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Category Archives: girls

Despite being spread out across England, Spain, and two states in America, my family and I managed to meet in the Oslo airport on Saturday about a month ago. Once everyone was gathered, though, we were immediately lost. I’m usually the navigator, but I wasn’t really feeling cognizant since Norway is six hours ahead of NYC (I effectively pulled an all nighter by not catching any sleep on the plane).

But it turned out fine. We pulled into the town that we share our surname with around 6 pm or so. Yet, it’s hard to call where we stayed a town so much as a set of three farms on a fjord. As far as we could tell, it’s not even really part of the two towns that bookended the fjord. It seems like all that matters is the name of your county and they’ll figure out how to get there from that. No one ever really explained that.

Our hosts were a man name Lars and his wife, Gurid  (pronounced goo-rid). I actually asked my dad a couple times during the trip how to say her name out loud (when she wasn’t around) and he mostly ended with something kind of like “girding.” They explained how theirs is the only one of the three still in operation, though all three had been in operation (and profitable) up until the mid-nineties or so. They also mentioned that it’d be hard to find any cops unless you’re in the city, but every inch of Norway is covered by helicopter for medical emergencies.

They seemed absolutely delighted by this, and when we had a late-evening tea with them the night before I had to depart, the shared the same pride in their healthcare system. Lars mentioned how his son had been sick as a child and Norwegian doctors couldn’t figure out what the problem was. They were told to see specialists in either Sweden or England. They chose England, where their son was cured, and didn’t pay a cent. Their taxes are extremely high, but they’re more than willing to pay knowing full well that it’s saved their son and will save someone else. Pretty great.

As long as we’re talking politics, they were a little shocked by the Tea Party. We all expressed our mutual confusion since you can’t elect people into the government who don’t want government. Why would you want to get rid of “Obamacare” but want more Medicaid? But I mentioned that sometimes generations are remembered for the loudest groups, even though they’re the smallest. The stereotype is that everyone in the sixties was a hippie. Everyone in the seventies loved disco. But talk to people who lived through it, and it’s just another one of many, many things that happened, but not everyone signed on.

So maybe we assuaged their fears that America is gorging itself on hot dogs, praying in schools all day, and playing baseball in meth labs or something. Which brings up another shocking point: Norwegian food has been shockingly Americanized. We had an incredibly difficult time finding a restaurant with a menu replete with Norwegian specialties. Sure, some places had salmon plates or elk burgers, but everything else was pizza and hamburgers. I mean, right across the street from Oslo City Hall had tourist places, pubs (pub food), fancy restaurants (Italian, Indian, and Chinese), and a 7-Eleven with bacon-wrapped hot dogs for 20 Kronor.

Which is pretty much the cheapest thing I saw the entire time. There might’ve been a candy bar that topped out at 15 Kronor, but I probably didn’t see anything under 30 Kronor until my fourth day there–that’s $5. For something like gum or soda. Apparently, minimum wage is $20/hour there, so that kind of makes a little more sense, but it still felt like gut punches every time a bill came.

In fact, we bought two Oslo City Passes thinking we’d save money and have guaranteed parking. It turned out that parking was only in certain areas and we couldn’t find any of the areas, despite asking twice and being given a map. Also, there don’t seem to be any parking spaces available in downtown Oslo unless they’re inside parking garages. Which are also roughly $90 per day; more expensive than New York City parking and O-Town’s probably half the size. But the passes proved a wise investment in the long run. On the first day we rode the museum ferry for free and visited three museums. The next day was a marathon with four museum visits on their Culture Night, when some museums are open as late as midnight. The passes even covered our ride to and from Lars’ driveway outside Oslo (where he let us park our car) that day.

Kind of an amazing feat, considering how most cultural highlights seem to shut down by six. Malls and eateries seem to stay open until about ten, but forget Sunday. When we mentioned that even the beggars weren’t on the streets on Sunday, Lars joked, “Even beggars need rest!”

Don’t get me wrong, Lars has clearly done well for himself, what with his house in Oslo and farm out in the countryside, but this reminds me of a story of Norwegian work ethic my dad told me. The entire Oslo office in his company seems to lose its staff about every three years because they all quit. Now, they have an American manager who will sometimes ask for extra effort or for people to stay late. Something like, maybe an extra hour the night before a huge pitch to ensure nothing goes wrong the day of. People say no to him all the time. Everyone’s in at 9:30, takes an hour-long lunch break, and is out at 4:30 on the dot. They have supposedly incredibly powerful laws that say that’s exactly what they’re entitled to for a full-time salary. I think it’s probably because I worked in retail where staying late meant more pay and that projects weren’t always finished unless I stayed late, but I still stay late pretty regularly in spite of my salary. I just have work to do, so I stay until it’s done. My dad said the same thing about his job and it’s obviously the same case with the American manager. My only conclusion is that even if minimum wage takes care of everyone, Americans have to work their asses off to earn their salary. Or that’s just what I tell myself to keep pretending we can be the greatest country in the world forever. If that’s still our thing.

