Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On guys

I've learned something new about guys. I've gone out with girl #1 once to a pool hall and girl #2 to a bar. Both times, guys chatted us up. Both times, guys lost interest in moments and left us alone. I wondered what it was. It couldn't have been that we were butt ugly, otherwise they never would have come up to us. Then it hit me: Guys don't like to be insulted/teased/emasculated.

I know that sounds so common sense. But the things that girls #s 1 & 2 did were SO subtle, so tiny, that I didn't even realize it was an insult until I pieced it together this morning on my commute.

With girl #1, the (cute) guy came up to us during our pool game, marveling at the strange sequence of moves that just occurred. I know none of the rules, but #1 knows them - and she corrected him. He said, "No I think it's this" and she, smiling sweetly all the while, said "No, I'm sure it's this. That's the rule." She gave him no out, no way to save face. And so he was like, "Oh okay." Then he walked away.

With girl #2, a (cute) guy touched my back and started chatting with me. Then his friend comes over. The guy went to a certain school in a certain city, and girl #2 jokingly teased his school/city. The guy defended himself, and she jokingly did not let it go and again, gave him no out, no way to save face. Not too soon thereafter, the guys "had to go."

So subtle digs can turn a guy off. And I will be the first to admit, subtle digs can hurt girls as well ("wow, are you sure that dress is the right size?" or "you actually get carded? weird...").

Another theory I have is that some guys don't like smart girls. They don't like girls who have graduate degrees. They don't like girls who are successful. I don't understand this. But the painful reality of this fact hit me when one night when I was in a bar. A guy started chatting with me. We were getting along fine when he asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a lawyer. He talked a little bit more. Then he turned around and walked away from me. Forever. Never to be seen again. See Sex & the City episode "Don't Ask Don't Tell," Season 3.

The Quest for Figuring Out Guys continues...

I asked for it

Perhaps more dangerous than asking a potentially blunt guy "Do you think I'm fat?" is asking someone who cards you "How old do I look?"

Went to a ball game last night. I got carded by the guy behind the stand. I asked him that oh-so-dangerous question, "How old do I look?" He turned around and asked an older woman behind him how old did she think I was.

"Hmm...31?" she said.

The guy studied my license for another five minutes, clearly unable to subtract 1977 from 2006. I did the math for him. "I'm 28."

"Oh woops, was I wrong?" the elderly hag asked. "I'm sorry... it's... just... that you act very mature for your age! Yeah..."

I mustered a half-patronizing smile and got my drink. Needless to say, I did not tip the guy. Not his fault, I know.

Now, for all you 31-and-over-year-olds - this is no offense to you. 31 is not 81. But imagine yourself as a 28 year old and being told you look 31.

Add to that, you're ASIAN and Asians are supposed to look young for their age. So she probably thought I was actually 45 and was being safe by guessing 31. Anyways, I went back to my seat and my friends made pathetic attempts to assauge my ego by concocting the wildest stories as to why she had no credibility and and how I don't look 31, reasons ranging from "She's probably drunk" to "She's a crazy old lady!"

Ah, friends. I wonder, where would we be without the sweet delusions of our friends?

Monday, June 26, 2006


Last Wednesday, I went to a little social at a bar. I met two guys. I chatted with one guy a bit more than the other guy. I gave both my number.

It's Monday. Both guys coincidentally contact me today.

Guy #1
My phone rings this afternoon. I see it's Guy #1. I pick up. We chat for a few minutes whereupon he asks me for my email address. I ask him what he's emailing me. He says he'd just like to email me. He then suggests that we get together some time. I say "Sure." Soon after our phone conversation, he emails me. I reply with a friendly email. He emails me back immediately. Up to the point he sends me his second email, I'm thinking, "Hey, he's cute, he seems nice... Potential."

Guy #2
He texts me this evening asking me how I am doing and when the next social is.

