Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I was a Mean Girl.

A while ago, I wrote this post about my anxiety and panic attacks.

Yesterday, I got this comment:

When I opened up my email and read it, I laughed so loud that Rob could hear me in the shower. (Let's be honest, that's not that big of a deal. The shower is about 2 1/2 baby steps away from the futon. Our apartment is bitty.) He said, "You know you have to come tell me what that was, right?" So I groaned and made the 0.4 second trek to the bathroom to read it to him out loud. And then he laughed, too. Because he agreed! Because it's all true.

Well, not the karma bit. I mean, I believe in karma. But I get panic attacks because of an anxiety disorder that I've had since way before I was "dishonest, evasive, aloof and just plain mean."

I'll start off by saying I appreciate the compliment. I get that Zooey Deschanel thing a lot, and while I'm not as cute as she is, it's a better visual association than ... I don't know ... Bruce Vilanch.

That comment got me thinking. I wish it was funny because it was all made up. I wish I could show it to people and they would say, Oh, that's ridiculous! You were none of those things to the boys you dated. And then I would say, I know right? Whoever this is is like totally obsessed with me! But it's funny because it's true! I can't argue with the guy. My husband reminds me all the time what a chore it was to date me at first. He even tells this story about finishing up a particularly trying phone conversation, and then throwing the phone on his bed with a disgusted sigh and resolution to never call me again.

I was hard to date. I thought verbal sparring was an important part of flirting because I read too many Jane Austen novels. And after my first college boyfriend (who had a bit of lying problem, among other things), what I originally employed as witty repartee became an impenetrable forcefield around my heart. To me, being "hard to get" was a virtue. So I would be mean, thinking I was funny. If them boys still liked me after that, then either they really liked me or they were really dumb. It was a weeding process.

I wasn't just mean. I was stupid, too. That and I had/have impressively low self-esteem. I couldn't believe that anybody would actually want to date me with my bad posture and my freckles and my squishy thighs. So in the rare instances a guy wanted to date me, I immediately assumed there was something wrong with him.

Other times, I got myself into quasi-dating relationships without really realizing it. And then I would be evasive, aloof, and yes, probably even dishonest (though not deliberately) to try to back out of them. I was terrified of relationships. I never wanted to be mistreated or have to stand up for myself or have a fight. So if I could just distance myself and confuse a boy into lack of interest, then that seemed like a better way to go. I was the worst. I never would have tried to date me.

I have a lot of regrets about the way I treated boys. But then again, there are guys out there who probably should have regrets about the way they treated me. We're idiots, all of us. And in trying to navigate romantic relationships with each other, we do serious damage — sometimes irreparable damage. It was done to me and I did it to others. And I feel like a jerk. You know what? We all should probably feel like jerks.

It's like Michele said in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, "I bet in high school, everybody made somebody's life hell." That's what we do when we're dating. We make people's lives hell. Each one of us leaves shattered hearts in our wake, and each one of us has a shattered heart that needs to be pieced back together.

Sometimes I wish I could have re-dos with some of the people I mistreated. No, all the time I wish that. But then would I have met and married my Rob? Who knows?

Either way, I owe you an apology, Anonymous. You and all the other dudes I was not cool to over the years because I was young and dumb and a mean girl. And, assuming you're a fella, there are probably a few girls waiting for an apology from you.

Friday, August 10, 2012

30 Things to Ask Your Spouse: Dork Edition

Recently, I started on the Pinterest. It's a dreadful, dirty habit, but I turn to it when I've had just enough Alexander Pope for one evening, thank you very much. I usually look at it on my phone, go straight to the explore app, and cruise the humor page until I start to realize...these people are not so funny. Do you know who is funny? Liz Lemon is funny. Let's see what she has to say...

The other day, though, I came across this "30 Things to Ask Your Spouse" pin. I clicked. That could be fun or interesting for us, I thought. Definitely more fun and interesting than the Scribblerians, amirite?

Seriously, this Satire class is killing me.

So, then I started reading the questions and guys—they were involved. List 20 random facts about myself? Five of my passions? Five greatest accomplishments? This would not be a good date night activity for the Whalens. Unless we could redefine the words "great" and "accomplishment." Or if we could replace "passions" with "potato chip flavors."

P.S. If you know the Whalens, you know that we talk so much that there is very little in the way of dream jobs, influences, and pet peeves that we don't already go over on at least a bi-weekly basis. It's a thing that happens when you don't have cable, or when your husband refuses to buy Netflix.

Then it hit me. You guys! I'm going to replace these 30 super hard, boring questions with a much shorter list of questions that I don't already know the answers to. Here goes:

30* Things to Ask your Spouse: Dork Edition

1. Name a food (or foods) that you can't eat anymore because one time you ate a bunch of them and it made you puke.

2. When was the last time you peed your pants just a little bit and why?

3. When was the last time you pooped your pants just a little bit and why?

4. (Going along with questions 3 and 4) When was the last time you had to throw away a pair of underwear and why?

5. If you could punch just one person, living or dead, square in the face—with no consequences—,who would it be?

6. When was the last time you got the giggles in an inappropriate setting like a meeting or a funeral? Were you reading a Liz Lemon tumblr at the time?

7. What do you think about when you have to keep a straight face but something really funny just happened?

8. Which of your siblings' girlfriends/boyfriends was your least favorite and why? Are they also the answer to number 5?

9. Describe an obstacle course you designed as a child. What sort of injury came to you, your friends, or your siblings as a result of this obstacle course?

10. When was the last time you faked sick? Puke, diarrhea, or other, and did you offer "proof"? If so, what did you make it out of?

11. Which fictional character would you be best friends with and why? And don't say Han Solo, because obviously.

12. What are your top three potato chip flavors?

13. Have you ever had an an anthropomorphic cartoon crush? How about just a cartoon crush? (Think Disney or the Thundercats.)

14. What's the longest you ever went without taking a shower? (Camping doesn't count.)

15. What's the grossest thing you've ever smelled. Did you smell it on purpose?

That's all I can come up with now. Obviously, this list is not complete. I welcome and encourage additional questions if you can think of any.

I'm forcing Rob to go on a date with me tonight. I'll let you know how these go over. I have no doubt they'll go over better than "What is your dream job?" Duh. No job. 

*Not actually 30. Who can go through 30 questions and answers without getting distract—hey look, a cricket in the house!