But speaking of country, I should detail this place a little for you. Oslo’s the biggest city in Norway. Something like 5 million people or so live and work there six days a week and then don’t leave their house on Sunday. Maybe for church. Drive for an hour and you’ve been in the countryside for 45 minutes. Depending upon your direction, you’ll also be at the place where we stayed. On the other hand, drive for an hour from downtown Houston and you’ll be in the suburbs. Take a train from Grand Central for an hour (not including the time it takes to get to Grand Central) and maybe you’ll be somewhere just outside of Brooklyn or in the Suburbs. Jesus, drive from the Financial District to Central Park, and depending upon your route, you might not make it in an hour. At any rate, it’s three farms, two of which have only a barn and a house. The main one had a barn, a main house, and two guest houses. We stayed in one of the guest houses and met the family who rents the other guest house. Everyone said people had been living in the area since the 1100s (Viking time), but the barn’s foundation was the oldest at somewhere around early 1800. All of the houses have windows facing the fjord, and walking down to it is maybe a five-minute walk. We took a rowboat out to fish in it, but didn’t catch anything. People we talked to also sadly mentioned that Utoya Island, of the 2011 slaughter by some deranged asshole, is almost directly across the fjord. We spent most breakfast time not facing that window.

We spent most of our time in the area looking for family members’ graves. We were a little shocked to discover that the government removes tombstones after 60 years. Sure, maybe everyone’s stopped mourning, and the families and churches have maintained records…but no one told us what happens to the bodies. We told Lars and Gurid that some cemeteries in America are as old as America. They also didn’t tell us why the government didn’t just clear more land and bury bodies there. Seriously, the only thing bordering the two churches we visited were lots and lots of trees. One was kind of close to a ski jump, so maybe they’re trying to prevent zombie-related jumping deaths. Nope, that can’t be it.

Speaking of which, Norway really seems to love the great outdoors. I can only imagine that’s one of the reasons the labor laws are so protective. You can legally walk through any forest you like, but are banned from passing through fields (probably to keep people from stealing crops, ruining crops, being mistaken for deer and shot). Skiing is huge and, from what I could gather, ski jumping seems to have been perfected there. But that confuses me quite a bit. My mom asked me if I thought people were more overweight there than in New York and I wasn’t sure. I honestly feel like the ratio of obese people to skinny people was pretty much the same, and probably because everyone there seems to eat nothing but the aforementioned burgers and pizza.

Mom also asked me another question that really stood out for me. After visiting my sister while she studied in Copenhagen, I’d come to assume that Norwegians were just as Amazonian and ridiculously attractive. Yet when my mom asked me if Norwegian women were attractive, I told her they were probably about average, though when those stereotypically Scandinavian women with blonde hair did show their face, it was stunning. A rare occasion, though.

All told, as many expectations were met as broken, though. Everyone we talked to was nice, helpful, and probably as excited by Vikings as we are. Our hosts even went out of their way to look up some of our family history for us, which might not have helped too much considering how there’s a very good chance that some of the people living on the farms ended up just taking the name of the farm. But even if we didn’t get all the things we were looking for, we still had too much fun. Dad said on the first day, “We can do whatever you want; it’s vacation.” So for my sister that mostly meant having at least one ice cream per day, despite temperatures of roughly 60 and below. All told, it was an eye-opening trip full of incredible highlights, and it’s always a joy to be around my family when we do amazing things like that.

Itinerary Summary, in brief:

  • Saturday: Landings, waiting, long drive out to the countryside because of untranslatable Google Maps directions to actual signs, long talk while settling in (when I should have napped), expensive dinner (mom got an elk burger!)
  • Sunday: Slept in pretty late, guided tour of one of the other houses on the farm before the renters went back to Oslo, drive down to the largest ski jump in the world, drive in to Oslo, walk on the top of opera, walk to and around fort, heartbreaking realization that nearly everything is closed on Sunday, settling for dinner at a (delicious) pizza place called Mamma Rosa’s
  • Monday: Country drive searching for family gravestones including a Viking ruin, drive up the hill behind the farms to fossil town
  • Tuesday: Cobalt processing plant, Hedeland Glass Factory vist (which was mostly closing for the day, but still neat), picked up and read about 90% of The Hunger Games
  • Wednesday: Finished The Hunger Games and sister started it, train into Oslo after parking in Lars’ driveway, City Hall tour (absolutely incredible; home of the Nobel Prize ceremony), Resistance Museum, coffee and brownie at Akers Brygge (the mall), walk into town, rain, bookstore, terrible search for a dinner place until we found an American-style pub called Gatsby’s
  • Thursday: Terrible parking attempt and surrender to the same parking garage we used on Sunday; museum boat to Viking house, Folk Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, and back; dinner at Deli de Luca where I decided to try their iskaffe only to find out it’s pretty much the most delicious coffee milkshake (is=ice cream kaffe=coffee) ever invented; Operahusset (the national opera house) mistake where we found out the lady sold us tickets for the show a week from that Thursday; sister finishes The Hunger Games
  • Friday: Park at Lars’, train in, bonus iskaffe while browsing for Norwegian gifts my girlfriend would like, Internet connection again at Operahusset (the only place I could find free Wi-Fi) while my sister took a tour of the dye shop with people who seemed to kind of wanted to hire her if she lived there, Catching Fire purchase, four museums
  • Saturday: Fishing attempt, waffles–oh my god, the waffles in this country–with Lars and Gurid, Catching Fire completion
  • Sunday: House prep and drive out to the airport for me, driving off to Western Norway for the family

Yesterday was Saturday, I’d recently received all kinds of awesome news and been asked out by a girl with a boyfriend (What the hell? How am I supposed to date her…she’ll be my Not Girlfriend? Weird). I’ve had eye sex with at least two girls on the way to my Saturday night event. By “eye sex,” I mean those moments when you make eye contact with a sexy person and just keep looking back because every time you lock eyes it feels like someone reached into your chest and shoved your heart into your throat; slapped you in the face while yelling, “Hey dumbass. You like this one. You should talk to her.”

