Archive for February, 2007

Virtual Insanity

I stepped in a pile of fire ants today, which is something like stepping in a pile of…well, in a pile of fire, what with the searing little bites, piercing fangs and poisonous venom. In a word, awesome. I was doing some work this weekend at an event where they actually flew in northern grass to please the sponsors – northern grass, as in, grass that doesn’t feel like prickly little needles and isn’t full of benign-looking piles of sand that turn your feet into flaming pustules of misery. Weirdly, it reminded me of the little things I miss about living somewhere else – things I forgot about that aren’t that really important, but are things I miss all the same. I mean, do y’all know what kind of grass we have down here? It’s sandy and silty and rough, and, due to the aforementioned fire ants, you can’t even dream about rolling around in it, and what then is the point of grass, I say?

The things I miss are shrinking by the day, actually, as I learn to appreciate the situation I’m in, and love the things that are, instead of what isn’t. And ah, it doesn’t hurt that it was 85 degrees outside today, and that tomorrow, I’m going swimming again. Outside. In February.

Suckers. But I still miss grass. Console yourselves with soft grass, you know, for the five minutes each year that you can actually see it. BAHAHAHAHAHA. I’m mean. But consider this, once again: I’m getting into NASCAR, and if that’s not the sign of a declining mind, I’m not sure what is. Did you know we have an entire season coming up? Yes! The Daytona 500 was only the beginning. Red Sox and NASCAR, all at once. A whole season full of fast cars, bizarrely hot men and…I don’t know what else, but I guess I’m not ashamed, but still, I am not a person to envy, warm weather or not.

Also, and this is important: I no longer find Howard K. Stern hot. The video with the makeup and the eight-month pregnant Anna Nicole Smith did it for me. No, just no, sexy jawline or not. Although I feel compelled to mention that my strange freak fetish to Adam, who did not recoil in utter revulsion, but instead replied thoughtfully, “Huh. I guess I could see that. He kind of looks like JFK Jr. from certain angles.” I’m pretty sure he was trying to make me feel better, but I’m pretending he was serious.

The last thing the Internet needs is this, but American Idol makes me very, very tired. Invariably, someone sings Marvin Gaye, Paula swoons, the fat guy has a hot wife, and it’s all just…well, it’s all the same, seriously, and I’m not all that excited about continuing to waste my damn time, and yet every Tuesday, I am pulled like a magnet to the television, guided by my friend TiVo. Also, a man attempted to sing “Fever” which made me want to kill myself slowly, and by ‘slowly’ I mean maybe with Vicodin, which makes Penny very, very happy.

Happy Wednesday!

*Jamiroquai. The only decent performance tonight. What?

15 comments February 27th, 2007

Tiny Dancer

I had a root canal today, and it was the highlight of my day, which sounds worse than it actually is, because have you had a root canal lately? I don’t mean to wax poetic about today’s modern dental marvels, but I was in and out of there in 15 minutes, I felt absolutely zero pain and the overall inconvenience factor was less than that of a filling. Well, except for the $1000 price tag, given that I have already whipped through my dental insurance allotment for the year. Yes, yes it is only February, why do you ask? Ahem. Anyway, no one is more shocked than me, and if I wasn’t entirely convinced that my endodontist was unattractive and very likely gay, I’d have considered making out with him right then and there, such was the depth of my gratitude.

I mean, I’d spent the weekend in some sort of Vicodin haze, which made me wonder, seriously? People get addicted to this stuff? I don’t get it, even a little bit. The addictive properties of just about everything else, I completely understand, because at least they make you feel kind of…good, or something, I guess. It’s hard for me to judge, because I don’t really have an addictive personality, and at this point, that includes cigarettes, despite my past. I could have a pack of cigarettes a day for a week, and quit the next, and ah, this theory has been tested in recent years.

So while I’m not Matthew Perry, I remain perplexed by the appeal, because Vicodin made me feel as inert as a pile of day-old soggy buttered pancakes. Half a pill and I was more than half in the bag, and at one point, I decided to read the side effects while under the influence and convinced myself that I was about to overdose, and if I fell asleep, my heart would stop beating and I’d be dead by apparent suicide, and what would everyone say? Hence, I spent all of Saturday night forcing myself to stay awake so that I would not die from half of a dose of Vicodin, playing a strange sort of combination of William Miller and Penny Lane, and talking to myself like some kind of strangely twisted Jekyll and Hyde routine. Penny wanted to sleep, but William was NOT GOING TO LET PENNY DIE.

