Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Old friends

I'm going to see some people I have not seen in a long time.

Why does the prospect of seeing old friends all of a sudden trigger the urges to go on a diet, work out twice a day, and come up with a spiel as to how my love life and career are in their "working stages"? I know they're not friends with me because of my body fat percentage or my stats, but because of my oh-so-charming personality. I know this. But the urges beckon.

Odd isn't it?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Second date (a.k.a. "Last date")

Online Date did call me and ask me out for a second date on Saturday night to a pool hall. I was needless to say, ecstatic.

It had been a while since I "had" a guy. For the first time in what felt like a century, I'd be on a fun date with a cute, intelligent guy that would hopefully end with a kiss. I hadn't kissed a guy in a very very long time, so one may understand why I fell into that trap that certain women fall prey to: extrapolating ridiculously overdramatic theories a/b one's future with this potential boyfriend. I even went so far as to imagine introducing him to my family (yes, pathetic, I know).

I badgered my guy friend into telling do's and don'ts on a second date. Obvious don'ts: sex of any kind, and even harmless nudity. A kiss in the car or even an extended make-out session should be sufficiently non-slutty.

So it was Saturday night. Online Date was 10 minutes late when he picked me up. Sitting next to him in the car, he looked a bit goofier. And the conversation stalled a few times as we drove to the pool hall. Still I remained optimistic.

We went to a pool hall (despite my poor shooting skills) when I began to see his True Self.

You see, on our bistro date, I was impressed by his ability to articulate his thoughts on philosophy and science. Yet in a casual, fun setting, he was utterly socially inept. Like an eight year old boy, he spent most of the evening teasing me. Not quite "You're fat and ugly!" but more like "that coat makes your head look like a balloon! ha ha!"

When I neglected to laugh at one of his oh-so-witty jokes, he gave me a knowing nod and said, "I'm joking. Sorry, sometimes it's hard to get my sarcasm." I didn't feel like explaining that it wasn't his sarcasm I didn't get--just his utterly bad, stupid, witless comments.

Every several minutes or so, he would jokingly antagonize me by making fun of me and mocking me. When I mentioned I liked dancing, he started mock-dancing, asking me, "Is this how you dance?" [Picture the Chandler dance from "Friends." Now picture Yellow Gal with a mixed expression of horror and disgust.]

What grade are we in? He didn't pull my pig tails but he did slap my left ass cheek randomly. At this point, my desire to have a boyfriend to kiss was replaced by an overwhelming desire to fashion a noose out of my scarf. Instead of noose-making, however, I merely said, "I need a drink."

We went to the bar whereupon I downed two consecutive Jack Daniels on the rocks to numb the pain. Whilst sipping our drinks, we began talking -- analogizing the Prime Directive of Star Trek to U.S. foreign policy. And he became normal again--articulate, intelligent, coherent. Then when we resumed shooting pool, he reverted to his third grade self. And my whiskey buzz did not alleviate the misery laden in his pathetic jokes.

Moreover, I realized we had little in common in terms of movies and hobbies. He did NOT like "Office Space" though he ironically spoke like Lumbergh. I concluded that while we were capable of having deep conversations, we were incapable of socializing on a normal, casual level.

Finally, pool came to an end. He suggested going to another bar which I vetoed with a stern "no." In the car, more pain ensued. My name, as I always indicated in person and in email, was Yellow Gal. Yet in the car (and perhaps a few other times throughout the night) he began calling me Yellow Gallygal. I corrected him, saying "My name is not Yellow Gallygal. It's Yellow Gal."

He then entered into annoying-joking mode and gleefully badgered, "Why don't you like Gallygal? What happened? Were you teased as a child? Traumatized by horrible childhood memories? [chuckle]"

I curtly responded, "Because it's not my name. My name is Yellow Gal. How would you like if I called you Online Dateramamama or Online Dumbass?"

He paused, musing over my exasperated remark, and said, "Okay. Yellow Gal it is."

"Thank you," I replied.

He pulled in front of my apartment and I awkwardly said, "Well I had a good time. Thanks for taking me out."

"My pleasure," he said.

