Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Wednesday, December 06, 2006  
There should be an island for misfit people. You know, like on the Rudolph Christmas special with the Island of Misfit Toys where all the odd and unloved toys go live out their days under the rule of King Moonracer. (the debate about what’s “wrong” with the doll rages on, a pop-culture unsolved mystery) The holidays are a difficult time for odd and unloved toys.
 
And they’re not so much fun for us singles, either.
 
So where’s our King Moonracer? Where’s our kind protector to find us and take us to a place where we can find solace with the other misfits who are odd and unloved?
 
Yeah, okay, so we don’t actually live in a claymation world.
 
Still.
 
It’s a good concept. Maybe a little on the Leper colony side of social engineering, but better to find companionship and shared misery with like-afflicted people who understand what you’re going through and feeling than spend days and nights alone or with people who do not have any understanding of your situation.
 
The worst time of year to be odd and/or unloved is the “Holiday” season. And I’m not talking about toys. (seriously, what’s wrong with the doll?) Even, even if a single person is alone by choice, or just love, love, loves the holidays because of all the wonderment and hope, there are facts which cannot be escaped. The holidays are rough on single people. Period.

Look at any television, magazine, newspaper or online ad. Look at billboards and "wish book" catalogs. What do you see? Couples, couples, couples. couples. Love, love, love, love. Big gifts, little gifts, perfect gifts for the perfect love.I know I think this every year. But seriously, this year seems exceptionally bad in the category of Happy Couples and Adorable Children hurled at us to make us singles feel completely unworthy of existence let alone the holiday season. The strong and clear message I have been sent in every, yes, every "Wish Book," Sunday sales supplement, television ad, billboard, banner ad, email solicitation, movie release and even spam is: "This season is all about couples and adorable children. If you're not coupled up or blessed with an adorable child or two, you're not worthy of our advertising dollars and therefore not worthy of the holiday. Now go on, off to the Island of Misfit Toys with you, and don't come back until after Kwanza!"

And just when you thought you were past being hurt and offended by marketing, you realize you have to go out into the madness, either in real life or online, and shop. You have to spend money on gifts.
 
Gifts, of course, are a huge expense for everyone. But. Single people have to spread their holiday spending dollars across their family and friends and carry the burden on their own and only receive one in return. A gift for a couple (or two gifts, one for him, one for her, maybe more if there are children involved) and one gift “from the family” given in return. There’s a huge imbalance here. Sure, you can draw names, but so far that has not proven to really work very well. People rarely adhere to the “rules of exchange” in the name drawing scenario.
 
And no, it’s not about gifts and real friends and family understand you’re single and scraping by on one income and no tax breaks for being married, having children or owning a home. But. That rationale doesn’t assuage the awkward moments when friends and family produce a gift for you and you’ve got nothing or only a small inexpensive token gift to give them. Every year I have the same conversations with friends: No gifts this year! We have these very adult and responsible conversations wherein we discuss the true meaning of the holidays and how great it is just to have good friends and we walk around feeling all warm and fuzzy and so smugly superior because we’re not succumbing to the pressure to buy gifts. And then I go to a party or open my mailbox and what is shoved in my face? Lavishly wrapped gifts from people who vowed with me that we were not exchanging gifts. When I question them why they’ve bought me a present after we agreed we wouldn’t exchange gifts, they say, “Oh, I know, but I couldn’t resist, I saw this and I knew you’d love it.” And I stand there trying to be grateful and remind myself that we had an agreement and they broke the agreement, so it’s not my fault, it’s their’s and they should be the ones feeling guilty, not me. But it doesn’t work that way. They bought me a gift and I have nothing for them. There’s that moment, like when you tell someone you love them and you don’t get an I love you, too, in return, that cuts straight to the heart and soul. Sure, it passes, the awkwardness fades with a lame joke or something in the kitchen suddenly needing a lot of attention, but it’s there. So you have a huge mental note to make sure you give a super swell birthday gift and buy them a holiday gift next year, or better still, give them a “just because we’re good friends” present at some point in the next few months. And no, it shouldn’t be about keeping score or any of the issues in that whole exchange. And it’s really not, most people, well, most mature, decent people, honestly pick up a gift for someone only because they think the recipient will like it. And the recipient should learn to be a gracious recipient and accept these gifts and move on with their life.
 
Yes. I agree. But. We’ve all been in this situation and all the enlightened and gracious tactics in the world will not help ease that awkward moment of realization when there’s a gift being handed to you and you don’t have anything to hand over in return.
 
And no, this is not the private domain of single people, this happens to married people, couples, everyone.
 