Vicodin and I are not friends, which means I am now free to hand it over to my neighbor, who is a purported Vicodin dealer, as rumor has it that he gets it free from the U.S. government because he is a veteran. It is tempting, given that at least it will keep the punks in the neighborhood confined to their houses, passed out in front of the television, MTV’s “My Super Sweet Sixteen” blaring in the background. If it wasn’t dangerous, scary and more than a little illegal, I’d be tempted to slip a couple into their beers at night, because God, the punks! The noise! THE AKON. I CANNOT TAKE THE AKON.

Penny did, by the way, eventually get to sleep, but only around 3 a.m. after William was convinced the danger had passed. These hours were, by the way, spent listening to my snoring, sick-sounding husband and working myself into a wild froth about whether or not he was actually sick and regretting every single moment I’d spent earlier in the day kissing him, and oh, they were a lot, because, did I mention I was so happy he was home? I’m not typically the clingy type, but I was attached to him for most of the weekend, afraid to let go of his hand because he might use it as an opportunity to escape the madness, of which I was a central character.

Well, Penny, William and me, that is. We were all really happy to see him.

Happy Tuesday.

*Elton John. How great is that scene? It almost makes me forget that Billy Crudup is such an ass.

17 comments February 26th, 2007

Feel It

I really need A. to come home, because in the last few days, my dinners have consisted of chicken broth with a few sad little green beans thrown in, frozen pierogies and, once again, ancient Eggo waffles. The culinary coup de grace was last night’s Chef Boyardee overstuffed sausage ravioli eaten right from the can over the sink. I mean, I couldn’t even put it in a bowl? Seriously?

Separately, this is the closest you’ll ever get to drunk blogging from me, because I’ve pounded back two shots of whiskey and a glass of wine because this week – this day – was toilet-worthy, despite last week being a complete shitter, and one that should totally be followed up with a really and truly stellar week. You know, a week that would involve something like endless bouquets of flowers and maybe a minor lottery win or something. I did get a lovely thank you gift from my boss for all of last week’s suicidal misery, so it wasn’t all bad, however, unless it was for $1M, I’m not sure it could begin to make me feel any better. Although now that I think about it, one of the items was a gift cert to a wine bar, so perhaps tomorrow I shall buy and drink several bottles and see how I feel then.

It wasn’t good. I mean, it wasn’t good at all for many reasons, but mostly it wasn’t good, because it involved an altercation with the IRS and a root canal. I mean, honestly! Honestly! It’s like a cliche! In one day – today – I spent four hours on hold with the IRS and came to the conclusion that I need a root canal. The only way that could be worse is if I *had* a root canal today, in which case, I would have set up an IV drip of Maker’s Mark and maybe stolen some OxyContin to ease my suffering. Although in truth, the root canal would at least stop the wild scraping of the tooth, at least.

So, ah, yeah: the root canal. I had a root canal and a crown put in a few weeks ago, and a filling put in right next to it, and lo, it turns out that filling – that horrid, awful filling – was hitting too high repeatedly, and the dentist didn’t believe me! She didn’t believe me, and she kept fixing it without really fixing it, and finally, today, she drilled all the way down to the nerve! The nerve! While I wasn’t under the influence of any sort of Novocaine! NO NOVOCAINE! And a drill! And a nerve!

!!!!

This, as you can imagine, feels something like taking razor blade wrapped in aluminum foil and jamming it right up your jawline through your ear like a rocket of pain to your frontal lobe (or is it temporal over there?) A light breeze is enough to send me into near-hysteria.

And wait! There’s more! This was at 5:30 p.m. this afternoon, when the endodontist was closed. Closed! And here I am with Motrin, two shots of whiskey and a glass of wine, blogging my face off and praying that the endodontist can get me in tomorrow, because sweet holy lord, I’m dying here, and I’m wondering how drunk I’ll let myself get before I realize it’s completely futile and just roll over and pass out.