I unbuckled my seatbelt, avoided eye contact, and placed my hand on the car door handle. "Well good night!" I squeaked. He then unbuckled his seatbelt--to do what? I didn't know and didn't want to find out. "Bye!" I said as I opened the door and bolted from his car.

And that, my dear friends, is known as my second/last date with Online Date #1.

The following morning, Online Date called me, leaving me a message asking me to spend the day with him. Perhaps only more shocking than his behavior on Saturday night is how he perceived my constant grimaces, curt remarks, and failure to laugh at his jokes as indicators that I liked him so much that I would want to see him immediately the following day. I did not return his call & instead wrote him today a Dear John email. It ended the way it began.

Next.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

First date

Last night I went on my first online date. The man did not bring a shovel or a pickax nor did he wear a Michael Jackson glove. He was well-groomed, spoke in proper English, and did not bite. And he looked like his picture. Some of my friends reported meeting guys who would post pictures from their high school yearbook only to learn that these guys gained a hundred pounds since. In my case, my guy was quite cute.

I'm usually terrified of attractive men, but he had a slight air of unpretentious goofiness that put me at ease. We met at a bistro downtown and talked. And talked.

It was one of those great conversations where you lose track of time, where you talk about everything from Marxism to Dennis Rodman, where you forget there are other people in the room so when you pound the table cackling at an insanely funny story, you don't notice the twenty or so patrons staring at you with disdain. So much fun. All in about three hours on a Monday evening.

At the end of the evening, I shook his hand (too formal?) and told him I had a great time. We exchanged our real numbers and he said he'd definitely call me (will he?). Then he opened his arms to hug me and so we hugged.

All in all, a great date. I hope he calls. God even as I blog this, I can't help but well up with excitement like a giddy little girl.

My guy friend told me some guys humor girls and tell them they'll call, hug them, etc. and then end up never seeing the girl again. I found that disconcerting. Yet my friend assured me this dude will probably call. Then I wondered if my guy friend was, in guy fashion, humoring me. I suppose we'll see.

Monday, November 21, 2005

My morning affirmation

I literally broke my scale. The tiny plastic window with the small red line that points to the number is cracked. It was so tragic, so utterly cliche, that I could not help but laugh.

The persimmons

My aunt had given me nine persimmons last week. Each was perfectly orange and firm. There may have been a bruise or a scratch on a few, but for the most part they were healthy and smooth. I dutifully took them home with me and placed them in my refrigerator, arranging them into perfect rows of three.

Following that day, I would frequent my fridge to grab some soda or juice. Each time I opened the refrigerator, the light revealed the persimmons in their perfect rows, looking up at me hopefully, longing to be plucked from their refrigerated existence and fulfill that purpose for which they were grown. Yet each time, I would take a carton or can and close the door upon them in cool darkness.

Days went by. Their small leaves began to dry and fray. Their luster, though steadfast, began to dull. Yet each day they remained bright and hopeful. Soon, it had been over a week. I began to rationalize to myself, it's been over a week, they’re probably not good anymore. And so I went into a small wooden cabinet, took out one black plastic bag, and placed each one inside it. They were still smooth and cool in my hand.

I took the bag to the dumpster outside my apartment building and placed them gently on a pile of debris. “They’re just fruit,” I reminded myself as I closed the lid.

Later that night, I was peeling an orange, when I thought of the persimmons. My nine persimmons. Small. Cold. And alone.

I went to drop something else into the dumpster this morning. I opened the lid and saw nothing but a gaping empty bin. The persimmons were gone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Virtual superficiality

After countless months of being single and hearing the online dating adventures of two of my attractive, intelligent girlfriends, I decided to sign up on one of those dating websites. Upon doing so, I was suddenly confronted with how utterly superficial online dating can be.

It first asked me to write about myself and the guy I look for, and then I fill out a form of nonnegotiable traits—smoking or non, wants kids or not, income, and job type, to name a few. Income isn’t so important to me, but I suppose a minimal level of education is (at least college).

