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.
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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

 
Saturday, March 29, 2008  
Apparently Earth Hour was a "success." Rock on, WWF. And no, I'm not talking about Hulkamania. WWF is a great organization that does amazing things for wildlife of the world. The scope is international. Conservation knows no political or religious boundaries. Or, well, that's the goal, anyway. So, s'all good and I was excited and into Earth Hour. I'm still not clear why Earth Hour doesn't happen on Earth Day, but hey, whatever. Conserving energy and doing something about the huge problem of climate change is good and necessary, no matter what day of the year.

I know, I know. I hear you loud and clear. I hear you saying, "Give it a rest, Trill. We do care about glaciers and polar bears and yes, we believe global warming is real, and here now and will have a negative impact on the planet and on each of us very soon. Some of us even made it through Al Gore's yawn fest of a PowerPoint. Heck, some of us even believe Al Gore invented global warming right after he invented the internet and by golly he's got the Nobel Peace Prize to prove it. So get off our backs and off your blog about it already, will ya?"

Okay. I know. You're smart and conscientious and you care and you do your part. Yay you.

Around the globe, for one hour, individuals, businesses and municipalities turned off some or all of the lights. I had dinner with some friends at a restaurant featuring a "lights out" green meal. The menu offerings were items which do not require cooking. However they did require refrigeration which is a food health and safety code, for good reason. Green and ecologically conscious is one thing, botulism is another.

And that's a good point. You don't have to live without electricity completely to play an integral role in doing something very real, very now in creating a positive impact on the climate. Just be a little more conscious of your use of electricity and conscientious in turning any power switch. There are probably some times you don't need all the lights on in the house, or times when the television is on and you're not in the room, or nights when you could make a seven veggie salad for dinner instead of using the stove, oven or microwave.

Lighting experts say it's pleasing to have "layers and levels" of light in our homes. To the HGTV uninitiated, that means having a room awash with: recessed ceiling lighting, chandeliers or pendant lighting, table lamps and even sconces in some cases. That's a lot of lighting. And yes, I get the theory and have seen the pleasing results. All on a nifty remote control/computerized system. One of my friends has a house with a light timing system which, when you hit the switch, lights your way down the hall and into the kitchen. The light travels with you, like a spotlight, as you walk down the hall. It sounds cool but in practice it's creepy. If you stop walking the lighting continues to go off and on down the hall and into the kitchen without you. Lighting systems like these are popular and to some extent energy efficient. But c'mon. My grandparents didn't have electricity in their home, the entire huge three story farmhouse had no power, and yet somehow they managed to get by without layers of lighting, and they even managed to get to the kitchen for years before the county brought power lines out to their neck of the woods and they hooked up to them.

Am I saying we should all start fumbling around in the dark or using candles to light our way at night? No. But I know there are ways we can all cut back our energy consumption. I live in a small, teeny tiny condo. I don't need a lot of lighting and I don't use a lot. But nonetheless I am vowing to have a conscientious hour (or more) of no power (apart from the fridge) every night after dark. Seems like a no brainer, right? Wellllll, maybe not as simple as it seems. No power means no computer. No charging the cell phone, laptop or iPod. No air conditioning in the summer. Are these huge sacrifices? Oh good grief, of course not. It's getting into the habit of heightened consciousness and awareness, remembering to not hit the on switch or plug in that requires the discipline. If we all take small steps we'll have a big impact. We had a big impact in Earth Hour.

But Ireland, well, Ireland. Sigh. I'm not casting aspersions. I'm just observing and reporting, sharing the AP news quote. "Ireland's more than 7,000 pubs elected not to take part — in part because of the risk that Saturday night revelers could end up smashing glasses, falling down stairs, or setting themselves on fire with candles."

And that differs from any other Saturday night in an Irish pub?