My psychological Seinfeld-ian self-sabotage:

Guy #1
In his second email, he inserted emoticons after every sentence. I'm not talking about :) or =D. I'm talking about the big cartoon yellow faces with exaggerated facial expressions after EVERY sentence, alternating between winks and toothy grins. I suddenly felt my interest level shrivel.

Guy #2
He was cute and very built. Like uber-muscular. And while I appreciate a nice build on a cute guy, I have this unjustified stereotype about guys who are very muscular, like that they're vain, cocky jerks. I know, I know--it's totally unfair. In addition to that, he texted me. If a gal gives a guy her number, the guy should call her. Texting is just impersonal and passive. Maybe he felt more hesitant towards me because I flirted much more with #1.

I know these reasons are totally stupid, nonsensical and Seinfeld-ian. I can't help but suspect that I'm looking for tiny flaws so I have an excuse not to date. I confess I haven't been as adventurous/open-minded as I usually am in these dating settings. So why the recent reluctance to give guys a chance?

I suspect that the Guy For Whom I Pine is holding me back. Not literally. I suppose I'm not letting myself let go of him. It's safer to pine for a guy you'll never have than to delve into a real situation where things can get complicated and feelings can get hurt. I suppose I am in a semi-dysfunctional "relationship" with the Guy For Whom I Pine because we feed into each other's feelings for each other without really fulfilling them. We don't get the full benefits (or burdens) of a real substantive relationship. It just feels simpler and nicer to like a guy who likes you back. Even if it is pointless.

God I need help. Maybe we all have a little Patricia in all of us.

Cute guy alert

This morning I got on the bus. I saw a cute Asian guy. (Why is his race relevant? the knee-jerk-liberal-reaction-prone-voice inside me asks. I don't know. It's just something I noticed.) He wasn't super hot. Perhaps six feet tall. Athletic build. Not so pretentious or gorgeous-looking as to render him totally out of my league, but cute enough in his striped button up shirt and charcoal slacks. Then I thought to myself: Prey identified. Now what?


How does one intiate contact in a random setting? In a bar or cocktail party, the assumption is that random people will chat with other random people. But on a bus or train or street, it's just random. Girl sees Boy. Boy sees Girl. Smile? Say "hi"? Walk up to him and ask him what time it is, while hiding your watch and cell phone and ignoring the huge clock towering across the street?

At any rate, I never saw Cute Guy before on my previous commutes... but perhaps I'll see him again. Maybe I'll concoct some excuse by then.

After all, fate is what you make of it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Entrepreneurial amorality at its best (or worst)

The other day, a friend forwarded me a link to this company called the AlibiNetwork. It's a service that will go to all lengths to concoct alibis for you if you want to have a discrete affair, lie on your resume or even break up with someone without the messiness.

Some clips from their website:

Having a Discreet Affair?
We invent, create and provide alibis and excuses for attached adults involved in discreet relationships.

Impression Services?
What is your dream job? Would you like to create an impression that you have that job? How about having your own executive assistant?

Rescue Call Services?
The phone call from us to communicate any information you desire or to help you escape any situations such as dull meetings, bad dates or other unnecessary commitments that need to be cut short or cancelled.

Break Up?
Do you need to start a new relationship or stop an unwanted one without feeling uncomfortable?

How crazy is this? I can't believe this service exists, but at the same, I am not surprised. There's definitely a demand for this kind of service, and it's the American capitalistic spirit to meet that demand in amoral style.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I am a walking motification.

Yesterday I wear a white shirt which I later discover to be translucent. Then it begins to rain.

Today I wear my black fitted pants, thinking I'm the shiznit. I happen to look at my rear end and upon closer inspection, realize there are white streak marks on my ass. It's 9 AM.

I can't wait til I see what happens tomorrow. A spaghetti string lands on my sleeve? A glass of wine on my lap? Who knows what future motifying events lay in store for me. Oh the adventures I'll see!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My #1 fan

Dear Obsessee,

I think I'm fallng in love with you. Yes, I know it's not real love because I've only known you for so long, but honestly I really do think I'm falling in love with you.