But. When you’re single this happens at a higher rate, AND, those gifts just keep on giving, the ribbon around the fancy wrapping isn’t the only string attached. Along with the actual gift there’s guilt (you haven’t got a gift in return) and there’s the implied (or outright spoken) charity. I have a very good friend who habitually gives me very expensive gifts. She and her husband can afford to do this. She wants to do this. She knows I’m struggling financially and that I don’t buy myself much of anything, especially “unnecessary” luxuries. So she’s taken it upon herself to spoil me. Which is really thoughtful and yes, I do appreciate it. But. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m her personal charity. I know she doesn’t mean to flaunt her wealth, but, when I’m sitting there with a very expensive gift in my lap and handing her something, well, not so expensive and undoubtedly not really wanted, it does tend to bring the huge difference in our lifestyles into sharp focus. It’s not a competition, and I know her intention is not to make me feel inadequate and embarrassed. But. We all know in the moment it’s awkward and uncomfortable. A few of those situations and a person ends up feeling really inadequate and embarrassed about their lifestyle. And if you happen to be single these situations become the events that cloud your perspective on the season. You go home alone with your expensive new gift, you look around at your empty abode, feed the cat and see nothing but an old jar of olives and cat food in the fridge, look at your new gift again and it looks horribly, grotesquely out of place in your humble singles pad. That lovely gift which seemed so sumptuous and festive at the restaurant or at your friend’s house looks like it’s trying to make an escape for the door because it doesn’t belong here. It belongs in much more nicely appointed surroundings. Someone once gave me a really lovely gift. I had it on display in my old apartment. Two different visitors questioned me as to where I got it, implying strongly that I must have stolen it because I could never possibly afford it.Yep, those nice holiday gifts really do keep right on giving all year long.
 
The opposite issue arises, too. Some people view single people as living throw-away lives. So they grab anything, usually one of those factory pre-wrapped generic gadget gifts, and hand it to the single person. “Here’s a little something I picked up for you when I was in line at the grocery.” This is done with an air of “okay, handed over that gift, check it off the list, next!”  Meanwhile, other friends, married friends, are the recipients of lovely items for their home or useful items for parents. What it comes down to is: Some married people are out of touch with single life. They’re busy with new homes and young children. The stuff of singledom is long behind them, forgotten like a bad memory. So when they try to think of a gift for a single friend they draw blanks. All their nifty gift ideas are components of new homes and parenting, nifty stuff for the mini-van and swell stuff for all those new rooms in those new houses. And they have the mindset of, “She’s single and lives in an apartment too small to entertain in or really decorate in any meaningful way, she goes to work and spends time with her cat and that’s the sum total of her life. Apart from a gift card for IKEA, Suit Shack or PetSmart there’s really nothing I can give her so I’ll just give her whatever’s easy and cheap. Like her.”  A few years ago I was invited to the new home of a friend. It was a small party where we all knew each other. I was the only single person there. The host gave all the other women a neato canister filled with lovely (and very expensive) kitchen items. I got a factory pre-wrapped car adapter thing which turns one car gadget slot into two. Oh. And it lights up. I um, don’t own a car. My friend, the host, said, “It’ll be handy when you rent a car for your road trips to your parents'! You can plug in all sorts of things to use in the car!”  I know she meant well. I know she was grasping for an idea for me, but why single me out, literally, by giving me a cheap pre-wrapped gift from Walgreen’s when everyone else is getting a lavish and thoughtful gift for their home? I mean, I’m not ungrateful, really, but I don’t get it. Do you? How could I possible feel anything other than awkward and embarrassed when I opened that gift while everyone else looked on with their by comparison lavish gifts perched in their laps?
 
I know this sounds ungrateful and arrogant and geeze, Trill, we never knew you were so, um, ungracious and, well, catty and mean. It’s nice that you have people who care enough to give you gifts. Not everything is a war against single people. I know. I know. And you’re right, of course. But. If you’re single and haven’t found yourself in one of the above mentioned awkward/embarrassing/chopped liver moments, trust me, you will. And when you go home, alone, and are left pondering the gift and your life, come back and we’ll have a chat.
 
Worse than the gift situation, though, are the invitations. Parties. Holiday parties. Many of them obligatory work related parties. You have to go. Period. You have to at least put in an appearance. Nothing shy of Black Plague will get you off the hook for attending some of these events. Most of the hosts of these events are gracious enough to make sure the invitation reads, “and guest.” Which is super swell. Don’t get me wrong on this score, either. It’s very, very nice of companies and associates to include “and guest,” extending an invitation to a complete stranger of your choice. But. There’s a huge, huge huge amount of pressure in those two words. “And guest.” It takes on a sinister sound and looms like a billboard in the silence of your lonely room at night. If you go solo you spend most of the evening alone because everyone else is there with their guest. You make small talk and meet the “and guests.” And you don’t have a guest to introduce. Because you’re single and flying solo. So you do the obligatory mingling, make sure you get in some face time with the associates who invited you, paint on a pleasant “gosh isn’t this just a lovely event” face and get the heck out of there as soon as you can.  If you drag a friend along, you then have to introduce your guest and it will become obvious you didn’t want to come alone, you couldn’t get a date so you dragged your poor friend along to keep you company. L stands for loser. Next year just go alone wearing a t-shirt which says, “desperate loser who couldn’t get a date.” At least that way you might stand a slim chance of finding a kindred spirit who’s in the same situation rather than giving the appearance you’re there “with someone.”