Oh, and the IRS. THE IRS. I have canceled , as in cashed, checks made out to them, and yet, they do not have record of this, as evidenced by the very cruel notice I got yesterday. They do! not! have! record! of! my! money! The obscene amount of money that is no longer in my bank account, but has been cashed by someone named the “Internal Revenue Service.” And they’d like it again, please, or else. But Ken is working on it. Ken promises to help me. Ken promises that I will not have to pay it all all over again, or have a lien put on my house, because he is going to fix it. Unfortunately, Ken cannot fix my tooth with the money I’ve already given him, so if the IRS and the dentist were the same person, things would be much easier on all of us.

I’m holding out for next week. I really am. In the meantime, I’m spending my weekend in a Tylenol/Codeine haze and knocking back Crown Royal at every possible opportunity, and thinking really? Really, Universe? I mean, everyone is happy and healthy and all that, and I’m so lucky, and really, I’m so, so happy, but at the moment, I’m intensely irritated and I just want someone to throw me a bone. A non-tooth bone, and preferably one that won’t clonk me in the head and knock me out.

(Incidentally, the whiskey made me a little on the emotional side and I sobbed – S O B B E D – my way through the very end of Grey’s Anatomy, heaving and hiccuping to the point where I upset the dog, and she started crying to come sit in my lap and lick my face – not because she wants to comfort me, understand, but because tears are her favorite thing to lick. Crying, to her, is a delicacy. Oh, and I’ve rewound the scene three times, and instantly bawl, complete with loud noises.)

Upside: It’s Friday! And he comes home tomorrow. Hooray!

* I give up. His name is Adam, no one cares. NO ONE CARES, and even he doesn’t care at this point.

*House of Pain. I love Everlast. Don’t laugh.

21 comments February 22nd, 2007

Frou Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires

So, in the interest of full disclosure of the continuation of embarrassing oddities of this week, it seems only fair to point out that I kind of think Howard K. Stern would be hot if he wasn’t so weird. I mentioned this to Lawyerish the other day, and I can’t help but notice that she kindly let it slip by with nary a word of disapproval, probably because she was so completely freaked out that there was nothing left to say.

But it’s true! It’s true! Look, we’ve established that I have a thing for Jewish guys, and seriously, if he wasn’t all wide-eyed and painfully faux-earnest during his relationship with the weirdest woman alive – I mean, ah, not so alive – he’d be kind of hot, I think, but it’s hard for me to tell, given the circumstances. Assuming he wasn’t batshit insane, that is. Which he is, clearly. On the other hand, I really do feel for the guy, which is probably contributing to the…whatever. God, this so embarrassing, but he loved her! He really loved her!

Ahem. Moving on. I learned that I’ve been mispronouncing yet another word, and worse, I used it in a professional setting. Frou frou. Right. Froo froo! It’s froo froo! I was saying “frow frow,” to clarify, assuming I’d ever said it out loud in my life before, which I’m not sure I have. And I actually said, in a setting that called for the word (and believe me, oh believe me, it did, and lo, it was miserable and very frou frou), “Well, that’s very frow frow, isn’t it?” to the response of confused silence until someone said, “Wait, do you mean froo froo?” and so on… 31 years, and I really and truly think that’s the first time I said that word out loud. At least I hope it was. And you know, Ani DiFranco mispronounces it multiple times on one album, which led me completely astray, I can tell you that. And clearly, I did not take French.

I have also decided that I have major issues with the word ‘post-coital’, which makes me think of goiters (I have a goiter. How gross is that? I AM GOITERED), and the word ’embiggen’ never ceases to crack me up. In fact, it is only in recent weeks that I realized that it’s a real word, and not one made up by Tolkein for exclusive use by trolls and dwarves. “BEHOLD! Go forth and EMBIGGEN!”