I am enamored with every thing you do, from the way you say "Hello?" when you pick up the phone, to the way your voice quivers when you say "Who is this? Answer me!"

I see you the next day and overhear you complain to your cubicle mate about some "psycho" who keeps prank calling you.

If psycho means being in love, then I am psycho. Psycho in love. If you only knew how much I think of you.

From the moment I open my eyes in the morning to the second I close them and in all the dreams in between, I think of only you. I know what train you take, which car you step on and off, what muffin you get at Au Bon Pan. You always pick the banana nut muffin with the most nuts.

Once I bumped into you and you smiled at me and said "Excuse me." I almost died.

So, my dear love, I write this letter to you and on behalf of all "psychos" out there who are madly, deeply in love--and really, we are not psycho. A random phone call here and there, a little harmless following you on the way home, a little Google-ing. Not psycho.

It's love, pure love. I'll be thinking of you. Always.

Your Obsessor

Sunday, June 18, 2006


A clip on Star Wars fanatics, its offensive comment to Koreans notwithstanding.

A simple wish

Sometimes I wish I could take my mind, put it on a cutting board, incise the parts I don't like, and throw them out in the nearest waste bin. Then I could reinsert my modified mind into my head. That way, all the mortification, pain, brain farts, and drunk dials are removed forever. I'd be a bit lighter and a lot happier.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Oh the manity

My friend Patricia has no faith in what she calls "manity." ("humanity" minus the "hu," i.e. all men.) She is the cynic, the unapologetic pessimist when it comes to men. "They're all dogs," she repeats to me like a mantra. I however still believe that the Ones are out there, that the Ones are not dogs, and that one day I'll meet one of my Ones. She thinks I'm silly.

"There are no 'Ones,' " she says. "Just dogs."

I suspect that this belief underlies her embarking on an affair with her third married man. It is so odd--Patricia is perfectly fine in every respect except when it comes to men. When it comes to men, she has no conscience. Maybe it's because of her parents' bitter divorce during middle school, maybe it's because she later learned her father got another woman pregnant while her parents were still married, maybe it's because her last real boyfriend cheated on her. At any rate, she has a pretty low opinion of "manity."

I tell her she's smart, pretty, and funny--she can have any guy she wants. Why the married guys?

"It's not that I actively seek them out. The ones I happened to be immensely attracted to just so happen to be...married," she says to me matter of factly.

Married Man #3, however, gives her pause. "He has a family," she says to me. "A daughter. I saw her picture."

"Oh god," I say to her. "Please....just stop it."

"I know I know," she says, cupping her face in her hands. "I only saw that picture once, early on, before anything happened."

"Uh huh."

"Now, I keep seeing that girl in my mind. That girl reminds me of me," she says, "I think of my dad. And what my dad did. It kills me."

I nod at her.

"What the fuck is wrong with me?"

I don't know what to say to her. If I say "nothing," I'm lying. If I say "I don't know," I'd be acknowledging there was something fucking wrong with her. So I just look at her. "Patricia, you know what you have to do. You know what it was like, as the girl."


"So please stop it all. It took you like twenty years to forgive your dad and now you guys are finally speaking," I remind her.

"Yeah," she says.

"And aren't you and your dad doing something for Father's Day this Sunday?"

"Yeah," she says. Then her eyes light up and I instantly know she's thinking about Married Man #3. "But he's--he's--wonderful," she effuses. "God I'm fucked up."

I look at her. She is clearly in pain. I try to understand and not judge.

"Today he called me while he was driving," Patricia says.

"Uh huh."

"With her in the car."

"His wife?!"

"Worse," she says, "his daughter."

"Oh god."

"He tells me not to worry. She's falling asleep and she can't even understand what he's saying. She doesn't speak English, only Chinese. He and his wife speak to her only in Chinese." Patricia is an ABC -- American Born Chinese and apparently so is Married Man #3.

She continues, "They get to the park, and he opens the minivan door, with me still on the phone. And I hear this tiny voice squeal in the background. 'Is that her?' I asked him. 'Yeah,' he said. I heard what she said. 'Let's go!' in Mandarin. It was so cute, it fucking broke my heart."

