Tag Archives: college

Nov
14
2012
Man to English Dictionary

I’ve written about my awkward first kiss before. Except for a brief glimpse, I haven’t written about what happened next. Because what happened next is I was a moron.

I told myself a relationship with this guy was risk-free practice since he already had a girlfriend (long-distance, “agreed to see other people,” blah, blah, blah). I was sick of the lateness of my blooming, I needed to get my mind off of an unrequited love interest, and this guy’s attention was intoxicating. These are shitty reasons to date someone. I can admit I was a hypocrite (neither of us were in it “for the right reasons”).

But just because I was a hypocrite doesn’t mean my ex wasn’t a douche.

I was naive. But it didn’t seem possible that he could just want me for sex, especially since he wasn’t getting any. Even looking back on it, I’m still amazed by his patience and persistence. Good for you, buddy. You had a goal, and you went after it with single-minded determination. I over-analyzed everything he said to me, searching for deep meaning that wasn’t there. I didn’t understand the male mind…yet. How could I have known so little rattled around in there?

The good news? You don’t need to date a douche to learn what you need to know about men. Just read my Man-English Dictionary.

I’m not saying men aren’t capable of love and commitment. I’m saying even then they’re still thinking about banging you 97 percent of the time. The other 3 percent of the time they’re thinking about food or banging Kate Winslet (exact percentages and celebrity fantasies may vary).

Here are some phrases in “man-speak” and their English translations. If you have more to add, please share in the comments because I’m finding this very amusing.

MAN ENGLISH
“You’re too smart to play games with.” “I wonder how difficult it will be to get you to sleep with me.”
“You’re gorgeous/irresistible/important to me/I’ve been thinking about you a lot.” “I want to have sex with you.”
“I find you intriguing.” “Challenge accepted.”
“I want to get to know you better…see where this leads.” “Vagina or bust.”
“If I wanted to be with her, I would be.” “I’m taking a break from my girlfriend because I want to have sex with other women before settling down.”
“I’m not in this for sex.” “I’m also willing to spend time with you doing things that could reasonably lead to sex, or having an occasional meal if you pay.”
“Don’t be afraid to let your guard down. You don’t have to be so strong all the time.” “Seriously, let your guard down. This will only take a minute.”
“I’ve never had a problem with commitment.” “I’m totally committed to having sex with everyone I’m simultaneously dating.”
“I’ve never had a one night stand.” “I’m interested in having sex with you the entire time I’m apart from my girlfriend.”
“You seem to be holding back emotionally, the last seven or eight girls I’ve dated told me they loved me within a month.” “Does using the word love in any context help? Also, 8 of 9 girlfriends dentists gave it up within a month, what’s with you?”
“I’m not secure in how you feel about me.” “I’m pretending to be emotionally vulnerable to see if you’ll reassure me with sex.”
“You can let go of your morals and no one will know.” “I’ve run out of things to say to convince you to have sex.”
“Whatever is between us will likely be forcibly reduced to a strong friendship next year.” “I’m moving in with my girlfriend next year, but plan to keep pursuing you sexually until then and want to assuage my guilt by pretending to be clear about my intentions.”
“We will always be friends.” “Once having sex with you is no longer a possibility, you will never hear from me again, until the check I wrote to repay the money you lent me bounces.”

The pinnacle of my ex’s douchiness came during his rehearsed “letting me down easy” speech. We took a walk around campus late one evening right before the end of the semester and he offered, “if you want someone to notice you, get him to see you in the moonlight.”

It was the night of a new moon. I shit you not.

What a douche.

For the record, he still owes me $105. And I want it.

——————

For auditory learners, here is what men want:

Sep
7
2012
Garbage In…

In between sips of my Amaretto Sour, I kept gingerly clinking my teeth together.

One of my hallmates suggested going to Nick’s, and I realized my usual response of “I’m not drunk enough to eat at Nick’s” was not accurate.

“I can’t feel my teeth,” I offered.

“Great, let’s go!”

Janice was the only person on the hall who was sober and awake. She graciously and foolishly agreed to drive a bunch of drunk people to Nick’s.

Surveying the crowd of us, she responsibly pointed out, “you won’t all fit in the car.”

Fro’s argument was clear and strong as he tossed her the keys, “Nick’s!”

We entered the car in shifts. The last available space was horizontal. Two of us had to wedge ourselves like Tetris pieces onto the laps of those already on the back seat.

My neck bent awkwardly and my head was jammed into the ceiling.

The Nick’s virgins got a briefing on the proper etiquette. Be ready by the time you get to the front of the line. No substitutions. Yes, you had to eat the macaroni salad. Don’t look, just eat.