Apropos of nothing, I was working at an event today that involved bagpipes. I always cry at bagpipes. I don’t know why, but from the first tentative, reedy opening to the final chord, I’m holding back tears and trying to maintain professionalism, and I totally fail every time. I just can’t help myself. And sometimes, like today, I end up letting out a loud sobby-type hiccup in the face of an elderly gentleman I later learned was my dad’s high school basketball coach. And of course, this only made me actually cry, which I attempted to cover with the old “My eye! Something’s in my eye!” trick, which doesn’t really explain the trembling lip, but we do what we can. But come ON: I met a random dude today who taught my dad basketball, and how cool is that? He talked about my dad like he was still a jaunty little high school student, and it took everything I had not to throw my arms around him and tuck him into my pocket.

Old people rock. They really do.

*Cocteau Twins. Damn you, Elizabeth Fraser! You never say anything right! How was I to know?

29 comments February 20th, 2007

Fast Car

I was downright perky today after a solid weekend of sleep, sweet sleep. Sorry for that sad little post yesterday, which was about as whiny as whiny gets, honestly. If I were you, I’d be all, shut up, drama queen! Go stick your boob in a slide and jam it shut – hard – and catch the nipple in the clamp while you’re at it! Well, maybe not that last bit, I hope. That would hurt.

I neglected to mention an exciting bit from the weekend that was both weirdly portended and bizarrely upsetting. Remember the cat I was so willing to sell down the river? He’s taken to chewing cords lately, unbeknownst to A. and I – a fact I discovered yesterday when I heard a strange sizzling noise and watched his furry little body leap 10 feet back, his hair – HIS HAIR – standing on end, all mussed from what I could only imagine was one hell of a shock, not unlike the one I received when I was four and decided to stick my mom’s car keys into the kitchen outlet. I was, if you were wondering, pretending to open a car door, that much I remember quite distinctly.

In other exciting news, A. is out of town, which leaves me to an entire week of single quasi-parenting of two pets, one of whom is an apparent fire risk, and eating like a Lean Cuisine commercial. For dinner tonight, for example, I had half a pierogi, some broccoli flotsam and a sad little piece of chicken unearthed from the crisper that I think may be from our lunch at the Outback on Saturday, but no one is sure. But, as Outback says, life will still be here tomorrow, unless my intestines come screaming out of my body from bad chicken. Time will tell, and my colon is prepared either way, for I have lots of experience.

Finally, I think it’s time to admit that I not only invested a fair amount of time and energy into NBA All-Star weekend (Gerald Green! The Slam Dunk Contest! Anyone? Just me then?), but I also watched the Daytona 500. Let me say that again: I watched the Daytona 500, and not only did I watch the Daytona 500, but I was prepared for the event by a friend who knows something about NASCAR and I liked it . There were crashes! Drama! Big-haired wives! There were hot drivers in sweaty uniforms…men who probably know how to barbecue a rack of ribs in their sleep and can tell the difference between Natty Light and Milwaukee’s Best with a sniff test. It was all going so well – I even learned about Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick and pondered whether Junior will abandon his stepmother in favor of his father’s old car at Childress! Yes! Am NASCAR expert!

If anyone wants to come get me, I’ll take plane tickets to anywhere, because this… this is very scary, and I’m telling this so that someone will stop me. Please.

But I mean, I think that’s impressive, and shows a remarkable amount of effort to assimilate, if assimilation is something to aspire to, and I’m not sure it is. I did grow up five miles from an Indy raceway, in the home town of Mario Andretti, though, so it’s in my blood, is what I’m saying. Or not saying, because God, what does that even mean? Am I going to start wearing wifebeaters and talking smack about Tony Stewart? Maybe! And maybe you can’t stop me! Maybe I don’t want to be stopped! My dad’s driver is Mark Martin, and I see where he’s coming from, if only because I did a project with Roush Racing many years ago, and honestly, there’s something weirdly sexy about a man who has the balls and/or confidence to drive a Viagra car.

See? Am unstoppable. And also weirdly kinky in unfortunately creepy geriophile kind of way. But honestly, ah, these drivers get girls in the same way that baseball and NBA players do. Fascinating, particularly given that under any other circumstances, the best some of them could do is find a woman who has all of her own teeth.

And while all this is very exciting, I completely blew it around lap 82, when I eagerly looked up and queried the room, “So! How many laps is this thing, does anyone know?”