"Patricia," I say.

"His wife is living the life I'll never have."

"What, a cheating husband?" I ask her. I look at her to make sure I didn't offend her too much. But she just nods.

I see her pattern. She is attracted to unavailable men. Maybe it's just easier to like an unavailable guy because that way, she could never get hurt and never get too vulnerable. Everything could be attributed to the fact that he was married. And she would never have to deal with the drama of a real relationship, of real love, which in her past has always been linked to pain and deceit. Who knows how anyone would've turned out had they had her childhood? Obviously, my constant lectures to her about the One or the Ones have been about as effective as her lectures to me on the Dog-dom of Manity.

"Patricia," I say, "you know I love you like a sister. I don't want you to get hurt. There is no way this can end well."

"I know." She sighs. I always envied her perfect oval face. Even at her most miserable, she was beautiful. I can almost discern the expression on her face at this moment; it was one of resignation and yielding, one in painful recognition of the fact that she will always be, out of choice, unhappy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The craving

I went into the pastry shop. I wasn't supposed to, but I did.

I was not supposed to have any pastries of any sort. I knew the best way to avoid eating the pastries was to avoid the pastry shop altogether. But I entered it. I wanted pastries, and I figured the best way to satisfy my craving was to be as close to the pastries as possible without having any. (Behold the power of rationalization.) And so I entered the shop and was met with an indescribable aroma and sight of the delectable pastries. Samples were displayed invitingly in glass trays. A baker held a tray before me and asked me if I would like a bite, just one bite, that's all. He held the tiny clear toothpick in front of me, the end of which poked into a pastry bit. It had a golden flaky crust and a glistening filling. I took the toothpick in my hand and smelled the morsel. It was still warm from the oven.

What harm could one bite do? It was just one bite. Could I live with the guilt?

"Now that you have it, you'll have to try it," the baker mused. "Otherwise we throw it out since you touched it."

Oh that would be a waste, I thought to myself. Might as well have it... Think of the starving children in Africa...

I brought it to my lips and the warm filling just glazed my upper lip when I stopped. It was right there in front of me, but I suddenly felt weird. I wasn't in the mood to have pastries. It didn't feel right. I gave the toothpick back to the baker and laughed sheepishly. "I gotta go," I said, and promptly ran out of the shop.

After I left, I could feel my heart still beating. How close was that? I asked myself. I was somewhat relieved that I avoided giving in, but at the same time, guiltily disappointed that I didn't have any, when I could have, just a little, and no one would have been the wiser.

Avoid the pastry shop I could hear my conscience and my friends' voices in my head say.

But I can't. I don't want to. Perhaps the reason I walk by that shop and step in "just to look around" is the craving itself rather than the pastries. How odd it is that an unfulfilled craving can be just as exquisite as the craved thing itself.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fun stuff

Obsession is an interesting phenomenon. It's so easy to label it and judge it when you are not amidst it. But once you are possessed by it, you become unrecognizable. Everything you perceive becomes a tangent to the obsession. A candy wrapper on the floor. A typo. An obese woman in a muumuu. Every event is some reminder, some link to the obsessee. It's fascinating really.

And then all the songs you hear on the radio transform into the story of your life, even though you know the composer did not have you in mind at all when composing the song.

Obsession is also interesting in that it completely eliminates your ability to function as a human being. Your eating habits, your exercise routine, your time hanging out with friends, your work ethic, your ability to read for more than five minutes straight--all of these dwindle down to nothing and your obsession takes a seat in their place. Projects and assignments are divided into one-minute concentration spans, separated by twenty minute musings over the obsessee. Charts, graphs, words, sentences drift into a hazy unfocus. And that crack in the ceiling has never been so mesmerizing.

Indeed, obsession is fascinating. You live off the high of wanting more of something but can't have. It makes you sick, and you know you're sick, but you can't help it. Life and everything including yourself seem to swirl around the one, simple object - the obsession.