Note to Ireland's pubs: I dined in a completely candle lit restaurant which was very crowded. Libations were served. I noticed a lot of bottles of wine being consumed. And the restrooms are down a flight of stairs. I'm happy to report that even with the very large crowd and libations served, no glasses were smashed, no one fell down the stairs and shockingly, no one set themselves on fire.

And if people setting themselves alight in pubs is a problem in Ireland, well, here's a thought: What say you encourage people to stay out of pubs for an hour?

Then again, this is a country which bans smoking anywhere anyone is employed except police holding cells, prisons, college dorms, nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals. Ummm. Again. Not casting aspersions on Ireland or the Irish. But why in the name of boiled potatoes would you make special provisions in your smoking ban for clinically physically and mentally infirm people? "Gran's so physically incapable of taking care of herself we have to put her in a nursing home, but by golly she better get to smoke there. In her bed. In the nursing home." "They finally put ol' Crazy Sean away in the looney bin, about time, eh? How many houses has he burned to the ground? I lost count. But at least he can smoke in the psych hospital." Maybe reasonable logic may not apply to personal safety issues in Ireland.

So along with doing our own part, we have to compensate for Ireland who apparently can't be trusted around open flames.

It's not necessarily lights out time for me since my lighting consumption is already minimal, but it is power out time. I'm a participant and therefore guilty party of modern times. I'm on the go and my life goes with me. I use computers. Extensively. I have a cell phone. An iPod. Digital cameras. These modern conveniences all use power. So it's time I curtailed my reliance on those items. My grandparents would scoff at this. My gran would say this, exactly: "Oh for the love of Edison, girly, you'd think you were making some divine sacrifice. Get over yourself. All those newfangled gadgets of yours have clouded your perspective and judgment. If you ask me you're far too reliant on them. I managed and entire household and managed my clothing design and sewing business without any electricity, surely you can do without it for a an hour." She's right on every point and I'm setting out to do her proud by not looking at this as a sacrifice but as natural as breathing.

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11:44 PM

Thursday, March 27, 2008  
I have a new kind of Hell at Work. Yes. I’m a bitch because I’m generally not in favor of office romance. Yes. I’m a bitch because I have low tolerance for people who spend their days in the office doing everything except the job they were hired to do. Yes. I’m a bitch because I resent people who shirk their responsibilities and expect other people to a) understand their personal problems are more important than work and b) cover for them and their lack of ability to do their job.

Okay? Yes. I’m a tyrannical bitch because I don’t think romance and personal problems should interfere with work and the professional workplace.

Yes. We all go through personal problems, and yes, an otherwise hard working responsible employee deserves to have a lot of slack cut when there’s a personal problem. If they can’t take time off to deal with their problem, then a few days or weeks of helping them out at work during their crisis is the right thing to do. See? I’m not always a complete tyrannical bitch. I can be very compassionate. I have helped (read: covered for) a lot of colleagues in crisis during my working history.

But we have this new employee who is under the impression that her love life is the sole reason to come to work and that the rest of us are supposed to understand the priority is her romance and relationship issues, not actual work product.

Maybe if she’d had a proven track record I’d feel more generous, more understanding. Maybe if she produced anything, something, anything at least once a week I’d be more inclined to cut her slack. Maybe if she were actually at her desk and not on her cell phone I’d feel more compassionate about her situation.

But that’s not the case.

She finagled an interview at the last minute, after we’d already finalized the offer to someone else. She played every EOE card in the deck and made trailing remarks hinting at “unfair” hiring practices. She knew a lot about our company’s policies and cited them almost verbatim. Never mind she couldn’t cite her personal qualifications for the actual job. Never mind that she had a spotty and questionable work history. After the initial interview which wasn’t actually an interview, more just her telling us our company’s policies, she made several calls to our HR department with thinly veiled threats and more policy citation. My boss and HR felt threatened and so she was hired. Even though there were two candidates HUGELY more qualified for the job, one who already had an offer in the works. The squeaky wheel gets the job, regardless of its ability to turn and get the vehicle where it needs to go.