*stunned silence*

I mean, how was I supposed to know why it’s called the Daytona 500? It could be 500 anything! Five hundred people! Five hundred cigarettes! FIVE HUNDRED BOTTLES OF MILWAUKEE’S BEST!

Whatever. I’m switching to Formula One. Or Indy. Or something. Are they different?

*Tracy Chapman

16 comments February 19th, 2007

What’s One More Time?

I slept until well past 12:30 p.m. both days this weekend. I had no idea how ridiculously tired I was until the dog got up for a walk at 8 a.m. and I realized there wasn’t enough coffee in the world to give me the stamina to start my day that early, especially given that I worked until 2 a.m. Saturday morning, and 1 a.m. every other morning during the week, which meant I didn’t go to bed until 3 some nights. And with a 6 or 7 a.m. wake up most days, you could say that I was close to crying for much of the week, and in fact, I cried the whole way to my 7 a.m. mammogram on Wednesday morning, snuffling and whispering to myself, “I’m just…so…tired…” and oh, I was.

Speaking of mammograms, I walked out of the office before I even got to jam my boob into the slide. In fact, you could say that I stormed off, after Lydia, the nurse who was “taking care” of me, yelled at me no fewer than three times before I even showed anyone a single boob.

I have fibrocystic breasts, and said as much in the form in the “potential problems or things we should know” section, right next to the weird illustration of the boob where you have to identify any honking moles on your breasts. Incidentally, I am sorry to report that I couldn’t help but notice that the woman next to me was making some sort of connect the dots project with hers, which led me to imagine what on EARTH her breasts must look like. This creeped me out on many levels, not the least of which was the intense concentration I was devoting to the horrid, embarrassing effort of visualizing another woman’s boobs in detail. Hence, I experienced what a man goes through every day, if only for five minutes. But seriously, the dots! The large, colored-in portions! The surreptitious peeks beneath her sweater to figure out the location of the MANY MANY MOLES! You’d have to be dead not to notice it.

Ahem. Anyway, I guess fibrocystic breasts weren’t worth mentioning, because when Lydia saw it, she screeched, “Oh my GOD. That’s not a problem. That’s not A PROBLEM OR SOMETHING WE SHOULD KNOW. That’s GLANNULAR. That’s a GLANNULAR problem. This is ridiculous. Sit down. I have to go re-do all of your paperwork. My God.”

Glannular. I’m assuming she meant “glandular” but even so, seriously? That’s part of why I was having the mammogram, according to my ob-gyn. I sat stewing in my little holding cell wearing a paper robe and dreaming about popping Lydia’s head off for….45 minutes. She left me there for 45 minutes in a freezing cell while multiple male patients (MEN!) walked in and out for ultrasounds, eyeing me in my sad little see-through robe, and when she finally returned, I asked her how much longer I would be there (I had an appointment at 9:30). She took this as an opportunity to lecture me on my tardiness (even though I was there 10 minutes early), and about the necessity to allow ample time for an exam (two and a half hours for a mammogram? I don’t think so, Lydia). Also, maybe I should take my health more seriously and learn how to fill out forms properly. And that’s when I stood up, put my clothes back on, and I think I actually said:

“Stop talking. Give me my prescription back. Now.”

I walked out, leaving Lydia with a shitload of forms and a very angry disposition. And then I got in my car and cried, because I was just…so…tired…and I wasted an hour of sleep sitting in a waiting room getting yelled at by a woman with a hairy mole and watching another woman draw up a detailed diagram of her breasts that may or may not have involved Orion’s belt around her left nipple.

And really, that about sums up my week, which was fraught with actual work (not so fun, which is really sad, because it used to be fun, and please, God, let them bring the magic back) and freelance work (actually fun), and working on getting more freelance work (tiring, but…sort of fun) and then finally, some kind of weird stomach flu* that made it impossible for me to be more than three feet from a bathroom without wondering if shit was going to go down, and I’m sorry to say, I mean that in the literal sense.

However, this was not before I had more dental work done and had a soldering electrode dropped on my face, which I promptly threw back at the dentist, screeching, “YOU ARE GOING TO SOLDER MY LIPS OFF!” and got tears in my eyes, to their endless amusement, because apparently electrodes require three pedals to be on, and don’t stay hot when not in use. But still. An overtired stresscase doesn’t need a soldering gun to be dropped on her lips, but I’m not sure crying was really necessary.

