ring as being made of gold? “I have a near slavish devotion to the Twilight series, to the point of wishing I could marry fantasy creatures played by British teenagers, and wanting to mark one of the most important relationships in my entire life with a horrifyingly ugly symbol of a juvenile detachment from the real world, but I hate the way gold looks.” What?”—
It was right here. I gave you helpful links and everything, but you probably didn’t listen to me, because, I don’t know, I’m just some girl whose seriously outdated thoughts on St. Elsewhere you read because you’re underemployed, and you don’t really care about my insanely talented college professors. Well, Entertainment Weekly agrees with me, if that means anything to you.
Last night I spent some time (maybe it was a couple of hours, maybe not) researching the series finale of St. Elsewhere.I have never seen a single episode of this show, but I know what happens in the last five minutes, because these minutes are MIND-BENDING. I’m assuming you already know what happens (because I always assume that everyone contains in their heads the same pool of pop culture information that I contain in mine, which is why I cannot understand it when someone like my boyfriend, for instance, confesses that he did not know that Liza Minnelli was Judy Garland’s daughter until Liza Minnelli just said so, on Turner Classic Movies, and I’m like “What? Can’t you just tell by the way they talk? And the fact that Judy Garland was married for a period of time to Vincent Minnelli?” But of course no one cares that Judy Garland was married to Vincent Minnelli, no one my age at least, and probably not even that many people older than me, because it is a useless piece of information, it has no use). St. Elsewhere reveals itself to have been located entirely within the imagination of an autistic six-year-old, but when you research this it is MIND-BENDING because St. Elsewhere had all these crossovers with all these other shows, and the ripple effect thus implicates most of television as existing within the imagination of an autistic six-year-old!!!! And then when you think about it, it’s like totally obvious because St. Elsewhere and every show its crossover reach can touchare fictions that exist in the real world, sure, but also basically only within the imaginations of the viewer. WE ARE THE AUTISTIC SIX-YEAR-OLD.
Bus Stop, Bright Day, He's There, I Say, "PLEASE BACK OFF YOU'RE FRIGHTENING ME"
Here’s a habit I’d like to break: when I am waiting for a bus on a sunny Friday afternoon and a man approaches me, a scary man, at least twenty years older than me, smoking a cigarette, with an uncomfortably hazy look about his eyes (but honestly? It wouldn’t have mattered what this guy looked like), asks me what the bus schedule is, then asks me where I go to school, do I have a boyfriend, are we “real exclusive” (“EXTREMELY” I replied), and gives me his number (which I don’t even pretend to listen to, let alone write down) for “whenever [we] break up or get into a big fight and [I] want to be taken out on a nice date,” I wish I could break the habit of continuing to fucking stand there, even though I am scared, even though I disagree that “age doesn’t matter when it comes to men,” but thanks for sharing that philosophy, Greg (which was his name, which he told me while blowing cigarette smoke into my face), I wish I could pick up my phone and just start talking on it, and not be afraid that I will hurt the feelings of this crazy guy, this guy who is approaching much younger women AT A BUS STOP and NOT BACKING OFF despite the STONE-COLD EXPRESSION OF TERROR which I ALMOST UNDOUBTABLY WORE DURING OUR ENTIRE INTERACTION.
“And part of my brain even noted, in that moment, that what just happened was unusual and very cool: Two women had just had a conversation in which they admitted out loud that they were good at something, without feeling the need to qualify it with a bunch of stuff about how they’re not as good as they could be, or how other people are so much better, or how the things they’re good at aren’t really important in the scheme of things. I almost said “a bunch of bullshit” there, but you know, it’s not bullshit. We’re not as good as we could be, because who is? (Also, the years ahead would be pretty bleak if we had no improvement to look forward to.) And there are people who are much better at what we do. And in certain schemes of certain things, at least, who gives a rat’s ass if you can write or sing well? So none of those statements actually qualify as bullshit, in and of themselves. But that compulsive need to acknowledge all of those things whenever someone gives you a compliment, to make sure no one could ever accuse you of being arrogant or cocky or inappropriately self-congratulatory about a demonstrated skill you have worked really hard on building? That’s bullshit.”—
I’m going to go do something really well for a while now (taking a short break only for an awards ceremony, where I am among the awarded, which should probably be proof enough for me to calm the hell down and own this fucking thing).