Within a week of her arrival many pieces of this enigmatic puzzle fell into place. Her boyfriend and her step mother both work for our company. That in itself is not a problem. We have a lot of familial relations in my company and for the most part it doesn’t cause problems. Though the relationships tend to be more along the sibling, cousin, aunt/uncle line, there are a few parental combos. There was a husband/wife duo a few years ago, but she left because they were getting a divorce and things were getting awkward and difficult at work.

See? That’s the mature, responsible thing to do. Is it fair that she felt she needed to leave a job she liked because she was in the middle of a divorce? Of course not. But. It’s also not fair to subject your coworkers to bickering, bullying, treading on eggs behavior which stems from a couple getting a divorce. Taking the high road of behavior is very rarely “fair” or just.

The fact that her boyfriend and stepmother work for our company isn’t a big deal. The big deal is that she and her boyfriend view the workplace as one long date. They kiss and get all gooey over each other in the halls and at their desks. If they’re not holding hands he’s got a hand on her bum. If they’re not together she’s cooing on the phone to him.

That is, when things are going well. Which is only about 40% of the time. The other 60% of the time they’re fighting. I mean knock down, drag out fighting. Yelling, shoving, pouting, slandering fighting. If they’re not fighting she’s on her cell phone talking (loudly) to her friends and family about whatever awful atrocity her boyfriend just committed.

Yesterday another piece of the puzzle fell into place. Apparently the guy either used to date someone here at work, or that woman had the hots for him. I’m not clear on that specific. But I am clear that our new employee is very, very upset about a certain woman who works in another department and has a very friendly relationship with her man. She appears to be jealous and feeling scorned and threatened. “What if I didn’t have this job? I’d never know about her. I knew there was something going on with you here, I KNEW it. You think I wouldn’t find out about her? You think I don’t know what’s going on? I’m here and I know everything now, you can’t hide at work anymore!” Mind you, I wasn’t eavesdropping. Everyone in the office could hear her yelling at him.

Oh, I forgot to mention they announced their engagement three weeks after she started working here. Yes. This couple with an extremely volatile and bi-polar relationship are planning to get married. So we’re either hearing her a) coo and lovey dove with him in the halls or at her desk with him, b) plan her wedding, c) argue with him or her step mother about the wedding plans, d) fight with him about his dirty socks on the floor of the living room, e) having a knock down drag out with him about the many other women he’s allegedly “juicing.” And I don’t think she means steroids.

But wait, there’s more! Her step mother, who has worked here for a number of years, works with the “alleged” other woman. Side-by-side. And the new employee is mad at her step mother for not “getting” the alleged other woman fired.

I know. I have a hard time keeping up with all this, too. And I try to avoid it as much as possible. But. They carry on all of this drama in our office, on display for all of us to see and hear. Apart from walking out of the office and the building entirely, there is no way to avoid it. And some of us actually have jobs, clients, deadlines, projects which need to be done. In the office. One of my coworkers was on the phone with a client. The client could hear the yelling in the background. The client chuckled and was good-natured about it, but, not exactly a shining beacon of professionalism or confidence instilling.

The new employee has been pulled aside and talked to about the disruptions in the office. But. She’s good at producing the tears as quickly as she can cite company policy. “I’m just so stressed with the wedding plans…” Oh. Right. Of course. We’re supposed to feel sorry for a woman we don’t know, who has yet to produce a day of work and disrupts the office with her relationship and family problems. Of course! I mean, duh, who doesn’t have compassion in that situation?!

Well, me, for one.

I’d like to say her personal life is interfering with her work but I have no idea what she is capable of doing. It may not be interfering at all. She has the attitude that work is interfering with her personal life. And we’re all supposed to be sympathetic to her about her wedding plans, “cheating” boyfriend and step-mother who won’t “get” someone, probably an innocent someone, fired.