And then there are the parties at friend's homes. Mirth, merriment and fa la la swutting la la la. I am now officially the only unattached person in my social circles. Apart from a few devoted bachelors who prefer to remain single so they have the option of a different partner every month, I am the only unattached person in my social cirlces. I know other single people, I know other single people exist, so far I'm not the last one on the planet, but it's starting to feel that way. I've always known one or two single people who I could commiserate with over the holidays. Not this year. Even my most cynical and relationship jaded bachelor buddy has a new love in his life. And I'm really happy for him. Don't get me wrong there, either. But. It's gonna be a rough year for me. Lots of invitations, all of them with "and guest" sent by people, friends, who know darned well I don't have an "and guest" to bring to their holiday brunch or cocktail party. I know, I know, this is my issue, my problem, not theirs. All the more reason we need a Misfit Island for people like me. I'll go to these parties because I'm a good friend and I was invited and that's what you do. And I will endure these events, smiling and acting friendly, happy and festive alone at gatherings filled with couples. And children.

On one hand I absolutely adore children and love to spend time with them, but on the other hand having me sit at the kid’s table is not exactly what I had in mind when I accepted the invitation to the holiday brunch at a friend’s house.
 
I honestly believe, because I want to believe, that my friend simply did not have enough space at her dining table to fit all the adults. And since I was the only single guest and because I adore her children, she thought it would be okay to have me sit with the kids. I should note that she didn’t have a place to sit, either, and spent the entire meal standing between the dining room and the kitchen. Other people, more jaded, cynical people, would assume I was invited to serve as a babysitter for the children. This assumption would be made because well, I was offered a seat at the kid’s table, and the kids included the children of all the guests, not just my host’s children, the above mentioned adored ones. I did not know the other kids. Well. I didn’t when I arrived. I certainly did by the time I left. Because once I sat with the kids at the kid’s table, it was apparently assumed that I would “handle” all of the children during the rest of the party. And that’s exactly what happened. Every time I tried to break free from a couple of children to have an adult conversation, two more children would appear proffering a toy or a problem they wanted me to fix. One of the guests, the mother of one of the more rambunctious children, did try to save me from the situation, but, another guest said, “Trillian doesn’t get to spend time with kids very often, she loves it!” and started talking about the new library opening in their suburb leaving me to play several rounds of Don’t Break the Ice with the kids. Basically, yes, I was the babysitter. I didn’t get paid for babysitting services because apparently this was supposed to be a treat for me. Apparently spending this time with several children was seen as a band-aid to stop the pain of my overwound biological clock. How very charitable of them. Yes, I adore my host’s children and love spending time with them, but, the children of near or complete strangers? Not my idea of a good time when I’m there to enjoy a party with adults.
 
If you are planning an event where there will be couples and one single person, please, for the love of Dr. Spock, either do not invite the children of your adult guests, or leave the single person off the invite list for this event. I know it sounds mean and lots of single people wouldn’t mind spending time with kids or surely this won’t happen at your party. Guess again. Try it if you insist on proving me wrong. Invite several couples with children and one single woman. Watch what happens. I’ll give you that pack of Pez I’ve been betting if the single woman isn’t the unofficial babysitter within an hour of her arrival.

And then there are the family gatherings. Year after year after year after year after year us singles traipse to our parents' or siblings' homes to celebrate the holidays. We're always the ones who do the traveling because, har har, there's only one of us and it's easier and less expensive for us to travel than for the other members of the family to pack up their brood and travel. Excuses are always made for siblings who have spouses and children, "Oh, they should spend their holiday in their own home, it's difficult to travel with kids, they want to have their own traditions..." A few years ago I mentioned that I saw an offer for a Christmas vacation package which sounded interesting to me. My mother, who was at the time healthy, gave me such an uncustomary guilt inducing huff and cold shoulder I'm still doubtful as to whether or not it was my real mother. "Oh. I see. That sounds nice. Naturally your father and I just assumed you'd be spending the holiday with us, here, at home, but if you'd rather go on an exotic vacation that's certainly your choice." (It was hardly exotic, by the way.) This is the same woman who begged me to spend Christmas with my fiance, 6,000 miles away. When I had a fiance. I was perceived as an adult capable and needing to fend for myself and make my own plans for holidays when I was part of a couple. Now that I'm single again I'm apparently duty bound and obligated to spend holidays with my parents. Not that I wouldn't anyway, I like my parents and of course I want to spend as many holidays as I can with them, but the assumptions and guilt trips bug me. What if one year I didn't want to deal with the planes, trains and automobiles and all the other holiday travelers? What if I wanted to take that (not so exotic) vacation or, like I'd really like to do this year, stay home with my cat and relax on the one day off not spent in a hospital, doctor's office or veterinary clinic? Anyone sitting there thinking, "Geeze Trill, you're lucky you have parents and a loving family and home to visit for the holidays. You'll regret feeling that way some day," has apparently never traveled during the holidays. Like clockwork, without fail, I travel for Christmas and spend New Year's Eve sick with something I caught while traveling with the masses. Because the fact is that for my one or two days spent with my family, I will spend two days shoulder to shoulder, nose to nose, with millions of complete strangers, most of them sneezing, coughing and green in the face. Yes, I've tried Airborne, and yes, I've still caught one or several illnesses while traveling during the holidays.