I ignore that voice and those hands and just keep listening to my music because I’m on the subway, just standing around waiting and I’ve always felt weird about talking to people–particularly people I don’t know–on the subway. Whenever I commute, I usually have my iPod in and my mouth shut.

At any rate, my attractive tally is like one and two–though I seem to be having a problem talking to women unless they’re dating someone, I am obviously a little attractive to a select group of females I’m also attracted to. So I get to the studio where my friends are DJing and meet up with some more of my friends. Just as I expected, I didn’t really know many people there and wasn’t really trying to meet anyone else. But lo and behold, I’m kind of on the right end of another game of ocular fornication with some girl with awesome dance moves.

I try to play it cool, to keep hanging out with my friends, keep trying to tell stories though I can barely hear anyone over the music. I try to keep this girl out of my mind because I’m worried I’ll mumble, that I’ll sink deeper into a no-hitter I can’t escape from. Yet I keep track of where she’s dancing. It’s like a high school dance and I keep worrying she’s going to leave before I get to talk to her. I try to quell that “Oh shit she’s not dancing in the same place, I should have talked to her ten minutes ago–back before she left” feeling.

At one point one of my friends’ girlfriend shows up and tells me I smell nice. It’s not quite enough, but it definitely tips the scales in my favor. I mean, I was not entirely aware of it at the time, but it sort of feels like it all evens out: I might be a criminal ogler but I have my attractive features and this super sexy dancing lady and I are probably making eye contact because of more than just my ridiculous dance moves (described by some as “like a chicken dying”). Yet there’s still that nagging “I need social proof I know how to talk to girls” feeling which prompts me to ask my (female) friend to help me talk to this girl before my friend leaves.

But I’ve lost her and my friend leaves. I’m kicking myself, but I go back to dancing and cavorting. Some of my friends go on smoke break and I decide to go to, just because my ears are killing me. On the way out, I finally run into little-miss-dance-and-stare. And the great news is that stupid “If you don’t talk to her now you never will” feeling isn’t there, it’s just “Oh, this would be a good time to introduce yourself.” It probably went something like this, though I can verify none of the actual dialogue since I was partially deaf and full of social sauce:

“I like everything you’re doing.”

“You like everything I’m doing?”

“Yes, I find everything you’re wearing attractive.”

“Like sometime tomorrow.”

“My name is Chris. What’s yours?”

“Tomorrow.”

“All right, well…”

I had mixed feelings about this exchange, but I definitely decided we were having different conversations and walked outside, confused and perhaps dismayed. I might have felt like an idiot for building this girl up to be more in my head than she really was. I do that all the time, but what with my ogling record, I was also glad to finally have mustered the courage to talk without looking like too much of an idiot.

But then again, my ears were barely functioning. She could have said her name was Tamaera or Tarra or, even crazier, her name could have really been Tomorrow. I have no idea. Looking back though, I don’t think that was my worst mistake.

When I came back in from another cigarette break I had to wipe my glasses off because the cold was fogging them up. I could tell she was staring at me off to my right (despite being mostly blind). I finished wiping, put on my glasses, looked over and pointed at her, looking up and down, and walked off. Perhaps that was my attempt to reinforce what I’d said earlier, my way saying, “I see you looking at me and I still like how you look.” And that was my only high school move of the night. That was when I disappointed myself most–easily because I didn’t see her the rest of the night.

What kind of idiot walks away from a woman who, despite giving an odd first impression, is obviously interested? Why not ask for a dance or a phone number to talk to when the music isn’t so loud? Why not ask about her name again? Why not share some of the awesome news, ask if she’s received any awesome news recently? I’m a little pissed that I shut down so quickly and so completely over something so nonsensical. That is, though we didn’t quite seem to connect on a verbal level, I feel like an idiot for dismissing her because we had obviously connected on a visual level.

Sure, it’s not the end of the world, but I feel like I’ve let myself down, like I let her down; like the onus was on me to start and maintain a conversation and all I could do was wag my finger like a significantly less cool Fonzie. If hindsight is 20/20, then my hope is that writing about how I fucked up last night will help both you and me become farsighted and make the right decisions before they happen instead of afterward.

Make good decisions out there, kids.

I wish tall girls would lower their standards.

I once read something that claimed tall people are promoted more often than short people because everyone spends so much time looking up to them literally that they start looking up to them metaphorically. And that’s always the greatest irony: these women are always powerful, amazonian, and impressive though they seem to think they can’t date anyone unless they’re as tall as or taller than they are.

I will admit I’ve had crushes on tall women quite a few times. Once when I was young and dumb (like two years ago), I realized a tall woman had a crush on me far too late; and it kills me to this day. Hanging out with tall single women has, on occasion, been the best way to have a depressing night. It’s difficult to watch them turn down so much love, whether they’re foiling seduction attempts or simply not talking to anyone because no one else is tall.

Nine times put of ten, these women are six foot three and taller, although that never appears to be an issue for potential suitors. I hope I’m not exalting these women too much or raising their status from Beautiful Amazon to Living God unnecessarily, but the times I’ve not been attracted to a tall woman have been rare. Reciprocation feels like it’s been even rarer because I’m like five foot nine or seven or five. The specifics don’t seem to matter because I’m not taller than six foot two.

Which is to say, it feels strange to be deemed less interested or less capable strictly because I’m short or, in some statistics’ opinions, average height. Shouldn’t the courage and the wherewithal to engage be enough to express interest against all odds? It hurts to see these women set up this ridiculous barrier for themselves, like latina women who won’t date chinese men or black men who only date black women. The Capulets and Montagues are long dead and Obama is not longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Who cares who you date?