The upside is that I had a skin tag on my arm that miraculously fell off. You know it’s been a rough go of it when you can point to a skin tag as the highlight of your week. In summary: tears, boobs, work, the stomach flu, a soldering gun and happily: skin tags! This week just has to be better, doesn’t it?

*Incidentally, my best guess is that the stomach flu was from the peanut butter issue, because guess who had two PB&Js with jars from the tainted lot the day before? But who honestly knows, and more importantly, who cares? As Lawyerish put it, I could join in a class-action suit and get my $2 and free Peter Pan.

**Lori McKenna

15 comments February 18th, 2007

Strike Me Down

I’ve done a lot of things I never thought I’d do, so by now you’d think I’d learn to never say never. And true to form, I said I’d never do this, and now I’ve done it.

Why yes, that is my dog in a pink hooded sweatshirt. Um, oh my God? Send help. Tennis skirts may be next.

*Reindeer Section

14 comments February 16th, 2007

Umm….

Oh HI! Work is awesome! You know, it’s REALLY FUN and kind of…worky and stuff. I would never say that I didn’t enjoy my work, not for a minute, no, because God knows I live to work, don’t you? How are you? I will, ah, return as soon as I can breathe, which had better be Sunday/Monday-ish, or I will go out in some kind of wild blaze of glory that may or may not include pepper spray and a lot of waving of the middle finger to no one in particular. And you know, I mostly can’t wait for the day that I can pee and shower and do all that good stuff that normal people do. Well, people who have eyes that actually work instead of the little black pissholes I’ve got peeking out of my sad, unwashed skull.

Happy Friday!

5 comments February 15th, 2007

Bigmouth Strikes Again

Our dog has had a rough week(ish). On Tuesday, she was leaking stuff all over the house, which forced me to bring her in to have her anal glands emptied (delicious!) which, while irritating, no doubt gave her a great deal of relief. Today, however, was much less relieving, given that the cat scratched her eyeball out, rendering her unable to see and clearly in a great deal of pain, as there was whimpering. Oh the whimpering. And the rapid blinking and squinting. The poor baby. It also meant that we had to sit in a waiting room with Rufus, who had an uncontrollable case of diarrhea. So…

Does anyone want a cat? Free shipping!

I mean, it’s kind of hard to have sympathy for an animal that scratched the eyeball out of an innocent little scrunchy-faced tootsie pop (who comes running at the word “mommy,” which melts my heart, which means I’m toast when we have actual children who speak and understand the meanings of actual words) and forced us to sit for 30 minutes with the unbearable stench and mess of another dog’s loose bowels. Not to mention the fact that she was apparently thisclose to being blinded and – AND! – as an added bonus, we’re now forced to stick a series of ointments into her eye every three hours, which is fun for the whole family.

So you know, if you want a cat, he’s yours.

Kidding!

(Sort of.)

(Okay, not really.)

(Any takers?)

I desperately needed a break from writing and thinking about sororities, because I was starting to have flashbacks that were giving me eye twitches, which are not unlike the kind I get when I smell Clairol Herbal Essences, which was the shampoo I used for the majority of college. Twitchy!

And speaking of shampoo, I have to scream from the rooftops that Matrix Amplify is not only the greatest smelling shampoo on the earth, but it has honestly nearly eliminated the need for me to blow dry. I know! But the volume! The astonishing, fresh-smelling volume!

Also, in the vein of completely random, unrelated factoids that no one cares about, did you know that I have no idea how to flush a toilet? Apparently I am incapable of flushing any of the toilets in our house without either a) clogging them, even with, ah, number one and a reasonable amount of toilet paper; or b) leaving them to run until they’ve used all the water in three counties. This does not happen when Ad uses a toilet. Am I flushing too violently? Am I a little too excited to see it all go bye bye? We can’t decide, but I’ll tell you, my husband is none too pleased about it.