But endure this we do, because singles know they want to be with their families because the alternative is complete isolation. And we like our families. Although after a few hours in close confinement with all of them many of us question why we like them. Siblings are partnered up with spouses or boy/girlfriends. Nieces and nephews have boy/girlfriends. Parents. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Grandparents. Everyone has someone. Except you. And everyone knows you still don't have anyone and you will naturally be alone again this year and the new boy/girlfriends of relatives raise a suspicious eye at you and there are whispers and you start to feel paranoid amongst your own family. It can really stink. My widowed 87 year old relative has a more active love life than I do. My 15 year old niece has a more active love life than I do. My cousin the most boring CPA ever to walk the Earth has a more booming love life than I do. Even my sister's dog is pregnant. They're all bringing "someone special" to the family holiday gathering.

And yes. It's great to be surrounded by so many happy family members. Of course. But. It hurts, too. It crystallizes some really painful and difficult truths. There's a good possibility this is how it will always be. You are the single one in the family, the one who never got married, the one who shows up alone year after year, the one who watches the little ones while the adults take naps or catch up on gossip, the one who drives the elderly guests home, the one who gets the fruitcake and bath products, the one who will be left standing alone after everyone else has gone home to put a cozy finale on their holiday with their families and partners. That's the loneliest part of the holidays. Everyone's gone home with their gifts and leftover allotment, the kids are exhausted, the adults are craving some romantic couple time, and the single person is standing there waving good-bye, closing the door and is alone. It's the suckiest part of being single during the holidays. Even if you're with family, they're coupled up and want some alone time. I long ago learned to vamoose Christmas night, my parents need some quiet time together to unwind after a very hectic season and holiday. I'm just in the way. I typically go up to my little kid bedroom and try to read and count the hours and minutes until the day is officially over.

I'm posting this because maybe you know a single person and maybe this will help remind you that this is a tough time of year for some people and go easy on them.

We're not Grinchy, we're just sad and lonely. Which I suppose is the same thing, ol' Grinch was just sad and lonely, too. He got stuck traveleing in treacherous conditions, and got stuck tending to the little Whos and had to spend the holiday as a single Grinch with all the paired up Whos.

When I was young and the Universe was just starting to confuse me, I thought it would be nice for King Moonracer to have the Grinch live on Misfit Island so he wouldn't have to be alone up in that mountaintop cave. I couldn't understand why that benevolent flying lion wouldn't see the Grinch on his nightly jaunts around the world looking for misfits to populate his island kingdom. At the time I didn't grasp the difference between animated worlds and claymation worlds. It was just all one big holiday television special universe. Made for television, prettily packaged, merchandised, marketed and conflicts resolved in under an hour with generous time allotments for advertising. You know, just like in real life.

Which is why the Island for Misfits seems like such a good idea to me. The odd and unloved could be sad and lonely together. We wouldn't have to deal with the barrage of holiday marketing assaulting our emotions bringing our single (and presumed pathetic) lives into sharp focus for at least six weeks every year. And we'd be far away from happy festive people who don't want to face the fact that they know or are related to someone who's major holiday buzz kill because they're single.

Why am I such a misfit? I have no idea. A few years ago a friend of mine "joked" that I'm like the doll on Misfit Island. No one has any idea why she's there, but there's something wrong with her, something very wrong. They don't send you to Misfit Island unless there's something very not right with you. But at least you've got the other misfits to hang out with and share the misery of being odd and unloved.

10:40 PM

Monday, December 04, 2006  
Is it me or is it the season bringing out the worst in people or is there actually a sudden and sharp decrease in tact, discretion and dignity?

Oh sure, there have always been people who are rude, braggarts, noisy know-it-alls...and now with blogging taking the world by storm these people have a worldwide forum.

Which I originally thought was good. Because the more tactlessness they dole out online, perhaps, hopefully, the less need they’ll feel to do it in real life. Give them an open forum, a forum which could possibly be read by the entire Universe, and why would they bother to behave badly to one or two incidental people they run into in the break room or coffee shop? Right? Wrong.

That theory has officially been proved overly optimistic and wrong.

My new theory is that the exact opposite has occurred. Because these people have this huge open forum, and utilize it, they feel validated and encouraged. This is a green light for them to have at it in all aspects of their lives so now they’re spreading their tactlessness, rudeness and indignities everywhere they go.

There’s no such thing as polite company. So there’s no need for manners or tact. There’s no such thing as keeping a little mystery, so there’s no need to preserve personal dignity.

Yes. I really do blame blogging.

Where did you first find about about The Britney Photos? If you felt a need to see them for yourself, where did you see them? I’ve got a pack of Pez to wager that it was a blog of some sort - an entertainment blog, a porn blog, or, shudder a “media” blog.

What I find slightly surprising about The Britney Photos is not that they exist (I mean, c’mon, it’s Britney Spears) it’s that a) people apparently care and b) the photos are being discussed everywhere, everywhere. Even here! And the discussions are not, “OMG, you can see her, um, her.” They’re “Ewwww, gross, you can see her cesarean scar.” Somehow, somewhere, something happened, a shift in the paradigm occurred and now it’s more scandalous to show a maternity belly scar than a full in your face beaver.

Just a few years ago a man over the age of 40 talking about Britney Spears’ snatch would have put the guy in dirty old man territory. Today I had the pleasure of hearing a 54 year old man tell a sophomoric joke about Britney to a 29 year old woman and a 35 year old man. And they all laughed and had a lengthy conversation about Britney’s scar and whether or not Lindsay Lohen’s stoned look is sexy. The verdict was only if she doesn’t have needle marks from shooting up. Apparently having a serious drug problem is okay as long as there are no physical scars. Britney snatch? Pfft. Whatever. But did you see that scar?! Battle wounds are apparently the new porn. We’re all jaded and cynical, we’ve seen it all, even if we didn’t want to see it or hear about it we’ve seen it. No mystery, no dignity, no shame, no pride, no modesty. It’s all there, everywhere.