I know. Suddenly your life seems a lot less complicated than it did when you got up this morning. I try to take that road of enlightenment to help me get through the day. I try to be thankful for this display because it helps me realize how simple and good my life is. I try to get a lesson from it. I didn’t actually need these lessons, but hey, school’s in session I might as well go to class.

Yes, this an extreme office romance situation. But I’m quite sure it’s not unusual. Maybe the antics are a little louder, but the issues are same. Sooner or later problems arise in relationships. And when both people in that relationship work at the same company, it will interfere with work. Period. Even if the relationship remains hunky dory, the cutesy love buggy cooing and hand on assign and stolen moments in the supply closet are interfering with work and probably driving coworkers batty. We come to work to work and collect our paycheck, not tiptoe around lovebirds in the copy room.

Frankie had a weird situation last year: She “caught” two of her coworkers holding hands in that special tender caressing precoital way, staring deeply into each others’ eyes in the copy room. Awwwww, how sweet, right? Aack.Well, I mean, not a huge deal to have their budding romance outed, except, well, outing the romance meant outing one of the players. It was two guys.

And one of them is married.

To a woman.

Yes. Brokeback Copyroom.

And there was Frankie, working late on a deadline just wanting to make color copies for a client. She now had the responsibility of all those “secrets” thrust upon her. She didn’t know and didn’t care about her coworkers’ love lives. But they forced her to know about it. They forced her to share in their “secrets.” I know, I know, the psychology of it says deep down they wanted to get caught. But not by Frankie. Frankie just works with them. Should couldn’t possibly care less about their personal lives, least of all their romantic personal lives. And yet, there she was, forced to share in their passion whose name must not be spoken. Things have been very, very awkward for all three of them since then. There’s the whole I know they know I know but I don’t want to know/I know she knows I hope she doesn’t tell my wife thing. It’s very, very unfair and more importantly, unprofessional for them to put her, or anyone at work, in that situation.

And yet there it is. I’m sure it happens a lot. I’m sure in offices around the globe there are people subjected to things they really did not want to know about their coworkers. They’re there to do their jobs and they get a daily soap opera played out in front of them. It’s a personal Hell that is completely undeserved. And yet the issue goes on and on because supervisors and HR departments hope the whole thing blows over and one of couple quits before they have to deal with complicated dismissal procedures. And this is why some companies have policies banning interoffice dating. Unfortunately I do not work for one of those companies. So my daily installment of as All My Coworkers plays out in front of me and will continue to do so.

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11:51 AM

Wednesday, March 26, 2008  
Red State
Red State
There I was separating my lunch of Mike and Ikes from the vending machine by color, as I always do when I have Mike and Ikes or any other multi-colored food, when I noticed the red Illinois shaped Mike and Ike.

Think I can get $1,175 for it like the Illinois shaped Frosted Flake on eBay? Any bidders? Since you're my pals I'll let you have first dibs.

Anyone know anyone high up in the McCain campaign? Seems like they'd get a kick out of Illinois as a red state. Or maybe even Dub would like it. I bet he likes Mike and Ikes. I'm sure he'd love to see Illnois as a red state.

You could also pass it off as Nevada. So all you Vegas-philes, here's your chance at a unique and rare collector's item.

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3:27 PM

Monday, March 24, 2008  
Mulleted. Like me.

After the injury but prior to the surgery I started wearing my hair a little shorter. A little shaggier. A little more Chrissie Hynde, a little less Heidi Klum. It’s a lower maintenance style for me. My natural waves and curls can do what they want and at best it looks artfully casual, at worst it looks unkempt.

I gave up caring about style. And more importantly, due to a lot of pain in my foot and limited mobility, I gave up caring what anyone, especially men, thought about my hair. Pfft. It wasn’t as if men were flocking to me (or my hair) anyway. And those highlight touchups and haircuts were a pain to maintain and afford. Men be damned, I was happy with my shorter, darker shaggier hair. I felt like me.