We debated the merits of pouring ketchup over everything. We sang along with the radio. We accidentally poked each other in sensitive areas whenever Janice took a sharp corner.

Before I’d taken one bite, that first garbage plate from Nick’s turned out to be one of the most nourishing meals I’d ever had.

 ——————————————

​This post is a response to this week’s writing prompt at Write on Edge.

“Certain local items linger in your mind and weave together with memories and stories you remember with an almost possessive type of nostalgia. This week you have 350 words to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece in which a local or regional item or industry plays a role.”

My college-era nostalgia is possessive indeed! As stated in the video, a garbage plate from Nick Tahou’s is a rite of passage for college students in Rochester, NY. He neglected to mention the drunk in the wee hours of the morning part.

 

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

May
4
2012
Piercing

Teenage girls need to make a personal fashion statement, something to set them apart. I was a teenager long before there were sweatpants with writing on the ass. And clearly my trouble attracting guys had to do with the single piercing of my ears. So I decided to get my ears double pierced. But that was not the statement, oh no. The statement was wearing both earrings of a pair in the same ear. You can’t say I didn’t live on the edge.

I convinced my Mom to take me to have it done. She thought I was nuts, but the passion of my argument allowed me to block out how much I hate pain. As soon as we got in the car, the reality of having holes created in my flesh where there weren’t any before started to hit me.

By the time we entered the jewelry store I was somewhere else entirely. This is silly, my hair will cover the second holes anyway. One piercing is plenty.

I could hear my Mom making small talk with the staple gun operator, torturer piercing technician. She had to arrange for my mutilation because I wasn’t saying anything.

I don’t even remember getting into the chair of doom, but once seated there the time allowed for perseverating over another set of piercings was over.

I braced for impact, white-knuckling the arms of the chair. I shot a look of panic at my Mom, who rolled her eyes in response. She probably said something helpful like, “you don’t even know what real pain is,” and also, “this was your idea, remember?”

So I turned to the technician and decided I’d have to use my “be gentle with me, I’m a baby” pain disclaimer. Freely admitting you cannot handle pain to people about to inflict pain rarely backfires (I’ve admittedly never been a hostage or prisoner of war, so I can’t vouch for this in all circumstances). Even if your whining annoys the person, it still disarms them into being nicer, even if they have to fake it.

The technician was a seasoned professional. “Don’t worry, I’ll talk you through it.”

She marked my ears. “OK, now hold your breath and you won’t feel a thing.”

It seemed like a strange request, but I would’ve done anything she asked to avoid feeling pain. I filled my lungs with air and concentrated on holding it in until she gave the all clear. Or until my ear exploded with pain, whichever came first.

I heard a snapping noise and felt a slight pinch, but no pain. I let out all the air I’d sucked in and smiled in relief.

The technician beamed. “See, I told you, no pain.”

I just knew the breath thing had made the difference. I waited for her to tell me when to start holding my breath for the other ear, but she didn’t say anything. She kept fiddling with the gun right by my other ear.

Is she going to tell me when to hold my breath? It’s going to hurt if I don’t hold my breath. I’ll just start holding my breath now. What the hell is taking so long?

Snap!

“All done!” My Mom took a quick look at my ears and then walked over to the counter with the technician to pay.

It hadn’t hurt, but I felt strange. Mom was talking and I could tell she thought I was right behind her. I tried to catch up, but I felt warm, tingly, and dizzy.

My new earrings started to burn in my ears and the backs felt so sharp. I couldn’t help thinking about how those pointed tips had torn new holes in my ear lobes.

Mom is the only one of the two of us who knows what happened next. While paying the technician she heard a commotion across the store. Only then did Mom notice I wasn’t right behind her. I was no longer sitting in the chair either.

I hadn’t made it three steps before passing out.

———————-

This post is in response to the writing prompt at Studio 30 Plus this week:  “She held her breath.”

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done in the name of fashion?

Jan
17
2012
Title and Tagline

Under Construction: Brussels, the European Union, and Me

This post was inspired by the Write on Edge RemembeRED writing prompt:

“Imagine your life, or a part of your life, as a title and tagline. That’s it. Give us the title, and give us the tagline.”

You know I can’t leave it at that. This prompt and my oldest nephew’s recent arrival in France has me thinking of my own study abroad experience in 1994. I have a whole separate post brewing about this. Here I’ll just say the whole city felt as if it were under construction. The fountain in the picture above did not exist when I arrived. I walked by a mess of cranes building something day after day. During the last two weeks of my stay, the cranes were replaced by a small park complete with trees, benches, and that fountain, ironically (defiantly?) crane-like.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Oct
10
2011
The A.D. (After Dave) Years

Dave and I got married 12 years ago today. We kept it simple and got married as close to our dating anniversary as possible. So on Wednesday, we will have been together 19 years.