If you make each other happy, should you not be friends or date or elope or follow each other on Tumblr whatever it is you kids are doing these days? Not talking in bars or not dating because of height seems plain old ludicrous.

It’s 2011, which, in my opinion means it is high time for people to date whoever the fuck they want without absurd restrictions.

I was looking over my collection of Dia Del Valentin mixtapes,  and I swear to God I’m missing one. I’m pretty sure I put The Kooks’ “Do You Wanna,” Queens of the Stone Age’s “Misfit Love” and LCD Soundsystem’s “Someone Great” together once. To remedy that and all the issues I had with having to omit stuff last week, here’s a backup playlist.

This is part alternates, part things I’ll never be able to include and part me just thoroughly enjoying making playlists. Maybe I’ll use this as a list to cull tasty licks from for next year’s list. Although this might fit on a CD, the chances of it ever getting burned are very, very slim.

The ordering mostly revolves around genres, making transitions from rock into pop and ending with rap and R&B. Quality is not guaranteed since this look like an hour and is more of a placeholder than anything else. I might have only been performing at 80% for this one because I kinda just threw some songs I had been considering two weeks ago together instead of adjusting the playlist every day for an entire month. True story: Dia Del Valentins can take a month and, even then,  I’ll wonder if the results were really any good  and sometimes make another. Maybe that’s what happened with Dia Del Valentin 1 and Dia Del Valentin Dos

  1. Slim Harpo, “Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu”
  2. U2, “Two Hearts Beat as One
  3. The Temper Trap, “Sweet Disposition
  4. The Kooks, “Do You Wanna?
  5. Jimi Hendrix, “You Got Me Floatin'”
  6. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, “Here Comes My Girl”
  7. Steve Winwood, “Higher Love”
  8. Genesis v. Katy Perry, “Invisible Gurls
  9. The-Dream, “Yamaha
  10. M83, “We Own the Sky
  11. Yelle, “Amour Du Sol”
  12. Robyn, “Stars 4-Ever”
  13. Ladyhawke, “Magic
  14. Mike Posner, “Bow Chicka Wow Wow”
  15. R. Kelly, “Ignition (Remix)
  16. Usher, “That’s What it’s Made For”
  17. Ghostface Killah, “Not Your Average Girl”
  18. Lupe Fiasco, “Sunshine”
  19. Method Man, “All I Need
  20. UGK, “Real Women”

I was sad to discover that the whole reason I started this tradition no longer wishes to participate: I never heard back from my roommate’s ex-girlfriend when I asked for her address and when I asked my roommate for her current address he, and this is highly privileged information, told me, “Fuck you.” Luckily, though, I picked up a new subscriber last year even though I’ve lost two since. My new trinity of super-select women who totally deserve this mixtape now include one repeat customer, a lady I recently took on a date and my sister. All Freudian implications aside, I’m not entirely sure there’s a reason I can’t keep expanding the subscribers. I might start sending these to my Mom, although sending a romantic, sexy, no pants playlist to my sister is already weird enough.

It should also be noted that, due to popular and overwhelming demand, I made an honest attempt to exclude a lot of really good rap songs. I was considering including things like Lupe Fiasco’s “Sunshine,” The-Dream’s “Yamaha” or Method Man’s “All I Need,” but I realized some of these things might be overkill or could stick out like a sore thumb among a very alternative- and indie-heavy song set.

I also realized after I’d burned the first mixtape I should probably have included The Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition” and I really wanted to include M83’s “We Own the Sky” though it only had hints of love in it. Perhaps they will be that much more effective next year with some distance, some perspective. It’s also killing me that “Little Bit” probably belongs more towards the end of the second section (right after “Indestructible”), but this what happens when the Postal Service forces you to, like, plan ahead and stuff.

Without any further distraction or male bovine feces, I’d like to present Dia Del Valntin ’11:

1. Robyn, “Hang with Me
2. TV on the Radio, “Province
3. Mike Posner, “Do You Wanna?”
4. Lykke Li, “Little Bit
5. The Black Keys, “Everlasting Light
6. The-Dream, “F.I.L.A.”
7. Robyn, “Indestructible
8. Cee-Lo Green, “Wildflower”
9. Katy Perry, “Hummingbird Heartbeat”
10. Alicia Keys, “Teenage Love Affair
11. Common, “The Light
12. Yelle, “Tu Es Beau
13. Talking Heads, “This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)
14. The Black Keys, “Howlin’ for You”
15. The Rolling Stones, “Pass the Wine (Sophia Loren)”
16. Prince and The Revolution, “I Would Die 4 U”
17. The Cure, “Strange Attraction”
18. Barry White, “Never, Never Gonna Give You Up”
19. Kings of Leon, “Birthday”
20. Prince and The Revolution, “Take Me with U”
21. Mike Posner, “Please Don’t Go

So here’s why this happened:

You like me? You shouldn’t. 1-2: This is the, “Hey, you should know I’m crazy and weird before you get into this” section. That, “Oh, you like music and movies? Me too, but are you sure that means we should date?” time frame.

Alright, but are you sure? 3-7: That was an impressive speech you gave about the virtues of dating and I was thoroughly impressed with your Powerpoint presentation on your levels of awesome. After some serious consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that, “Shit, I’m kinda falling for you, too.”

Whoa, you’re right: I love you. 8-11: This is the puppy love section. Note the “Teenage Love Affair” and “Hummingbird Heartbeat” pairing making its way into a very serious “The Light.”