I tried really hard to make my hair fit the mold, to conform to the standards men set in their criteria for a date. “Long soft hair.” “Long hair a must.” “No short haired chicks” Long hair, long hair, long hair. We get it, okay? Men like long hair.

Hair I can handle. It’s the one part of me that might qualify as “pretty.” It’s thick and it’s generally manageable and I can style it just about any way I want and it complies. When I grow it long it’s healthy and shiny. (albeit prone to bouts of frizz on very humid days, but even then I can easily control that) When I cut it shorter it falls into whatever place I put it. Yes. When it comes to hair I’m “lucky.”

Well. Lotta good that hair luck did me. I’ve got a fabulous head of hair and still: I’m single. Over and over and over again I hear and read that men love long hair. So I kept it long. I dealt with the extra maintenance and expense and kept my tresses long, touchable, swingy and highlighted. I followed men’s “hair rules” to the T.

And still: Nothing. Nadda. Zip. No boyfriend, no dates.

After I injured my foot I eliminated as much walking and as many trips as possible from my life. Work was necessary. Beyond that all activities were optional. Going for hair cuts and highlights fell way, way down on the list of priorities. So when I did limp in there, in the heat of an early Summer evening, I said, “I surrender. Give me the Chrissie.” My stylist was surprised but somehow managed to control her excitement.

“Are you sure? You’ve been so, um, so into this long sleek hair thing.”

“I’m sure. Just do it. This hair isn’t doing anything for me, it’s not a man magnet, I’ve got too many other issues so why spend the time and energy on my hair?”

Snip, chop, razor. Done. This is my haircut. It works. It can be as low or high maintenance as I want. And I think it suits me. And I can let it go more than six weeks without a haircut and it still looks like I don’t need a haircut. It’s always been my fall-back style. When things go weird or wrong in my life I can trot into a salon, ask for the Chrissie shag and voila, at least something in my life is right.

The problem is that even though it’s not a crop-job of a hair cut, it’s still considered short by many men’s standards. Few women other than Chrissie Hynde have such enigmatic allure and coolness that the shaggy shorter tresses turn on men. Let’s face it, Chrissie could do anything with her hair and she would still turn men to piles of adoring, weak-in-the-knees mush. Oh sure, there are men who like short haired chicks. Of course. But they’re few and far between. Like the men who like flat chested women. They exist, but they’re rare and elusive. (I know, I know, given that logic when my hair was long combined with the 36DD girls I should have been the hottest dating ticket in town. I wasn't, so obviously I don't believe that "logic" or popular opinions about what men want. Long hair and big boobs do not guarantee dates or even a date or even positive attention from men. You have to have long hair, big boobs and be pretty.)


Since I’m firmly up on the shelf why should I care about my hair? When it comes to men, my hair is the least of my issues.

And my foot hurt. And each doctor visit pointed me toward surgery. My hair was not only the least of my issues where men were concerned, it was now among the least of my concerns period.

I got a good, short shaggy cut two days before surgery. My stylist and I planned it so that I could get through at least a few months without a trip to the salon. That plan worked great. Ironically, I had what I consider to be some really good hair days during my “you’re lucky it’s been washed this week” phase post-surgery when I could barely take a shower. Say what you want about the dated style, for some of us it works, it’s a great cut when we can’t (or won’t) spend time styling our hair.

Well, last month the time came to go back to the salon. I was ready, my hair was ready. I’d stretched that pre-surgery haircut as long as I could. Even with my “I couldn’t care less about my hair” attitude, it was starting to bug me.

So I went to the salon, told my stylist, “A little longer than last time.” Meaning, same haircut, just not as short as the pre-surgery haircut.

She said, “Okay, just a trim?”

I said, “yep, gimme the Chrissie.”

She started snipping, we started talking, she got out the blow dryer, turned me toward the mirror and: I had a mullet.