And finally, a moment of humiliation from this past week. I was shopping for flip flops when a tall blonde cut me off in line. A tall, familiar blonde. A tall, familiar, gorgeous blonde, and since I was deep in college nostalgia, after she apologized, I announced (why?):

“I totally know you. Did we go to college together? High school? It’s killing me!”

And so on. And about halfway through the second or third statement, I realized what an idiot I am, just before she informed me kindly why she was probably so familiar.

“Um, did you ever watch The Bachelor? I was on The Bachelor, and I get that a lot.”

She was a contestant from many, many seasons ago, not someone I knew in COLLEGE. I knew her from a REALITY SHOW, and apparently, I cannot distinguish television from reality. The non-television kind. And also, I am apparently so old that I can’t place anyone, anywhere.

Awesome.

*The Smiths

14 comments February 11th, 2007

Candy Everybody Wants

So! I decided to partake in sorority rush! And this is a day late! Not that anyone was, ah, waiting with bated breath or anything.

Before I go into this, I should note that this is my experience with sororities – it should in no way be construed as a blanket statement that all sororities are bad, and all people who are in sororities are bad, stupid and a bunch of followers. In fact, when people say things like that, it makes me angry, because it just isn’t true. Everyone sees experiences through their own filter, and if I’d ended up loving it, even I would see this history differently. And not everyone had the same experiences, even at the same school, in the same sorority. I’m sure – no, I know – there are women who loved it. I just wasn’t one of them.

To recap: I was stranded in a dorm full of environmental students who went to a different school, and I felt entirely out of place. My roommate was on the crew team and went to bed at 9 p.m. every night, while the rest of my dorm was studying whether lily pads would survive in water the color of Kool-Aid, and I certainly wasn’t meeting anyone in my classes, given that most of them – at the tender age of 19 – already owned several diamonds that were more than three carats. Well…except for one. Enter Megan, a sophomore in my sociology class whom I’d become friendly with, who talked to me extensively about rushing! Rushing was so great! Sisterhood was awesome and not at all stereotypical! And guess what else? Megan was on scholarship too! Hooray! Rushing was for me!

I mean, obviously it wasn’t as simple as all that, but it certainly appealed to my sense of organization and structure, and hell, if it would get me out of the tree dorm and give me some sort of platform to relate to the neverending stream of teenage BMW drivers, I was all for it. Or halfway for it. Or at least borderline not-opposed to it or SOMETHING, I don’t know, I just couldn’t take things the way they were anymore.

Rush, to put it simply, is the process prospective pledges go through to see if sorority life is for them – both on their end, and on the side of the houses. But first! Oh yes, first – you have to attend a wildly bizarre presentation where rabid, chihuahua-like women run around in lettered sweatshirts and screech the Greek alphabet in singsong and holler about sisterhood and all of its benefits. Sisterhood is fun! Sisterhood is next to godliness! And then you sign a form that probably includes a suicide clause that states that you will not hold the SU Pan-Hellenic Association responsible if you don’t get in anywhere and opt to off yourself instead, and into the jungle you go.

Rushees are divided into groups, given a leader (called a Rho Chi) and a schedule, and shipped off on their merry way to tour the houses. The whole process is divided into a few rounds – how many, I can’t remember – three, four? The whole idea is that as you go around to the houses, they decide – based on a five-second conversation with as many overly perfumed sisters as they can parade in front of you – whether they’d like to ask you back, and separately, you decide whether you’d like to come back, and so on, until the final round, where you get your bid. A day or two after each round, you got an envelope with a Scantron sheet and a list of the houses who asked you back. You filled in the little circles with a #2 golf pencil indicating where you wanted to return, and headed back out for another round, same as the first.

The house visits are where the pain begins. The houses were varied, overwhelming and ranged from the clearly rich to the dangerously desperate. A smattering:

– At Rich Superskinny House (I mean, I’d be shocked if anyone in there ate more than one peanut a week. I was marveling non-stop at the overwhelming dangerous THINNESS), I was asked no fewer than three times what my father did, and whether I had a car, and if so, what kind? Because the sister was JUST DYING to tell me about her new Audi. And did I have an Audi? Because she really liked Audis, especially hers.