Intermission: Slow down, this is a lot to take in. 12-13: I don’t speak a lot of French but I get the impression this song’s about how beautiful you are. These songs also go really well together in terms of singer and musical composition. A good way to say, “Yes, I know I put a rap and an R&B song on here, but this one makes a smooth transition into all that indie shit we love.” “This must be the place” is kind of a nice way to smoothly transition into next section as well. I put these here because I love them so much; they are the love jelly spread between the lust bread and peanut butter.

I would do anything for you. 14-16: I’m fucking crazy about you. You are the waxing gibbous moon to my werewolf. See what I’m talking about? Even that analogy I just used was crazy.

I need you, stay with me. 17-21: This section says, “I can’t be without you, please don’t leave.” “Strange Attraction” is here instead of in the “Holy shit I love you” sections because the story line swims through meeting, loving and leaving while maintaining an adorable chorus. It probably really belongs in the “Alright, are you sure?” section, but instead of dealing with break-ups for an entire mixtape, I included it to introduce a thought more along the lines of something like: Every time you walk out the door, it feels like you won’t come back. Don’t go.

In preparation for whatever it is that happens on this day in one week, I’ve gone through the archives to ensure I’m not repeating super hot sexy jams in the upcoming Dia Del Valentin ’11 playlist. In addition to last year’s playlist, it seems like it would be good to add the previous two playlists and, if not just for prosperity, make an honest attempt to draw any conclusions about my sequencing habits.

Dia Del Valentin 1:

1. Saves The Day, “Firefly”
2. Muse, “Invincible”
3. John Mayer, “Only Heart”
4. Daft Punk, “Digital Love
5. Elefant, “Make Up”
6. Radiohead, “All I Need
7. The Ataris, “San Dimas High School Football Rules”
8. Say Anything, “Baby Girl, I’m a Blur
9. David Bowie, “Heroes”
10. The Who, “Love Ain’t for Keeping”
11. Michael Buble, “How Sweet It Is”
12. Kenny Wayne Shepherd, “I Found Love (When I Found You)”
13. Kings of Leon, “Knocked Up”
14. Eddie Money, “Take Me Home Tonight
15. Interpol, “Obstacle 2”
16. Saves The Day, “Nightingale”
17. Justin Timberlake, “Let’s Take a Ride”
18. MGMT, “Electric Feel
19. Dave Matthews Band, “Dreamgirl”
20. Incubus, “Here in my Room”

Dia Del Valentin Dos:

Just a brief preface: Apparently, I didn’t used to have the qualms I currently do about using the same songs. Some of them even appear here in the same order as on the previous playlist. Thank goodness I’ve come back to study this crap in detail so I don’t keep making these mistakes.

1. Outkast, “Happy Valentine’s Day”
2. Saves The Day, “Firefly”
3. John Mayer, “Only Heart”
4. Daft Punk, “Digital Love”
5. The Postal Service, “Brand New Colony”
6. Steve Miller Band, “Serenade”
7. Kings of Leon, “On Call
8. The Ataris, “Sand Dimas High School Football Rules”
9. Say Anything, “Alive with the Glory of Love
10. David Bowie, “Heroes”
11. The Who, “Love Ain’t for Keeping”
12. Michael Buble, “How Sweet It Is”
13. Kenny Wayne Shepherd, “I Found Love (When I Found You)”
14. Eddie Money, “Take Me Home Tonight”
15. The Tragically Hip, “Silver Jet
16. Interpol, “Obstacle 2”
17. Justin Timberlake, “Let’s Take a Ride”
18. MGMT, “Electric Feel”
19. Dave Matthews Band, “Dreamgirl”
20. Foo Fighters, “Everlong”
21. Saves The Day, “Nightingale”

Conclusions:

I am criminally unimpressed with myself. I owe my college roomate’s ex-girlfriend a sincere apology (probably in the form of the Dia Del Valentin ’11 I will be mailing her in the near future). By the numbers it looks like I used 15 of the same songs–only partially changed chronologically–and introduced two new songs that were by the same band they were replacing (Say Anything, Kings of Leon). Perhaps some of this makes sense, though; some of the songs here are my all-time favorite songs (you know what you did, Saves The Day, David Bowie, Interpol and Eddie Money).

If anything, this might be a reflection of not a lack of effort but a learning curve. Unlike last year’s playlist, I’m having a hard time dividing these into groups or themes just by looking at them, but the fact that I have some of them in the same order tells me I used to think they were all supposed to go together. The thing that really leads me to believe this was a set of learning mixes is the way numero Dos starts.

“Happy Valentine’s Day” is a song after my own heart. I’ve written about it before, but it’s an appropriate way to start this playlist (and this tradition) for me because on the surface it’s wishing you nothing but the best Valentine’s Day even though I’ve never really been a fan. For the first time last year, I wasn’t completely alone on Valentine’s Day, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it was really that much better. A little. Not enough for me to decide to stop disliking Valentine’s Day.

Personal damage–and mistakes–aside, the song switches are much more appropriate (a Kings of Leon song about being there for your lover instead of about unplanned pregnancy and a Say Anything song with a WWII love metaphor instead of about being a blur). I’m also very proud of how I altered the playlist’s ending. Leaving the Incubus song about sexing an incubus (probably an alien actually, but still weird) makes less sense then ending with a beautiful song about love. “Nightingale” is possibly the best song Saves The Day has done on their best album; as a testament to that album’s excellence, the only Saves The Day songs I’ve used on my playlists have both come from Stay What You Are.

As I keep adapting and improving, I might impress myself with the minutiae that only barely fixes the great error that is not creating a new playlist, but I’m hoping to keep outdoing myself every year. Get excited.