My friend recently lent me the soundtrack to "The Wedding Singer." For some reason, being able to listen to "Blue Monday" and "Pass the Dutchie" from the same CD is incredibly amusing.

The song

She walked to the office on a Sunday morning. A uniformed man in his booth ate a powder donut. Cars paused at red lights and old ladies with white poodles ambled past her. Her headphones filtered out the city noise and all she could hear was the wistful melody of the song she had on repeat. She felt distant from her life, like a detached audience member watching the movie of someone else's biography. These were her feet walking and her skin straining to keep everything inside. Yet she floated on thoughts of her sweet addiction. She thought of him.

She imagined him listening to the song. She wondered what he would be thinking. It would answer all of his questions and explain everything she's been feeling. Then she wondered if he was even thinking of her this moment, or if she was a mere afterthought to his real life.

The light turned green and she crossed the street to her office. She took the elevator, walked to her desk, and turned off the song. Life resumed.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Finish it

Her boss paused in front of her desk at 6:33 PM. She sat there amidst piles of paper, post-its and pens and looked at him. "Is something wrong?" he asked her.

For a moment, she considered telling him everything that was wrong in her life, her hangover, her embarrassing drunken behavior the night before, her self-induced romantic problems. But that would be unprofessional, she concluded and instead perked up, smiled and replied, "No, nothing's wrong."

She turned back to the screen and stared at the words and the unfinished sentence. The cursor blinked at her. She was in control, wasn't she? Why did she feel like she wasn't?

Mr. Wrong was wrong, wrong wrong wrong. He interfered with her thinking, her self-respect, her work, even her colleagues. She tried to stop wanting him. Then she didn't want to stop. They had talked, analyzed, rationalized, moralized, fantasized, and chastised. It all became a blur in their minds and they weren't thinking clearly in the haze. Something inside each of them was telling them do something, while everything else was telling them not to. It was so exhausting. It would be easier to stop fighting it, stop thinking, and just relent to what they could not deny.

Wrong wrong wrong, she thought to herself.

The cursor continued to blink at her. If she made a mistake, she could erase it easily. An incorrect keystroke would only exist in her mind then. It would be nothing more than a memory of something insignificant. But she would know it had happened, even if it was erased.

I don't know, she thought. She ran her fingers through her hair and looked at the clock. 6:37. She turned back to the screen and watched the cursor flicker curiously against the white backdrop of her screen. She knew how to finish the sentence. She just had to do it. And so she placed her fingers over the keyboard and began to type.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Thanks Satan

I'm feeling particularly low this Tuesday evening. Today was an unproductive day. It's one of those useless days where you know you have stuff to do but you just can't bring yourself to do it. Perhaps my day turned bad when I got on the bus on my way to work this morning and sat on a particular seat. It felt cold. Very cold. I touched it and realized it was soaked wet. I got up, pants soaked through, to change to a dry seat. Then a blond haired girl comes on the bus and was about to sit down on that very seat when everyone at once yelled "That seat's wet!" Had I been blond, would everyone have warned me? Or did they assume I no speak Engrish? Then I felt guilty for assuming everyone's racist, just like the typical self-victimizing minorities in the U.S. So I alleviated that guilt by concluding it was probably because I was ugly.

I get to work. Having just moved into a new apartment, I need to set up phone service. Because the phone company is only open during the day, I have to call during work hours. I'm on the phone with them for literally an hour. All I want is basic service. They try to cajole me and emotionally blackmail me into getting more. I don't. Then they say my apartment isn't listed. Apt. 1, 2, and 4 is listed. But not 3, which is me. How neat! I then enter this Kafka-esque world of setting up phone service, where they can't give me phone service unless I let them in, but I can't let them in because my landlord isn't available at that time, and when I try to set the right time, they won't set the time because I don't have an order number which was never given to me in the first place. They can't find my order number and so they can't come in and so I can't get phone service. Oh but my order number will be on my $60 bill. It's so nonsensical it's funny.