Nineteen years sounds like a long time to me. It’s exactly half my life. And it’s gone by at an alarming speed.

In addition to random chance, there were three possible ways I could have met Dave. I guess there was no escaping him.

I told him I loved him the first time we met. He lived with some friends of mine his senior year and I met him at a party. I felt giddy and decided to flirt by telling all the guys I loved them. I told everyone I loved them and I’d never said that to another man before. I inserted each person’s name so I wasn’t lying. I’ve always been big on the truth. Obnoxious, sure. Liar, no.

Thank god my friend Dave had a nickname everyone used, so when I met the Dave I was able to truthfully say, “I love you, Dave, and I’ve never said that to another man before.” That got his attention.

So we’ve just established that I loved him right away (see this post for the plethora of reasons I love him) and luckily he was smitten with me too. We only had about seven months to build something before we’d live in different cities for six years. Those six long-distance years were the only ones that felt like they passed slowly to me.

Somehow our relationship lasted even as the long-distance relationships of all my friends did not. I’m still not sure I know why.

We like each other. Maybe it’s just as simple as that.

I often find it hard to think of things to say to people, depending on my mood, even close friends and family. It’s funny, I can go out with friends and not say very much, but I always come home to Dave and chatter without taking a breath for 20 minutes. He is my home.

I can pinpoint the first moment I thought Dave was the one for me. We’d only been dating for about a month and he took me in his arms for a goodbye hug after a date. We could not extract ourselves and we stood with our arms wrapped around each other for a really long time. I felt such warmth and peace and comfort and love. I felt I could have stayed that way forever. I still do.

Now that I’ve learned how to create a video from pictures (see Chuck’s birthday video and Dave’s birthday video), I had to make an anniversary video too. Don’t worry, I’m running out of occasions/unused pictures.

Aug
30
2011
Don’t Be The Tiger

This week’s memoir assignment at Write on Edge was to write about a memory of yourself with someone else, as other people help shape who we are through their words to us, their actions, or their lack of action.

I wrote this to stand on its own, but it’s also a continuation of a previous memoir piece (the first RemembeRED prompt I ever responded to), which can be found here. I decided to write more of this story even though U2’s “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” tells it better.

——————————————————————–

My boyfriend, if you could call him that, sat on my bed. When we weren’t “doing shit,” as my friend from across the hall so colorfully called making out, it was painfully obvious this relationship of convenience was neither a relationship nor convenient.

I willed him to kiss me so I wouldn’t have to think about it, but he started talking instead.

“I don’t understand why you hang out with me,” he began tentatively.

Huh, that’s not a question… I held my breath and waited.

He went on, “Say you’re hanging out with a tiger…,” he paused to see if I was following.

“Uh, yeah?,” I already knew where this was going, so I nodded, urging him to get to the point.

“You say you want the tiger to stay, but it’s sort of awkward with a lot of silences.”

I gave him more silence, so he continued, “Then a cheetah comes around. You come alive. You’re friendlier and happier. You talk and smile and laugh. So why do you bother with the tiger at all?”

There wasn’t going to be any doing shit tonight.

Apart from that, it was hard to decide what annoyed me most about this conversation: how dead on he was, how stupid I felt for not breaking up with him after his girlfriend had visited weeks earlier, his hypocrisy, or his unnecessary use of metaphor.

Ironically, if I hadn’t been the most inhibited version of myself with him, I would have called him out on the last two. Are you saying you think I like Mark and Ron better than you? Are you aware of the irony here?

Instead I continued his metaphor, “No cheetah has ever been interested in me.”

I’d overcome my overpowering inhibition when with him and gave voice to my most embarrassing truth. And it didn’t seem to hurt him, or make him angry, or even make him pity me, because he simply didn’t buy it.

“I find that hard to believe. Am I just someone to be with until a good cheetah comes along?”

You really don’t get it. I don’t believe anyone else will ever be interested in me. Your attention intoxicates me.

But I had to force myself to speak again, so all I could get out was, “I don’t know, but isn’t that pretty much what I am to you?”

Only a week before, he’d said he didn’t know the real me. He expressed surprise I hadn’t told him I loved him yet. Before the big cat discussion, I think he told himself I loved him but just couldn’t say it. Or that I was holding back emotionally and if I would just let go…but now he was visibly upset whenever I smiled at, laughed with, or talked to a cheetah.

While he was surprised I didn’t love him, I didn’t see how anyone could fall in love under these conditions.

I was looking for a sign this relationship was good for anything beyond taking my mind off the cheetah. But now he wasn’t even doing that anymore. He actively reminded me of the damn cheetah.