My guy friend was perusing the girls and one girl indicated that her perfect mate must be a lawyer, doctor, banker, or consultant and that he make at least six-figures a year! I suppose I give her credit for being so honest & blunt, but she looked completely shallow. Of course, my guy friend who after seeing her cute smiling picture, was compelled to contact her since he met those two specifications.

Another element of superficiality was the profile picture. The average guy will obviously be average-looking. In my experience though, some guys grow on you. They’re the average looking guys who win you with their wit, charm, and kindness. After a while, you think: “Hey he’s cute…” But on these websites, you are confronted with his picture immediately without getting to know him. Since most guys are average looking, it’s difficult to discern which ones will “grow on you” and which ones won’t. You read their profiles to prod further and they all seem to blend together—“I work hard, play hard. I’m easy-going. I enjoy life, art, fun” etc. etc.

And some guys are just, quite honestly, below average looking. I firmly believe that physical attraction is an important element of a relationship. If you are physically repulsed by someone, chances are you are not going to have a great relationship. (At least this is what I tell myself to justify my superficiality when I eliminate them.)

I’ve been on the other end, certainly. A couple times I’d see an appealing profile of a guy—we’d have stuff in common, he’d be cute—and then I’d read he only dates women of race X (and I am race Y). My response was usually, “Oh…okay.” Many guys have looked at my profile and declined to contact me. So it goes both ways.

It’s so surreal, to sort guys by age and demographics like they’re all a bunch of disposable computer files. Such an artificial dating environment. As for whether or not this works, I have no idea. We'll see.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Too PC

I'm forcing myself to read "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." My friend gave me a hard cover version of the novel and insisted that I read it. So I dutifully begin reading it even though I'm well past the age of its intended audience. I then encounter a rather interesting comment on the first page of the prologue. The novel casually mentions how in Korea, "people sometimes eat dogs."

Yes, I'm aware that I am perhaps too prone to the hyper-PC, liberal, knee-jerk reaction.

I can think of two other occasions when I've encountered first-hand various references to Asians eating dogs (excluding TV & movies).

One was when my family and I were vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There was a Christmas show we were watching, where there were songs, dance routines, and skits. Among the skits was a particular comedian who mocked Mexicans (not Hispanics, just Mexicans), blacks, and of course, Asians. With respect to Asians, the very original and profound comedian mentioned an "oriental cookbook: How to wok [walk] a dog." Get it? The white folk sitting near my family laughed uncomfortably, my immigrant parents didn't get it, and so I could only shoot a look to my brother who gave me the same look of disbelief.

The second time was when I was scanning documents in a cubicle at a New York law firm. The secretary on the other side of the cubicle wall was chatting with an attorney. The attorney was mentioning how her sister was going to do the Peace Corps in China. As the attorney walked away from the secretary's desk, the secretary blurted out, "Just make sure she doesn't eat dog!" to which the attorney laughed and suddenly spotted me, the conspicuously Asian girl hidden behind the cubicle wall.

Am I being hypersensitive? Perhaps. I should be grateful that I'm not being called chink, gook, ching chong on a daily basis; that I'm not beaten or raped because I'm oriental; that I have the same rights as a white American. Perhaps that should be enough for me. But for some reason, it isn't.

Nonetheless, I continue to read "The Sisterhood." After all, the friend who highly recommended it to me is herself Korean. And if I were immobilized with dismay every time I encountered some remotely racial stereotype, I'd never get anything done.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bob's Theorem

I was having a pleasant dinner with one of my high school friends who happens to be married. She was telling me about a male co-worker--let's call him Bob. She and Bob were pretty cool. Once in a while, they'd have lunch, grab a drink after work, or even have an occasional dinner. All the while, she openly spoke about her husband, wore her wedding ring & band, and gave no indication of anything other than friendship.

When my friend happened to mention Bob to her husband, he responded, "Bob wants you."

"What are you talking about?" she asked her hubby incredulously.

"Bob wants you. It's so obvious."

"He knows I'm married and we never flirt. We are so platonic."

"Look, no guy would ever pay that much attention to you unless he wanted to get with you, wedding ring notwithstanding."

"I don't believe it," my friend continued.