On top of that, the Guy For Whom I Once Pined called me twice. I didn't pick up. I didn't even begin to indulge the where-are-all-the-good-guys stream of thought, because, quite frankly, I didn't feel like exerting the effort.

Then at the end of the day, my boss totally rips on me in front of other people by calling me an idiot because I don't know X, and I had no comeback because, um, I didn't know X.

So here I am. Blogging. Being totally self-indulgent. And useless.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Out of sight out of mind?

The Guy For Whom I Pine has since my last blog entry called me and emailed me. When my phone rang, I didn't recognize the number and picked it up. It was he. I can't deny that I was pleased that I had the excuse of not knowing it was he before I picked up and got to hear his voice. He immediately confessed to breaching our agreement. I told him I had to do something and hung up the phone, ending it with the "I'll talk to you later"-farewell. When I got his email, I realized that the I'll-talk-to-you-later line may have been construed literally.

My friend firmly told me that he is being manipulative by putting me in this position. I feel rude for not calling him back and for not replying to his email; but she asserted he is being rude for creating the situation in the first place. I relented to her logic and have resisted calling him or emailing him.

I feel that some of the allure is fading. Perhaps his persistence in violating our agreement and not taking the situation seriously are the causes. At any rate, I hope to maintain my hiatus despite my weakness for irresistibly charming men.

God, what would we do without our friends to support us or bitchslap us when we need it?

I'm laughing on in the inside

Life is funny.

It turns out that the Guy For Whom I Pine -- whose taboo status is not entirely unlike that of a certain best friend's ex-boyfriend -- has appeared to develop some feelings for me as well. At first, we thought we could just be friends. Two people can be incredibly attracted to each other, have great chemistry, and know that the feeling is mutual without resorting to jumping each other, right? Well, according to both of our confidants, "no." A drink after work, a misplaced hand, a loose tie that begs to be fixed. Each instance of seemingly casual contact is the tip of a very slippery -- and very inviting -- slope. And it would be so easy to descend down that wonderful slope into what we want but shouldn't have.

So after a very frank discussion with the Guy For Whom I Pine, we concluded that our confidants were right -- we couldn't continue to be friends without being faced with temptation. So we are going cold turkey. Nothing. No contact at all.

It's very difficult. It's like a dessert you can't have. Before you knew you couldn't have it, but you liked to look at it, smell it, listen to and watch the chef make it before your eyes. Each walk into the pastry shop and each sensory input reminded you how wonderful it would taste if you only had a smidgen. And now, not only can you not have it, but you can't even want it. You can't enter the pastry shop at all or even read the menu posted in its window. The dessert is now an idea in your head, a memory of collected sensory input, a thing that shifts and pulses inside your very wild imagination.

Last night, the Guy For Whom I Pine violated one of the rules by emailing me. It was one sentence: "this sucks." I resisted the urges to reply and call. I just sat there, feeling both exhilarated and dejected.

Another time, another place, perhaps something great could have happened. But it isn't that time or place. It's here and now. And here and now sucks.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A walk

The air was cool and moist. The sky was a placid gray. She had told the people at work she would only be stepping out for a minute. Maybe she had said "a few minutes." But one minute turned into five. Five turned into ten. Ten turned into twenty. Twenty minutes with him. Next to him.

She noticed the nape of his neck, the clean taper of his haircut.

"Did you get a haircut?" she asked.

"Yes," he replied.


"Last night."



"I just noticed it and figured you got a haircut."


They walked along the water, watched the blue ripples lap against the wooden docks and talked about nothing. There were things she wanted to say, things she wanted to do. But her skin held it all in. She let the air between them circulate around her and him uselessly. She held her spine straight so that her back would not buckle under the weight, that thick heavy weight that bore on her mind. She watched him speak his words the same way he walked, careful, articulate and perfect.

Then they went back to the office.

"This was nice," she said, looking at his face.

"Yeah it was," he replied. "I gotta get back to my desk."

"Oh, okay."

"Bye," he said and walked away.

"Bye," she said.
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