The only real way to answer the question, “Are Texas girls hotter than New York girls?” is to give you way too much information about me in the hopes that you’ll understand my answer. Perhaps, in understanding me, you’ll understand why I feel the way I do.

I’ve said it before–very likely many a time in this very blog–I’ve said it at least twice now on the Internet: some of my favorite people are my mom, my sister and my grandma. I always leave my dad out of that grouping because it’s three against one and because that undercuts my main point: I sincerely love women. I honestly don’t think there’s ever enough of them in my life. I get my loyalty, dedication, sense of humor and puritanical work ethic from my dad, but I also got creativity, listening skills and even more humor from the women in my life. Out of all the grandparents I’ve had, I’m glad Elaine is still alive because she’s my favorite out of all of them.

My mom used to tell me I have an old soul. I always thought that meant I was more mature than some of my colleagues, which kind of made sense because I always got along with adults really well. Regardless, I’ve got the sense of humor of a fourth or fifth grader and the mouth of a sailor. So I was always conflicted: was I wise beyond my years or just a kid in teenager’s clothing? Even now as some semblance of adult, how mature am I really? The only things I tend to take seriously are jokes or how badly I want to be a copy editor. Ridiculous though it may sound, I seriously study jokes.1

When I was in high school I felt more affinity with nerds, emo kids and punks than I did with jocks, despite being lacrosse team captain. I was the kind of jock that got passed over for All-District goalie my senior year because we were terrible that year. I would even call myself a Secret Jock: I played sports and played them well while still sequestering myself in AP classrooms. I got recruited by a couple of Division I and III teams and decided to go to go to a school with solid academics and walked on. In retrospect, all of this isn’t really that hard to believe.

I’ve probably been the skinniest fat kid you know since I discovered E.L. Fudge in like sixth grade or so. I’ve had a love of food since before I can remember, but it has become more serious since my mom taught me how to cook. I’m the Oprah of my friends: I lose weight, I gain weight, I lose weight, so on. I know the solution, but my retail job, application-writing schedule and writing for people for free keeps me from playing sports. I’m lucky enough to have been blessed by those four people from the second paragraph to have even more awesome hindsight: though I love eating, I don’t need to eat as much as I do. I can enjoy the flavor without enjoying it to the point that I need to unbutton my pants.

Going home last week made me realize I felt like a nerd and an emo kid in high school because of the geography, not because of who I am. In high school I was actually hit on by one of the most popular cheerleaders but took her friend (also a cheerleader) on a date when I called to ask about how her friend felt about me. I will never be able to explain that, but the lesson was that I’m a pretty handsome guy despite my love of delicious foods and asking most attractive women on dates.

For a long time, the thought process was: I’m the underdog, a good guy who couldn’t get any girls because girls like bad, immature guys. Aren’t girls supposed to like a guy who likes dating2, cooking, laughing until it hurts and chick flicks? Everything was black and white back then, but now I know some girls like it and some girls don’t. Some girls will complain about not being able to find guys like that while some girls won’t complain and will just try to find those guys. But that’s not how Texas works.

Spending a week in Texas brought high school back and made me realize the last six years have been steps away from becoming a reclusive emo kid who listens to music more than people. The realization was that it’s not me, it’s the location. There’s something very, very strange about Texas women.3

I think there’s this old myth that your worst nightmare is a hot woman who knows she’s hot. I’m not really sure what the idea is–something like hot women who know they’re hot will take advantage of you because they know they can take stuff from you because you’re a dude that thinks only from his hips–but it’s as if these women have taken that idea and run with it. They seem to travel in packs. There doesn’t seem to ever be a girl on her own. The event doesn’t seem to matter: at the bar with her friends, at the bar ordering a drink with a friend, birthday party, girls’ night out, shopping, movie night. A girl in Texas cannot be found  with anything less than her boyfriend, her gay friend or a guy related to her. A woman by herself in Texas is a married woman at Kroger.

I am a proud member of a group of friends that calls themselves the Dick Clique. There have been debates about who named us, why we were named that or who is actually a member, but we’re basically a group of eight to ten dudes. And I always thought that that was because we were the kind of emo kids who didn’t hang out with girls much; we spent most of high school playing video games and enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes a member would pick up a date or a girlfriend but we spent a lot time having sausage-type parties. In college I had what was the same problem. To make this Massachusetts digression as minimal as possible, some of my best friends in college were four or five guys. I say “or” because one of our favorite people transferred. Despite losing a member, it was still a bunch of guys. Girls were casual acquaintances, potential dates.

When I graduated and moved to New York, I realized not every girl I’ve every known wanted to date me or would be a potential date. I learned I like hanging out with a lot of girls I would never date. I am who I am because of the women in my family and I would never date any of them. There’s something magical about girl talk and I’m not saying that because Gregg Gillis makes some pretty awesome music. Being privy to that kind of discussion, that insight–to be able to clarify why we make some of our decisions  or come that much closer to cracking the woman code–is kind of awesome.

While I was in Texas, I spoke to less than two girls I’d never met before, but the first night I went out in New York I met a bunch of girls. I exchanged lengthy discussions about popular culture with a woman I’ll probably never see again. We made jokes about her boobs. Had I done that in Texas, and I know this from experience, I would have gotten–in this order–the laugh, the eye roll and the cold shoulder. Granted, I did not make out with this girl, I did not get her number and I do not know her name. But still, she made these jokes with me and it’s my fault for not trying to keep in touch.