– Dying, Desperate House was in such dire straits and in danger of losing their physical house due to waning membership that they were outright begging rushees to pledge DPhiE, and they KNEW everyone called them Dogs, Pigs, Elephants, but they did, in fact, have a model in the house! A real, live model! So they were hot! If you joined, you would be hot, too, and maybe even become a model. There were no dogs, pigs or elephants here!

– Another Rich, but not Quite as Rich and Not the Skinniest House greeted the rushees with an impenetrable wall of sisters who were deeply tanned and highlighted, wearing black and dripping in diamonds. Terrifying as hell, is what it was.

– Quasi-normal but Still Stepford-Like House did a skit that outlined the fashion “must haves” for Spring Rush, and highlighted the fact that the right sister would have the latest Georgia boots (something with a stacked heel and no, I didn’t have them) and a hooded coat with toggle buttons. It was meant to be tongue in cheek, but I think they were serious. Georgia boots were big.

– At Random, Non-Descript Sorority With the Historical House, I had what was possibly the most inane conversation of my entire life that included the words, “My boyfriend is in DEKE! DEKE! DEKE! What house is your boyfriend in?” more times than I can even recall. It didn’t seem to matter that I didn’t have a boyfriend, because if I joined AChiO I could have a boyfriend in DEKE! DEKE! DEKE! too, because they – DEKE! – were right next door.

– Rich, Predominately Jewish House let me know that they had some “concerns.. I mean not BIG concerns, it’s just that…well, we’re mostly Jewish, but it’s just worked out that way, because we don’t judge people – like you – who aren’t Jewish! In fact, we have a few non-Jews!…Like Betty!” and then the sister I was talking with pointed at the token shiksa in the room. I visibly blanched and rolled my eyes, and they never asked me back. You may recall I have a small sensitivity to this.

And so on. The only three that seemed to have the slightest shred of sanity were Kappa (where the sisters I met had tattoos, and I am easily swayed by tattoos). Theta (where I think I should have ended up, if I were going to torture myself with this kind of thing) and the one I ended up in, where I knew Megan belonged, and where I had formed a vague connection with a sister who also smoked two packs a day like me, and we “bonded” over our inability to walk up the stairs without wheezing, despite being superthin. If that’s not sisterhood, I don’t know what is. And for anyone reading for the first time, I quit six years ago, and if you saw me and heard that I used to smoke a lot, you would laugh at me, for I do not look like a smoker. At all.

Knowing what I know now, I will say that the rush process is actually among the more disgusting things in this world. So much depends on factors that don’t even involve the sisters and their “deep, personal connections.” Instead, it relies on connections of another kind: for example, each house is typically required to give preferential treatment to someone who was either referred by alumni, is the sibling of a current or past member, or has any kind of relative in their recent familial history – mom, grandma, aunt, and so on. If someone is a legacy of any sort, it’s a near-lock that they’ll get a bid, even if they set the living room on fire and farted on your face while making out with your dad. A double or triple legacy is given the first born of the sorority president and unobstructed access to free sex with your boyfriend for life. And, finally, preference is also given to – the weirdest of all – a girl who grew up in or around the area of the college, the theory being that they will return after they graduate to donate lots and lots of money to the chapter.

Add these facts to the fact that the rushee is put through such a vigorous rotation of sisters who have a secret code of signs, signals and buzzwords to help move the process along (and rescue them from a dud), that each conversation – the conversation that is supposed to be the catalyst for a lifetime of happiness and devotion – lasts about three minutes. And in those three minutes, they decide if they really really like you (in our house, they got a rating of ‘silver’ on their index card); just like you, but have reservations (‘gold’ on the index card) or would rather throw up on their shoes than spend time with you again (‘blue’ on the index card. The sorority colors!) It should be noted that after one year of rush on the sister side, I applied to be a Rho Chi for the next two years. I did exactly one rush in my sororal tenure, while other people were subjected to at least four, including fall rushes for sophomores – the process was that untenable.

In other words, it’s a totally fair game, and admission is based on nothing but the true spirit of a person, as determined in three minutes or less and maybe the quality of your shoes. Extra points for Georgia boots and visible time spent in a tanning booth.

You’re wondering why I put myself through this. Me too.

*10,000 Maniacs.

22 comments February 7th, 2007


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