Oh, she kept it longer, all right, but only in the back. Meanwhile, the top and sides are cropped up short – shaggy, fortunately, but short. So the overall effect is: Mullet.

It was nearing closing time and I didn’t want to make a fuss and make her stay to “fix” it. The longer part could be lopped off so there’s not so much mullet effect, but, well, that would leave me with a really, really, really short haircut. I could go back and have her try to “fix” it but I’ve decided to live with it for a month or so, let the super short top and sides grow a little and then get it back on track. I mean, what do I care? It’s hair. It grows. I already gave up trying to attract and/or please men with my hair, so who cares if I have a mullet?

At best it’s a kind of Suzi Quatro/Leather Tuscadero look. At worst it’s a kind of Ric Ocasek meets Cher spiky mullet. I’m being generous to myself. Those descriptions give it a rock and roll attitude. And I suppose, if I could still pull it off, yes, it could be a sort of defiant rock and roll statement. But generally it just looks like a mullet. Especially since my hair is naturally wavy-curly. If I leave the back (long area) alone after washing it takes on a quasi Robert Plant effect. One day, a "good" day, it resembled circa 1983 Bono. (Yes, Bono, I remember when you had a mullet.) If I straighten it and if I really worked the hair spray I could have a Joe Dirt mullet. Yep. Hockey Hair. A ShoLo. Business in the front, party in the back.

Whatever.

It’s hair. It’ll grow.

It’s Winter. I wear hats.

No big deal, right? Right.

Or. Well. Maybe it is a big deal. Maybe I underrated the power of my hair.

Because since I’ve been mulletized I’ve received more negative attention from men, and from people in general.



In the past couple years I’ve adopted the technique of keeping my head down and trying to blend in wherever I go. I haven’t started wearing beige, but that’s next. I’m striving to be just another anonymous, ubiquitous lump of DNA commuting to work, doing my job and commuting home. Invisible for all intents and purposes. I slouch my shoulders and curl my torso so I’m a couple inches shorter and hide my boobs, a more anonymous, unnoticeable height and chest. This Winter I’ve bundled up in layers and hide under them. My only distinguishing feature is the cane I use to help me walk and I’m trying to wean off that.

This comes easy for me. It’s kind of interesting from a psychological standpoint. I’ve spent a lifetime battling shyness. When I was young there were times it was psychologically crippling, “clinical” the school counselor called it before I had any concept of what “clinical” meant. I was one of those kids who clung to her mother's leg and would only steal a cautious peek around the leg to see what was going on in the room. When I started school I learned early how to hide myself within myself. I was the tallest kid in class so I learned how to "shrink" my body. Slouching, curled torso, bent knees...I perfected the technique by the second week of school. My mother would put my hair in pigtails or braids. I'd pull them out so I could hide under my hair. It wasn't just about being like the other kids. It was about blending in so no one would notice me. If no one noticed me I wouldn't have to talk to anyone. Yes. That logic was flawed but I was 5 at the time so cut me a little slack.

At the tender age of seven I was sent to assertiveness training. Or, well, that’s the pretty phraseology the school counselor and my parents put on it. I was made to understand that it wasn’t my fault I was shy, it was just part of who I was, like my height and green eyes, shyness was just part of my DNA. But unlike my height and green eyes, shyness was not an acceptable trait and if I wanted to make it in this world I had to work very, very hard to overcome shyness. My parents and counselors never used the term handicap, but one of my teachers did.

Good ol’ Miss Prickly as the other kids called her. I never liked her but I never called her names. I found out a few years ago my parents didn’t like her, either. She used to talk about students in front of other teachers and adults as if we weren’t standing right there. One time four of us kids had an extra assignment to write and produce a class play. We were standing in the hallway with Miss Prickly and the principal. She was talking about the play we’d written as if we weren’t standing right there. She reviewed it as if it were an important work of theatre that was falling short of it’s potential. I swear she compared to Waiting for Godot. And then she said, “If it weren’t for Trillian’s handicap of shyness we’d put her in the lead, but she can’t be counted on to pull it off in front of a crowd.”