"Any guy who is friends with a girl is only friends with her because in the back of his mind, he is attracted to her and wants her."

She was shocked by this, and refused to believe her husband...That is, until one particular evening with Bob. She and Bob were having after-work drinks and as usual, had a pretty good time. Bob was driving her home when he asked her about her marriage.

"Oh, I love my hubby," she replied.

"Cool," Bob said. "So you're happy with him?"

"Yes, of course," she replied.

"So it's not like, you'd ever hook up with anyone else right?"

"No way, I'm married," she responded.

"Oh okay. Cool," Bob said casually.

That was the last time she and Bob ever hung out. He stopped dropping by her cubicle and never asked her to lunch, drinks, or dinner again. She was now a believer.

So my friend was telling me this entire story over dinner. But I couldn't believe it. "Guys and girls CAN be friends," I urged.

She pressed further, "I'm not saying every guy you're friends with wants to get with you. I'm saying that on some level, they're minimally attracted to you and probably wouldn't mind if you suddently decided to bust a move on them."

"What?! Sick!!" I retorted, thinking of all my platonic brotherly guy friends.

"It's true... I believe it."

"Well if that's the case, then ugly girls would never have guy friends."

"They don't," she stated perfunctorily. "Think about it."

I thought about it. I knew there had to be some homely girl out there who had guy friends. But I didn't even know any ugly girls, let alone ugly girls with guy friends.

I may not have much faith in men, but I'm not so jaded as to believe that a guy would refuse to be friends with a girl simply because she was unattractive.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Illogical behavior

I am a rational, intelligent, educated human being. Why is it that, when confronted with another human being who happens to possess certain random genetic traits (in this case, tall, dark, and handsome), I am reduced to a sputtering, awkward, neurotic girl?

It makes no sense.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

(A post from the "best of craigslist")

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.


Re-post this if you believe love makes a marriage.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My language

I was on the phone with my aunt earlier today. She was speaking in her native tongue when I interrupted her a few times to say "What?" She then berated me for knowing so little of my native language. I suppose I have a bit of guilt for being so "white-washed" and not being fluent in my ethnic language, despite going to Saturday school as a kid to learn the language and taking four semesters of it in college.

I suppose this is the cliched plight of the Asian American: being "too white."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday (a.k.a. The Sabbath)

Church was not so bad today. The sermon consisted of the usual platitudes and entreaties to look to the Bible for the answers to all problems. The pastor also openly stated he was an ex-con and former drug dealer. Was that supposed to impress us or give him more street cred? Don't know. At any rate, I neglected to mention this to my mother.

On a separate note, I heard the #1 place women go to meet men is church. Sick.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

RANT

My mother “threatened” that she would do something if I didn’t go to church. It wasn’t murder or a beat-down or anything so crass. It was much more manipulative, like “I will never speak to you again” or something to that effect.

I always believed that an effective way of converting people to your ideology was to threaten them. Obviously, history and all religious texts reveal that threats are the best way to persuade the listener to believe and adopt your faith.

When I began reasoning with my mother, I asked her to pore over the Bible and cite to me instances of Jesus holding a knife to a disciple’s throat and saying “convert or die.” She did not listen to me. She simply said “I must get you to go to church at all costs.” I began citing Stalin, Hitler, Castro, the Chinese “Cultural Revolution,” etc. and her ever-so-persuasive response was “You MUST go to church! I don’t care.”

Strangely, this is the same kind of hell-bent reasoning used by fundamentalists, terrorists, and dictators. Does it work? Does it earn respect and love? I asked my mom this and she emitted a desperate “No” before reiterating that I “must” go to church.

So her offer was this: I must go to church 5 or 6 times and that’s it. Otherwise, she will carry out her threat.

I know a lot of people would say, “Who cares? Do it.” First, I despise and detest the fact that I am succumbing to someone else’s will against my own under a threat (i.e. “The terrorists win.”). Second, I feel very strongly about religion. I went to church for the first 20 years of my life -- I’d say that was “giving it a shot.” I studied Christianity in college. I wasn’t a simple churchgoer—I studied the Bible both religiously and academically. I do respect other people’s right to believe in whatever they want. I just know that for myself, I have investigated faith and religion and am consequently a staunch agnostic.