Sometimes it’s not even the names or the phone numbers that matter: I’ve kissed, made out with, dated, [redacted] more women in the past year than I did all throughout high school and college combined. I can pretend it’s because my old soul has finally caught up with the women around me, but my calculations have lead me to believe that’s bullshit. I live in a city where women vastly outnumber men. I’m going out of my way to work in an industry where women vastly outnumber men. I work for a chain of stores where women vastly outnumber men. I occasionally write for a blog (besides this one) that is primarily frequented by women.

I am attracted to women, so I am attracted to New York.

Also, consider the diversity: Texas women are notoriously attractive, but if you’re in the market for anything besides white women, you’re up shit creek. Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of white women–a nut for redheads and the occasional brunette–but I’ve been known to have a crush or two on black women or Latina women. My running theory about my type is that I might not actually have a type, just a preference for women with beautiful faces and…how to put this…chesticles. New York, in the parlance of the last century or so, has everything.

This is city where women who don’t speak up move home, suffer, hit on unattractive men and die. Hyperbole aside, this is the kind of place where women can’t afford not to speak their mind. That was what pissed me off about Houston, too: the Houston bar scene I experienced seemed like a bunch of shitty bars with music too loud to hear each other. Don’t you at least have to talk to each other a little to know one of you isn’t going to strangle the other?4 Or are all one-night stands based on how well you can shake your hips?5 I feel like one-night stands are myths: hook ups, in this short a duration, are the myths we’ve created as a generation to make ourselves feel better about hating the word “dating” even though we’re dating.

I’ve digressed, though: the point is that, in Houston, the girls a very insular. There is some aura of guys being perpetually creepy and that somehow feeds into how we always feel creepy when we look at girls. But in New York, talking to girls is kind of essential to any night. Sure, sometimes she’s spoken for or a lesbian or moving to the other side of the Earth in a week or something, but at the end of the night you’ve still talked to some girls instead of creeped on some girls. Which is just way more fun.

In Texas, I always thought it was because I was weird that I made girls feel weird. With reflection I quickly came to understand that I might be a square peg in a world of round holes, but New York City is a city of square, octagonal, hexagonal and so on shaped holes.

If that metaphor makes you cringe too much, let me put it this way: living here has made me realize that I’m a weird dude, but in comparison with some of the stuff I’ve seen here, I’m not really that weird. What was really lacking for me was the attitude, the cultural norms that would allow women to be far less subtle. A lot of my life has been the endless search to never piss anyone off–to make them laugh, to do everything I can to make them happy. In that search, all the signs of flirting have passed me by. I don’t know where the blame lies–location, culture, age, climate, etc.–but New York women have always had the kind of attitude I like. In my opinion, that attitude is far sexier than trying to talk to a woman with the looks of a model with the attitude of an insufferable asshole.

So I choose New York women. I’m doing everything in my power to stay here because I love them.

Addendum
1. The irony of this sentence should baffle you even though it’s entirely true.
2. The word “dating” has spun out of control in my opinion. Talk to most girls you know about “dating” and they’ll all tell you they hate it like it punched them and stole their bike and their dreams when they were eight. But seriously, what the hell is “hooking up” if it’s not dating? What’s so terrible about hanging out and talking with someone–particularly if you’re attracted to them? That’s all you’re doing if you’re hooking up, but possibly with way less commitment and a smidgen  less talking.
3. Not to make this shit way too crazy, but there’s also something wrong with Houston doodz. Something about bro’in’ out, brah. Everything past 1AM is a fistfight. “My chick is super hot and I’m ‘roid ragin’!!!!! You ’bout ta git ya face pushed in, ‘mo!!!!!” In New York, we’re too busy either not giving a fuck or just saying, “Excuse me” to get into a fight. Fight? I’m busy trying to catch my train. I can’t fight you, I’m busy fighting for a job.
4. I mean like, without a safe word or whatever you kids are into. You guys are weird.
5. Which is also bullshit: I’ve been able to shake my hips since I figured out what rhythm was. One-and-two-and…just move your fucking feet, dumbass. Shake your arms like you’re having a seizure: people will either laugh or try to dance like you. Either way, you’ll be okay. Call a cab; in New York City, the subway runs 24/7. We win.

Out of the new interns, there are two I would consider making out with; one kissed me tonight. No making out but holy shit that girl can kiss. That was the beginning and end of our interaction all night, but it made me wonder a couple of things: What the hell am I doing right? Why do girls want to kiss me more in the last month than they have in the last four years? Am I fucking crazy or, after a girl kisses you, do you want to spend the next 12-48 hours with a woman doing the kind of stuff you can’t blog about? Perhaps more importantly, should I even be taking any of these girls seriously? If they want to kiss me after laughing at some bullshit I made up, will any of them want to date for more than an hour? Are my questions stupid and will anyone besides me ever try to figure this crap out?

No. I will go on, write some more copy editing cover letters and look forward to the next woman that wants to lace my lips with lascivious offerings of temporary love.

[Ed. Note: The title came to me when reading Jezebel once one day. So I wrote this and pitched it to the editor of Jezebel. I have yet to hear from her and honestly, it’s too good to sit around in my outbox doing nothing. I took out some stuff and added some links to make this overly explicit and inappropriate.]

Henry Kissinger once said, “Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.” Here’s a peek at the battle raging inside our heads about relationships and kissing her.

Horrendous puns aside, being a 20 something is generally pretty rough. We graduated into a recession, work in a recession or we still aren’t really sure what we want to do, recession be damned. And that makes it hard for us to focus on dating–wanna hookup?