Yeah. Careful what you say around kids. You never know what they’ll carry with them throughout their life. I was ashamed and upset that I was letting down the team. Never mind I was the one who’d developed the plot and written most of the dialog and came up with set design. All I heard was that I was a failure, and I was a failure because I was shy, and shyness was a handicap. Psychosis rooted in childhood for $500 please, Alex. From that day forward I worked extra hard at following everything I learned in "assertiveness training." I kept my hair tightly woven in braids, I stopped arguing about getting hair trims when it started falling in my eyes, I raised my hand in class and even initiated conversations with kids I didn't know. I know, I know! Go me. I started fighting my natural instinct of shyness and have waged the war ever since. It’s not easy fighting every natural inclination you have in every situation. If you’re shy you understand. If you’re not, you can’t possibly understand how difficult it can be for those of us who are shy. I vowed it would never, ever hold me down and for the most part it hasn’t. Due to my valiant efforts, thank you very much.

But the past few years I haven’t been fighting as much. I mean, why? Why go against my nature? Why spend so much effort and anxiety trying to be something I’m not? Well, yes, in the case of shyness it can lead to a very unfulfilling life, that’s why. But still, I haven’t been compensating as much as I have in the past. Lazy? Maybe. I dunno. More like tired, I think. So this whole shrinking and trying to go unnoticed is natural and easy for me. Like breathing.

And then I got a mullet.

There’s no way to blend in when you have a mullet. A mullet makes a statement. And not a particularly positive one. Here in Chicago people look at me with disdain and contempt. I think they think I’m from Indiana. Mullets are still popular in Indiana. I know this because I get a lot of responses to my online dating profiles from men in Indiana. And most of them have mullets.

The day after the mulletizing I was on the bus on the way to work. It was, as ever, cram packed with commuters. And hot. I pulled off my hat and loosened my scarf. The mullet was new and I forgot I had it. A guy, 30 ish, crammed and jostled his way onto the bus even though there wasn’t room for him. He stepped on my foot. It hurt. A lot. I pulled my boot out from under his foot. He turned his head to look at me, as if he were going to apologize (which he should have), looked at me again, waited a few seconds, snarled his lips and told me to get out of his way. Okay, just a rude guy, right? Yeah. But as he pushed by me he muttered “ugly old cow” at me. Okay. I hate commuting, we all do, and it does bring out the worst in all of us. But. He stepped on my foot. I was huddled up as far as I could, standing with a cane, not seated in a handicap seat, as crammed in as everyone else and very wobbley with one post-surgery foot and ankle. The situation sucked for everyone and it certainly was not my fault. So why the “ugly old cow” remark? Oh yeah. The mullet. I mean, just a theory. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences commuting on public transportation but no one’s ever called me an ugly old cow. A guy once accused me of knocking his backpack off the seat (I didn’t) and threw his Coughuppalottabucks out the bus window at me when I exited the bus, but even he didn’t call me an ugly old cow.

That weekend I was in the grocery selecting apples. The produce department was empty except for me and young guy. He rolled his cart around the apple display and said, “Just pick your damn apples and get out of the way.”

Ermmm. Um. Excuse me? Yes, I was looking over the apples because I don’t want bruised apples, but it’s not as if I was laboring over the selection, and it’s certainly not as if I was in anyone’s way. The produce department is set up with islands of fruit and vegetables. We were the only two people in the entire department. I dunno. I really don’t know what the issue was. Other than perhaps the mullet bringing out the worst in him.

I went to physical therapy a few days later, a week into the mullet. A cleaning woman was vacuuming the rugs in front of the building’s elevators. I’ve seen her there during previous visits to physical therapy. I pressed the up button and an elevator door opened. The cleaning woman ran, yes, ran with the vacuum to the elevator and proceeded to vacuum the elevator. Okay, cool, whatever, she’s got a job to do. So I waited for another elevator or for her to finish, whichever came first. She then came out of the elevator, held the door for me and I limped over to it. As I entered the elevator she said, “Ha! I hope I made you late!” and let the door crash on me. I dunno. Really. I have no idea. Maybe the mullet.