But scars, marks of physical pain and aging, the unique talismans of life most of us acquire during our stay here, now, that’s gross/scandalous/titillating. How dare we show imperfections?! How dare Britney prove to us she’s had children and has the scar to prove it? How dare she show the world a physical imperfection?

After the Britney/Lindsay conversation (thankfully) ended, one of the group said, completely unsolicited, completely out of nowhere, “My xyz stock went through the roof yesterday. Talk about a Merry Christmas, I sold and made $7,500. Combined with (my spouse’s) bonus, we took in an extra $17,500 this week. Aspen here we come!”

Um. Ya know, I’m “happy” for their windfall, I guess, but, did I need to hear about it? Or at least in exact numbers? Of course I’m jealous because $17,500 just happens to be about the amount of debt the Furry Creature and I accrued in medical expenses this month. It makes me mad that I’m jealous. I don’t want to be jealous, at least not jealous of money. Money is a personal thing. My financial struggles are mine. I own them. In fact debt is one of the few things I own. I suppose I could and should be proud of that. But I’m not. I struggle with it. Every day. I know people who are in worse situations. I try to keep my financial problems in perspective. It used to be you never knew who was struggling and who wasn’t - apart from the obvious signs of wealth like new cars and big houses - because apart from loud mouthed braggarts no one talked about money. It was considered rude. You could force someone to feel envious or piteous by talking about how much or how little money you had, and that’s not a fair or polite thing to do. You weren’t supposed to want to make people feel uncomfortable feelings.

But not anymore! Now bragging about how much you made on stocks or on a signing bonus is accepted conversation even among near strangers. I frequently hear people talking to me about how much money they’re putting in their 401K and which plans are bringing in exactly how much return on their exact investment.

Someone at work I considered a semi-friend asked me how I was going to pay for some recent medical procedures. I thought it was rude of this person to ask, but, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was a question borne of concern, as in, “Trill, what are you going to do?!” So told them I was trying to get a hardship loan from my 401K. We work at the same place, have the same plan, and in the past she told me she’d borrowed from her 401K. I thought this was sort of friend to friend talk.

A few days later my boss and a coworker confronted me about the risks and dangers of taking money out of my 401K. They had all sorts of scary warnings. I asked my boss if she was offering to give me a raise instead. She said no. The next day the Church Lady came in with, I kid you not, a casserole and a bag of cat food. “I heard you were having financial problems. Here’s something for you and something for your kitty. Just heat up the casserole in the microwave for 5 minutes and you’re all set!” If I was ever going to die of embarrassment that was probably the moment. But the Universe didn’t see fit to strike me dead at that moment so I had to just get out some sort of a thank-you and try to graciously accept the food. And don’t get me wrong, it was nice of her, very charitable. But. I mean. I work with these people. My personal financial business should never be their business. It’s one thing to help out a coworker going through a difficult personal issue like a death - there’s no personal shame involved in that, bereavement is universal. But money problems, I mean, that’s not so Universal and knowing everyone knows your financial problems is not comforting.

The original person who started the gossip about my financial problems is the culprit. And maybe they thought they were doing me a favor. “Ooooh, poor Trill, go easy on her, she has a lot of medical expenses and has to take money from her 401K to pay for them.” Nah. I think it’s just that the gossip is too juicy and too scary to not share with everyone in the office.

Like scars, financial hardship is another new form of shadenfreude-esque porn. It used to be wrong and tactless to discuss money, yours or anyone else's. Now it’s titillating. Been on a blind date or online match up with a man lately? No? Lucky you. Without fail men (and these are over 30 year old men, for the record, though I’m not sure that makes any difference) bring up the subject of money and how much they have in the first 30 minutes of conversation. I started noting this behavior about half way through 50 First Dates. If the date lasts an hour based on my data there’s an 87% chance he will have mentioned money - how much he has, how much he spends or spent on a high ticket item or what his financial goals are for the future. And yes, I mean, if you’re going to be a couple at some point this discussion needs to take place, but not within the first hour of meeting each other. And not when you have no intention of calling the woman. Which has been the case in every case. These guys swoop in, brag about their money, insult my looks or my career or some fatal flaw which deems me undateable, and are never heard from again. I should say “these” guys because it’s apparently almost every guy who will at least give me one chance in person. Why don’t I date? That’s a huge part of it. Feeding these egos by listening to them talk about their money is not my idea of a good time. But apparently it works for them, apparently a lot of women like a little money talk. It’s worked for these guys in the past and apparently they haven’t honed conversation skills beyond that. And really, that’s probably what it comes down to anyway. A transaction between adults. He: Brags about money. She: Wants things. He: Buys things. She: Gives him sex. Nothing new in that equation. But what baffles me is that these guys don’t want sex with me, they’re not interested in me, so why brag or try to impress me with their money? What’s the point? Ahhhh, to make me feel inferior and thus make them feel superior. Not only can they feel good about rejecting me as a partner, they can feel good about making it clear they’ve got money and I’m not getting any of it. I am: Unworthy. Success, ego fed. Onto the next one.