If we can’t yet find the chutzpah to finally understand ourselves, then there’s no way we’re going to be comfortable with you. Regardless, basic human instincts have had an effect on us since the beginning of time. These are the facts: 1. You’re pretty. 2. We want you to come back to our place. But somewhere in there we were raised–sometimes–to do things like wait to call you, to get your chair, to listen, to hold the door, to not call you the c-word, to not order for you, to never hit on your friends. But that’s all the stuff that complicates everything and separates number 1 from number 2 (except the c-word and friend thing, of course. Those are a no-go all the time).

There are more than a couple of guys that want you and there are even girls that want you. But when we go through the motions and do everything we’re supposed to do, we trip over our own feet. We like what we like, but sometimes we’re just socially retarded. The laws of attraction have never been blatant for us. We keep going back to those two facts and trying to figure out how to get to and beyond number.

The most difficult thing about relationships is sometimes starting relationships. If we ask you out in public, someone’s going to hear and they’re going to make fun of us whether or not you say yes. Someone always pops out of the woodwork with a childish, “Awwww,” which is just as embarrassing as when you just say no. Or, what happens when we reveal our feelings and you decide you don’t want to ever talk again? Being friends and never dating you is easily more fun than making the mistake of getting emotionally involved then never seeing you.

Sometimes while dating, and this might come as a shock considering massive stereotypes about the though processes of women, we’ve over-thought this more than you: She doesn’t want kids? I want kids. How’s the soup? She doesn’t like the soup. I’ll never see her again. Wanna, I don’t know, get Mexican or something? She doesn’t like Mexican? I can’t go for the rest of my life without Mexican. I’m going to have to eat Mexican every day on work breaks. How am I going to convince her to move to Brooklyn with me and take the kids for Mexican food every Saturday? She’ll never want to retire to Austin because tacos are everywhere. I can’t do this anymore, she’s dead to me. I never liked soup anyway, what a stupid order. Oh, you do want to get some Mexican? Cool. Liar.

If we manage to make it beyond the “Can I hold your hand?” or the “Goodnight, oh Christ, do I walk away or just kiss her already?” phases, there’s still ground for misunderstanding. In some circles, leaving a toothbrush at the other’s place is a sign that you’re exclusive, that you’ve claimed us as yours. But that tiny little flag pitched in our den of solitude and magazines can mean everything or nothing. Sometimes teeth just need to be cleaned–sexy time. But of course, that’s just being nit-picky about one little thing. A myriad of things confuse us once we’ve held your hand and kissed you goodnight.

So I’d like to apologize in advance on our behalf. We meant to get that door. Do you want seconds? Sorry for mumbling. No, no–this round’s on me. That’s not what we meant; your haircut was weird at first because it was different, but now we realize it frames your face and makes you prettier. Sorry we didn’t call. Sorry for waiting so long to ask you out.

Full Albums:

  • The Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique1
  • Gorillaz, Demon Days
  • Joe Bonamassa, The Ballad of John Henry2
  • Kanye West, The College Dropout3
  • Mike Posner, 31 Minutes to Takeoff…
  • Taking Back Sunday, Where You Want to Be
  • The-Dream, Love King (Deluxe Edition)4
  • Warren Zevon, Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon5

Random Songs of Excellence:

  • Mos Def, “Brooklyn”6
  • Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, “Soul Brother #1” and “Can’t Front on Me”7
  • The-Dream, “Fancy”
  • The XX, “Heart Skipped a Beat”

Songs of the Week:

  • The Motherfucking Police, “Bring On The Night”8
  • Van Halen, “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Street” 9

Reviews:

1. “Off the Grid” came up on shuffle and I started looking through my Beastie Boys collection only to realize that my playcount on this album was 0 for every song. I transferred all my songs to an external hard drive like two or three months ago because my music collection was more than twice my original hard drive space; a 0 playcount on Paul’s Boutique is inexcusable. It’s too good.

2. Too many great guitar riffs. Too. Many.

3. If you haven’t caught the theme yet, I listened to good music this week.

4. “Shorty priceless.”

5. One of my favorite quotes from all of college is: “Good art reveals something new each time you see it.” And that’s what this album is. Except I can’t see it, I can hear something great every time I listen. Indeed sir, a little old lady got mutilated late last nightA.

6. A rap song that starts with an interpolation of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song? Count me in. This three part suite peaks in the middle, but it’s still pretty great. Plus, I like how he talks about where I used to liveB.

7. These songs come from one of the best albums ever invented and I will probably listen to it again soon because it’s great.

8. I can’t find the words to tell you how great this song is. I can tell you that it embodied my life for this past week, though.

9. I got to work one day and a Van Halen song had come up on shuffle, I think it might have been “Secrets” or something, but it reminded me, “Oh yeah. They do some other songs that will make retail less terrible.”

A. There’s too much excellent alliteration, rhyming and assonance going on in that sentence for me to even start writing about it. You should just listen to it and bask in Warren’s greatness.

B. But I am still glad I no longer live in Crown Heights.

Comments:

I talked with one of my best friends recently. He asked why I haven’t been blogging much and I explained that I do a lot of writing for other people these days. Sure, some of those places aren’t, how do you say it, “paying” right now, but I still do it because I’m making my resume fucking awesome. And furthermore, I do some of my best writing inebriated. And guess what I didn’t have from last Sunday until Friday? If you guessed alcoholic beverages, you were correct and you should give yourself a pat on the back. And then tell your female friends biting guys on the back so hard they have bite marks is not sexy. But I’ll probably hit on her anyway because I like boobs. These are the mistakes I make.

Now I think I have Carpal Tunnel.