The next day I met MAF for a drink after work. He said, “Wow. You weren’t kidding. That’s a mullet.” Then he tried to put a positive spin on it. “I mean, you have great hair. It’s not that bad. Maybe with a diagonal part…”

“MAF, it’s a mullet. There’s no disguising it.”

"Yeah. You're right. Sorry. It'll grow. It'll be beautiful again. But hey, butch lesbians are going to find you very attractive. If you're ever going to try switching teams this would be the perfect time. Just stop wearing makeup and talk baseball and you'll be very popular."

"You're buying because of that remark and I'm drinking heavily tonight."

Two men were sitting several bar stools down from us. One of the men piped up and said, “Can I have the name of the person who cuts your hair? It’ll come in handy next Halloween.” Okay. Yes. The guys were very clearly very drunk. And I do not engage very drunk people. But c’mon. Just because MAF and I bemoaned and berated my haircut doesn’t mean there’s an open invitation to the rest of the bar. MAF tried to put a positive spin on this, too. “Straight guys flirt weird. He probably thinks you’re cute. Your eyes look stunning tonight. I've got some new lip tint in the car that will have the same effect on your lips. If I were straight I'd be sucked into the vortex of your eyes right now. That violet liner is amazing on you. He just thinks you're beguiling.” Yeah. That’s probably it. He's sucked into the vortex of my eyes and beguiled senseless. Straight guys do flirt weird. Especially when they’re drunk.


It’s growing. Maybe a couple more weeks, a month tops, it’ll be ready to cut and reshape into a non-mullet cut. Do I really care? No. It’s hair. It grows. Hair doesn’t define me. But apparently I’m alone in that opinion. Based on my experience mullets bring out the worst in people. It could be a fluke coincidence, but you have to admit it’s a little odd that all this negative behavior started right after the mullet appeared. Especially since I’m tying so hard to blend in and go unnoticed.

Which is what's bugging me. I don't care that I have a bad haircut, or that the bad haircut is a socially negative icon. But my hair has never been something I have to "worry" about. It's generally accepted. I've even had some compliments on it over the years. One guy, a long time ago, even liked it and was attracted to me because of it. And apart from that, it's very thick and provides me with a sort of hat, a shelter from the world, and lately, prior to the mullet anyway, a curtain to pull around my face and hide from the world. A mullet is a lot of things, but one thing you can't deny about a mullet: It puts the face front and center. There's no hiding under a mullet. The top and sides are too short. My shaggy cut can be shaken and pulled over my face. Pieces can flop over my eyes. Strands fall haphazardly around my face. It's a portable refuge. Not so, the mullet.

Which is why it takes a certain personality type to go for the mullet. You have to be confident and eager to put yourself out there and face the world. You have to be ready and willing to go out and look the world in the eye and say, "Yeah, I've got a mullet. So? You wanna make something of it?" (It helps if you have White Snake blaring from your 1980 Trans Am. I don't have a car and I listen to an iPod. And despite a lot of unexplainable songs on my iPod, White Snake is not among them.) I'm in no way made for that kind of attitude. Sure, the defiance is there. I've got defiance in me. But not mullet kind of defiance. Mullet defiance is a special kind of defiance. A breed of defiance apart from all other forms of defiance. I don't have it. And I don't want it. Mullet defiance is best left to professional mullet heads. I'm just a mullet poseur. Well. Not poseur so much as accidental tourist. I'm a stranger in a strange land and I don't speak the language or have any local currency.

Lesson shared with the world: If you're shy, if you're trying to blend in and go unnoticed, do not, I repeate, do not get a mullet.

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11:39 AM

 
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