Interactions I've Had Today Which Haven't Been Totally Weird, At All
This morning, while I was watching Supernanny in Kevin’s apartment (what is it about Supernanny? Every episode follows the exact same formula, every family requires and receives the exact same directives, and yet still I watch with obsessive interest), there came a knock on the door. It was an employee from our (terrible) rental company, with a mother and grad school-age daughter, showing the apartment. I decided to just pretend the apartment was mine. “Yes, the fireplace works,” I said when asked. I smiled at them as if to say, this guitar, this banjo, this hot glue gun, all this is mine. I am not an interloper here.
Just now, writing in my own apartment, there came an identical knock on the door. The very same employee from our (still terrible) rental company stood there with a young woman, and the look on the employee’s face when she saw that it was again me opening the door, wearing the same clothes, was, shall we say, skeptical at best. She apparently did not even entertain the possibility that two of her tenants are in a long-term relationship but chose not to live, technically, together for the time being, but rather in the oh-so-very-much-more proper arrangement of separate apartments, same building. “Yes, it’s very quiet,” I said when asked. I smiled to say, this pot of cold stuffing on my stove, this Mike Nesmith bobblehead, this “Welcome to My Closchen” needlepoint care of Alice, all this is mine, too.
The employee gave me one final suspicious look before she left and as I closed the door, I heard her ask the young woman, “Are you looking for something bigger? I don’t blame you.”
It is intensely disappointing to me that googling “What would Hermione Granger do?" yields nary a single t-shirt, but rather a hell of a lot of fan fiction. In the interests of all those who must daily ask themselves such a question, I have just this second compiled a not-comprehensive list of answers:
If you don’t click the link, you can pretend this just a story from the spring of 2004, when my high school classmate Gator (a nickname! Short for “instigator”! Hahahahaha!), seeking vengence on a girl for pouring a carton of milk over his head earlier that morning, vomited into a milk carton and poured it over said girl’s head. Causing her to chase him around the hallways screaming, “I’m going to shoot you with my shotgun!”
You know, New Jersey men, when you vomit on women and children, it makes it really difficult for me to even attempt to defend my homestate.
A Brief And Illuminating Glance Into My Writing "Process":
Once while I was eating a sandwich, I overheard a scrawny little guy talking about how as a kid, he thought women were robots because he never heard them fart. He noted his simultaneous relief and shock when he found out that this was not the case. I thought, “This guy needs to be in a story.”
I started writing a story about him on a date with a girl. I thought it was going to be a story about accidental pregnancy/abortions/carrying the baby to term but discovering it is a wolf (?!?).
Kevin and I listened to a This American Life story about storage units. I thought, “I want to write about storage units.”
I decided to write about the ghost of a grandmother haunting her own storage unit while her granddaughter is on a terrible date with a man who used to think that women were robots. I started to write about my actual grandmother (with name change and less progeny). I remembered the time my grandmother saw Katharine Hepburn in a department store.
I thought, “You know what this story really needs? For the ghost of Katharine Hepburn to chill with my grandmother.”
I decided to stop trying to be a serious writer. I decided to be the sort of writer who throws the ghost of Katharine Hepburn into a story where necessary, because why the fuck not, at this point.
“At any rate, where books are concerned, it is notoriously difficult to fix labels of merit in such a way that they do not come off. Are not reviews of literature a perpetual illustration of the difficulty of judgment? “This great book,” “this worthless book,” the same book is called by both names. Praise and blame alike mean nothing. No, delightful as the pastime of measuring may be, it is the most futile of all occupations, and to submit to the decrees of the measurers the most servile of attitudes. So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.”—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Assignment: Write 1 to 2 pages on a scene in a book that has profoundly impacted the way you live your life.
Dilemma: You haven’t read a book since high school.
Solution: Write about the only scene in To Kill A Mockingbird that your tutor can currently remember (“Miss Jean Louise, stand up, your father’s passin’”). Use SparkNotes.
Keywords: Brotherhood. Respect. And stuff.
What Your Tutor Would Have Written About: That part in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in which Rufus Scrimgeour is all “Come work for us!” and Harry’s like, “Fuck no!” and then holds up his hand with the “I must not tell lies” scar.