Yeah, okay, so I’m more than a little cynical and jaded when it comes to men. But really, I promise, my experiences are not unique. Many women cite the same issues with men on first dates. Whole lotta bragging going on in coffee houses, bars and produce sections these days. When did that become okay? When did dating become a tactless string of indignities thrown out as merit badges of sexual worthiness?

I’m guessing about the time it became more salacious to see a cesarean scar than a full beaver shot.

I’ve been mulling all of this over lately, wondering if it’s just me being fed up, old, cranky and cynical or if there really is a change in decorum, that we’re becoming a tactless, tasteless, rude, crude species.

I wanted to think not, I wanted to think I should chastise myself for sounding like some uptight old bitty, I wanted to go with the flow, adapt and evolve and let it go.

And then.

I went to a bachelorette party, to get wild with some new friends…

And like Ricky Nelson at an oldies concert, I felt out of place, out of touch, misunderstood, confused and like I’d unwittingly walked into a joke on me.

My friends are married. Or don’t want to be married.

So I haven’t been through the whole: engagement party, bridal shower, couples shower, work shower (where appropriate) bachelorette party, wedding gift parade in a while. Thankfully. It’s been really nice not having that pressure to show up at some party every month with a gift for the same couple.

There’s this girl, and yes, she’s a girl, very young, at work who’s getting married. I won’t say we’re friends, but, we get along okay and we’ve spent a few unhappy hours after work having a drink.

I think she has been feeling bad and guilty about the whole me not being invited to a department luncheon thing. I will give her credit there, she is one of a handful who I’m sure had no idea I wasn’t invited and felt horrible about it when she found out I was purposely and expressly not invited. She’s the only one who has dared to speak of it to me and had the integrity and compassion to apologize.

So, she invited me to her bachelorette party.

I could have declined and initially assumed I would.

But as the date drew closer she kept insisting she wanted me to come to her party and that it would be a fun girls’ night out and she insisted no one else from work would be there, she didn’t want me to bring a gift, just show up and have some fun. And so, I guess under some influence of too much work, too much stress, too many doctor appointments, too much medication, too much loneliness, I agreed to attend.

Big mistake.

Huge mistake.

Never, ever again.

Some of my friends had bachelorette parties, hen parties, mostly a few close friends going out to dinner, a few bawdy wedding cards, one more glass of wine than usual and talking about shoes and in-laws. If the wine really got spilling the subject of former boyfriends might come up, and by coming up I mean laid to rest forever: slate the jerks and make a wistful comment about his one good quality one last time and be glad we’d never have to speak of him again. Something wild like that. Yeah. Pretty freaky and loose friends I have. Actually, they were, which is why the bachelorette/hen parties were so tame. Been there, done that, bored with it, over it, grown-up, moving on, settling down, found a great guy, getting married.

So I when I finally gave in and accepted the invite to this bachelorette party I didn’t expect wild and crazy women being lewd and, um, well, kinda scary.

I bought a funny wedding card, a bottle of wine and a pair of fishnet stockings with hearts with daggers through them on the elastic part. Woo hoo! Trill, you naughty woman, you. Who’d a thought that about you?!

I know, I know, I know. Okay? I know. But I don’t really know this girl all that well. And even if I did I wouldn’t buy her anything which could be defined as an apparatus. I didn’t give my best friends apparatuses for their hen parties. I mean, I guess because most of my friends were older when they got married it was assumed they already had all the apparatuses they needed or wanted, or they would procure them on their own. I honestly hesitated with the fishnet dagger heart stockings because I thought they might be over the top and embarrass her (and me) in front of her friends.

Silly, silly Trillian.

My gift was prudish, as in Amish prudish, in comparison to the gifts given at this party.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I knew this was going to be a night I’d regret as soon as I arrived at the party.

I was greeted by a woman who smelled of beer, mainly because she had recently spilled beer on her dress, apparently while she was chugging a pony keg. She threw her arms around me and gave me: a) a green bouffant wig, b) a necklace made of candy “beads” in the shape of penises (I just learned Microsoft prefers penises over the biology class correct penes. Huh. Interesting. That’ll give me something to talk about at the next bachelorette party I attend.) c) a blow out party horn, you know, the kind that inflate and roll out when you blow into them? Well, perhaps you’ve seen these, perhaps I’m the last person on Earth to experience these…it’s in the shape of a penis and when you blow it 1) it looks like you’re giving a blow job and 2) becomes erect, and d) a penis shaped name tag. I was instructed to write my “stripper name” on the penis name tag and put it in a bucket with a group photo of a Chippendales troupe on it. Thank goodness I have a stripper name!

Okay, right. This is not exactly what I expected, but okay. Go with the flow, maybe it’s just one overenthusiastic friend who went a little overboard planning the party. There were already several girls/women in attendance. All of them were sporting “goofy fun! wigs in various crayon box colors and penis beads and various styles of hooker shoes/boots. I didn’t get that memo, someone forget to tell me to wear my hooker shoes. They were standing around a table with food and drinks, all of it sexually suggestive. There were Jel-lo shots pre-made and ready to chug in shot glasses featuring naked male models, bottles of Jack Daniels and Jagermeister, the pony keg, and of course, the penis cake and boob cupcakes.