Now obviously, I understand how shitty it would feel to be in heaven and see your only daughter burning in hell. And, her obsession with my going to church is perhaps exacerbated by the fact that my dad began attending church six months before he died after dissing it for over sixty years. My mom believes that she “saved” my dad before he died and now she must save me before I die.

I get it. I really do.

But I don’t think God, Jesus, nor the Holy Spirit espoused the evangelistic method of threatening people to go to church.

A couple of my friends told me to just do it to appease my mom. She can die at peace knowing she tried converting me. Plus, it's the nice daughterly thing to do -- give in to manipulation and threats. So I grudgingly am going to attend church this Sunday. But I could try to make this interesting. Not sure if should try to convert everyone to agnosticism or start making people feel stupid because the only verse they know is John 3:16. Who knows? I may even have fun.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The plight of the beautiful wife

A woman asked a random class of businessmen in Tokyo what the ideal traits of a girlfriend were. Beauty was at the top of the list, followed by intelligence and sense of humor. When asked to identify the ideal traits of a wife, the same men responded “healthy body,” “good child-bearer,” “good with children,” and “good at housekeeping.” Beauty, intelligence, and sense of humor were at the bottom. One businessman explained: “If you had a beautiful, sexy wife, you’d be in trouble. You’d be chasing off other men all the time.” The lyrics of that song inevitably came to mind: “If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, Never make a pretty woman your wife.”

Strange, I assumed that all men everywhere wanted to marry the most beautiful woman they could “get,” with each culture having its own idea of beauty. A male friend bluntly informed me that he would have to marry a beautiful woman because he was “butt ugly” and needed the beauty genes to counteract his butt ugly genes so his children would be remotely presentable. (Strangest argument I heard in favor of marrying a hot chick.) Another male friend informed me that he wanted to be with a woman who was slightly more attractive than he was, but not too much more attractive.

I suppose certain men have some kind of insecurity — that they won’t be “enough” to keep their wife happy, that any woman, given the ample opportunity, will cheat on her husband. If a married woman is hit on 100 times a day every day, then at some point, her marital fidelity will buckle.

Perhaps I am a na├»ve romantic, but I’d like to think a woman who marries a man does so for love, and if she loves a man and marries him accordingly, then she won’t even think about cheating on him. A billion guys could pursue her, but all of them fail on the account that they are not the one man she loves: her husband.

(Source of quote: “Women of the Pleasure Quarters,” by Lesley Downer.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

An immodest workout

As she did her usual treadmill routine at the gym tonight, she noticed something peculiar: She was the only female jogging in a regular t-shirt and shorts. The rest of the girls on the treadmills were trotting in just their sports bras and spandex biker shorts. It was perhaps ironic then that she was self-conscious about her modesty.

She supposed it may be more comfortable to go jogging in the least amount of clothing as possible. It's less restrictive, and a 5 mile jog can be quite a workout, so one wants to cool off as much as possible. She suspected that several women were thinking that they had the right to flaunt what they rightfully earned through hard work. And perhaps others felt validated knowing that men and lesbians were ogling them.

That kind of self-confidence was so foreign to her. And so she did a little experiment.

She jogged and jogged. When the last jogger left the last treadmill, she looked around to see if anyone was left in the treadmill corridor. No one stretching. No one warming up. She continued to jog and slowly grabbed the edge of her cotton shirt and rolled it up, exposing an immodest amount of flesh. She grabbed the other edge of the shirt and rolled it up, making an equal display of immodesty. And she jogged. She looked to the side to see her reflection on the wall mirror.

Looking back at her was a smug girl jogging with two shamelessly rolled up sleeves. And she looked good.

The art of defriending, part 2

The saga continues between A and B:

Day 1: B called. A screened. B left a voicemail message asking A to call B back. A did not return B's call.

Day 2: B called. A screened.

Day 3: B called. A screened.

Day 4: B called. A screened. B left another voicemail asking A to call B back. A did not return B's call.

A is getting very scared.
 
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