My bottle of wine looked disturbingly out of place.

But even more disturbing was my co-worker who was in the middle of all this, wearing a blue wig, a tiara/veil, platform thigh high red shiny hooker boots, white fishnet tights, a pleather “skirt” which was basically nothing more than a belt, about an 8” wide strip of pleather wrapped around her, really nothing more than a way to avoid an indecent exposure in public ticket, ruffle lace panties with airbrushed bum cheeks hanging peeking out from below the “hem” of the “skirt,” a Hooters style tank top which said, “Last call for alcohol and beer goggle sex,” the gs in goggle made to look like nipples, a “Fuck me, I’m Irish and drunk” button pinned to the sleeve of her tank top and various fake tattoos of male and female anatomy and couples portraying different kama sutra positions. Probably needless to say she was staggering drunk. Or drunk and not used to wearing platform hooker boots. Nice. I’m so glad I went to that party. I knew this sort of thing happened, I’m a little out of touch but I’m not dead (or Amish) and I always wondered what sort of girls really got into this sort of thing.

Now I know. I work with one of them.

I knew these women were several glasses of alcohol ahead of me and I cut a lot of slack for that. But. Um, that outfit, the décor, the food, the party favors…it all took conscious, sober planning. You don’t spontaneously put together an outfit like that, nor do you spontaneously find penis necklaces and kama sutra tattoos. At least I don’t think you do.

Shortly after I arrived two other women arrived. They were excited to don their wigs, penis shaped stripper name tag and penis necklaces, enthused over my co-worker’s outfit and slammed Jager shots. I could say when in Rome, have a couple of drinks and get into the festivities…but, this wasn’t Rome, this was some bizarre planet from an unaired episode of Star Trek.

Now that everyone had arrived, it was time to play the games. The bachelorette party games.

I wanted to run, hide, die, anything to avoid the games these women planned.

I have never felt so old, so prudish and so horrible out of place in my life. I am pretty good about going with the flow, blending in and getting along in just about any situation. And I’ve been in some really weird situations in my life. But this one, well, this one takes the penis cake.

The irony is that I was not the oldest person there. There were a couple of women older than me, and most were just a few years younger. A few were the same age as my co-worker, very young, and if they were solely responsible for the party I would have a better sense of understanding. But it turns out one of the women older than me had done a lot of the planning and had acquired many of the party favors. Okay, I mean, you know, hey, let your hair down, (or put it under a goofy fun! wig) get into the spirit of the thing, I guess. Um. Yeah. Okay. Sure.

But.

Oh never mind.

The games, oh my what fun the games were: “Kama sutra bingo,” position numbers are called out and as you scratch them off the card an illustration of the position appears, “Dare to Do It,” a truth or dare type game wherein we’re supposed to either tell whether or not we’ve done a specific act and with whom, OR, take the dare and demonstrate your “technique” on a Twinkie (I find it interesting that more women chose to demonstrate their “technique” live, on a Twinkie, to a group of women they barely know, than admit whether or not they’ve done a specific act with a man), ”Pick-Up Dicks” (like pick-up sticks), “What’shisname’s Name and Size” wherein we were supposed to guess the nickname and size of the groom-to-be’s penis, “Pecker Ring Toss” (self explanatory (I assume)) and the big crowd pleaser, the bride-to-be pulled the penis shaped stripper name tags out of the Chippendales bucket and we had to guess whose it was. I have to admit, this was actually kind of funny. Especially because I have a really good stripper name. It sounds real. As in, everyone thinks there’s an actual famous stripper with that name. And no one suspected it belonged to me. Presumed innocent, bwa ha ha ha…

Yeah, it was funny until someone got hurt. We were supposed to wear our penis shaped stripper name tags the rest of the night and would henceforth be called by our stripper names. Anyone not complying with this was supposed to put a dollar bill in the Chippendales bucket. Why a dollar you ask?

Glad you asked.

Because by the time the bucket had about $25 in it, ding-dong, stripper calling!

Yep. A male stripper.

Who I found to be the ugliest, skankiest pile of oily lubricated flesh and muscle I’ve ever seen. But the other women seemed to find him appealing. I didn’t want to go anywhere near him, but they were shoving dollars in his thong, most of them writing their phone numbers on the bills and grabbing a feel. I mean, you know, yay women’s rights movement, we have the freedom to exploit and subjugate men as sex objects. Maybe I am Amish because if this is coming a long way, baby, I think maybe I’ll go back. I know it’s all in good fun and no one’s forcing the guy to do this and I’m sure he does it because he loves having drunk women paw at him, and I’m sure he gets more than his share of action at these gigs. He gets paid to have sex! Woo hoo! But. Is this really the sort of equal opportunities women needed? Personally I’d rather have a pay increase to match my male counterparts’ salaries than be given the “right” to paw at a skanky guy lubed up in baby oil. Yep, we’ve come a long way, baby.

After everyone except me posed for provocative photos with the stripper we opened the gifts.

I’m no prude. Really. I swear. I’m not. Or maybe I am. There was the “usual” array of battery operated items, loads of lotions, some undergarments for her and him, and a game involving a spinner and costumes. But then there were a few other items. And this is where I think maybe I might be a prude. Because I had absolutely no idea what some of her gifts were – I could make a few guesses but honestly? I’m really not sure what they were or how they’re to be used. There was not an obvious shape or “function” to some of them. Fortunately I wasn’t the only one baffled, one of the more drunk women said, “What the Hell is that?!” to one of the odder gifts. I’m not going to explain it but it involves a very distinct fetish.

My co-worker was the one to describe in great detail how it’s used.

Lovely. I have to work with this woman. And now I know. I know way too much.

And then she opened my tame little fishnet stockings. I wanted to die of embarrassment over how Amish those fishnets looked in comparison to the fetish implements her friends gave her. (Hey, had I known she was into that I would have known what to buy her…actually, I wouldn’t have been sure so I probably would have stuck with the fishnets) Fortunately we had to hurry through the gifts and cake because the limo was waiting. Two of the women took cans of shaving cream out to the limo. As we loaded into the limo they sprayed penises on the windows. Lovely. A rolling super stretch limo with penises on the window.

All along my plan was to leave at this juncture. But as I stood there trying to get a cab, the ladies loudly insisted I join them, the “fun was just beginning.” (Really? Learning about the implements required for a very specific and unusual fetish is just the beginning of the fun?!) I insisted I didn’t think I could handle any more fun, I’d had enough fun and booze to last me several months. Next thing I knew I was picked up and shoved into the limo by three of the women. Literally picked up and shoved, abducted, into the limo.

We went to a large bar with several “party rooms.” The bride-to-be drank for free. Because, you know, she hadn’t already had quite enough to drink. We played Pin the Penis on the Man. Apparently this bar frequently hosts bachelorette parties and provides this game as fun entertainment for the ladies. Yep. Big fun. Lotsa fun. Really, really, really drunk women wearing goofy fun! wigs, penis shaped name tags, blindfolded, stumbling around in platform hooker shoes with penises in their hands jabbing them in the air attempting to pin it on a poster. Lotsa lotsa fun. They also provided a “Fuzzy Pecker Pinata.” This was the finale. The bride-to-be was placed under the piñata where she was told to “do it with her hands until it erupted onto her.” Yes. The effect was supposed to be that of a hand job and an ensuing facial. What spilled out onto her and all over the floor were: Condoms. Lots and lots of condoms. Bags of Penis shaped gummy candy, a bunch of those champagne popper noise makers, penis shaped lollipops, different flavors and types of lubricants, plastic shot glasses attached to mardi gras type beads, “Decision coins” (“Do it! Don’t do it!”), Altoid type mints, “Cum Kleen” wipes in mango scent. (I read one of the packages, in case you’re not aware, they “make it easy to clean up after the fun. Disposable and Easy, cleans up messy lubes. Keep a few in your purse just in case.”

“Keep a few in my purse just in case?!” That cracked me up and made the whole night worthwhile. I mean, the fact that they spell this out as a selling feature absolutely cracks me up. And now, when I really hate my job and I think I can’t go on, I will remind myself, “It could be worse, Trill, you could be in charge of the Cum Kleen account.”

As we left that bar we were all given “treat bags.” Most of the women piled back into the limo to go to other bars. They were much too drunk to abduct me this time so I quickly got a cab and went home. I dropped the treat bag on the floor and fell into bed.

The next morning my hopes that it had all been a weird and bad dream were dashed when I found the treat bag on the floor. In it were: Another candy penis necklace, more gummy penises, a sticker proclaiming, “If found drunk or unconscious please return to…” with a place to write in a name and phone number, pink marti gras beads, a pin which looks like a sheriff’s badge proclaiming, “Pecker Inspector,” a black garter belt with a penis on it, a condom, a little tub of Nipple Nibbler (as far as I can it’s cherry Chapstick in a tub), a “Fetish Play” dice game, the dice say: “above the waist, below the waist, all over, wrists and arms, ?, and ankles and legs, tickle, spank, restrain, paddle, punish and whip or flog,” and an item requiring a battery.

You heard me.

No, I’m not kidding.

Yes, just one battery. AA. You do the math.

And unfortunately I have to face the woman, at work, who in every photograph taken that night has a visible button proclaiming, “Fuck me I’m Irish and drunk.” The woman who gave a male stripper a lap dance. The woman who told a large group of women the name and size of her soon-to-be husband’s penis. The woman who explained a fetish device to a group of women. The woman who jerked off a piñata. And I’m embarrassed about the Church Lady bringing me food because everyone in the office knows I’m having financial and medical problems? I mean, c’mon, what sort of messed up society is this where everyone knows everyone’s business, right down to their 401K balance and sexual fetish? I have to work with this woman! Every day. I have to face her, deal with her and pretend everything’s normal. I mean, everything is normal. She keeps coming to work and behaving usual, she even emailed me photos of the party. Her in her hooker outfit and penis jewelry feeling up a greasy male stripper. And I’m supposed to respect her and deal with her on a professional level? I mean, um. You know, in time, I suppose, I’ll get past this. But. Until then I’m thinking of moving to one of those Amish colonies in Indiana.

3:27 PM

 
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