He always insisted I wasn’t a substitute for the long-distance girlfriend who had reportedly agreed to see other people. Something about his vehemence about this and the way he wouldn’t give up working on me suggested he was auditioning me to replace her. Or just trying to get in my pants. But his motivation wasn’t important. Either way, he was right, I wasn’t my best self with him.

I don’t know what he needed, but I needed a cheetah.

Jul
15
2011
Photo Friday: Dutch Yahtzee

My family played Yahtzee a lot when I was growing up (we managed to play without any violence, seriously that link is so disturbing…couldn’t they just have said no, I don’t want to play Yahtzee? And what kind of person doesn’t enjoy a good game of Yahtzee anyway?).

I spent a summer during high school living with a host family in the Netherlands. I bought Dutch Yahtzee (“Het best verkochte dobbelspel ter wereld”) while I was over there. It’s the same, only in Dutch.

I took the game to college and it was amazing how entertaining Yahtzee terms translated into Dutch could be to drunk people. One of my friends on the hall was originally from the Netherlands and she was able to translate, although it’s really not all that difficult to figure out, for example “three of a kind” is… “three of a kind.” However, “four of a kind” is “Royale with Cheese-like and translates to “Carre” (I think it means “square.”).

My friend John Boy decided “bovenste helft” (which means “top half”) sounded like something to say as a toast. So we instituted a new requirement to drunkenly shout out “Bovenste Helft!” every so often while playing. Soon playing Yahtzee was no longer a prerequisite for sharing a little good will with a boisterous greeting of “Bovenste Helft!” Our Dutch friend thought we were nuts walking around yelling out “top half” for no reason.

Jun
28
2011
French In Action

Ah, the sounds of France. The sea crashing onto the beaches at Normandy mixed with the respectful hushed voices at the World War II cemetery, the rapid fire native French speakers I strained to understand, the clank of the manual metal elevator doors in the charming small hotels, and the beat of the techno music at the discotheque our teacher allowed us to go to one evening.

However, of all the sounds I heard during my junior year trip to France, none is more vivid in my memory than slurping. The good old-fashioned slurping of an American girl reunited with chocolate after a long Lenten promise. At first, I was charmed. After 40-odd days without chocolate, and the last few with the added bonus of jet lag, my friend was getting pretty fucking grumpy. So at the strike of midnight on Easter Sunday, I was happy for her as she pulled out her stash of Cadbury Creme Eggs and prepared to shut the door right on Lent’s ass.

I believe this was the same evening I’d called my Mom collect to check in. When the French operator asked for my name, I cringed as I said “Tracy,” since I knew he was going to have trouble with my super American name. But to my surprise, he excitedly said “like Tracy Shapman?” (French-ifying the hard “Ch” sound of the semi-popular singer of the time’s last name). I toyed with the idea of breaking out into “Fast Car,” but just said “Yes, like Tracy Shapman,” and that seemed to satisfy him.

Do you know how long it takes to finish a Cadbury Creme Egg if consumed by sucking out all the fondant through a tiny hole in the tip? A long time. The sound attacked a nerve in my brain. Oh my God, the slurping. She was like a crazed junkie getting a fix. But because we were celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ the next morning (at Notre Dame, no less!), I decided to let my friend live.

Good thing too, otherwise I would have been in a French jail instead of at the discotheque in my super hot periwinkle skort outfit with mock turtleneck and white tights. Amazingly, a French guy asked me to dance that night in spite of my outfit. For some reason, I’m more popular in France. I believe I’m three for three on dance requests at French discos/dances. Let’s just say the figure here in the U.S. is…lower. My friend titled this photo “Tracy at the piano bar.” It looks like I’m ready to begin my lounge singing career. Thank you!

My friend and I went back to France two years later, accompanying our high school French teacher and his students on their next trip. Being graduates, but not yet 21, the trip was a weird mix of independence and stifling. On that trip, we hung out with the chaperones just as much as with the students. We sang while walking back to our hotel in Nimes late one evening and I did Paul’s harmony on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and felt free (mostly of this). On this trip, it was hard to maintain the respectful silence required at the World War II memorial because my friend and I spied the ridiculous sign below. How the French expect school groups (and ahem, mature college students) to avoid giggling over wild boar warnings is beyond me. Especially when my friend posed on all fours and acted like a wild boar (the photographic evidence of which I’m kindly not publishing here).

This is in response to this week’s memoir prompt at the Red Dress Club. The prompt was to write about a memorable school trip. Word limit is 600.

Feb
28
2011
A Room Of My Own

I realize this is my second memoir style post in a week. Bear with me…I’m trying a writing exercise, as I have realized since starting this blog that my writing could use some work.

**************************

For my first taste of freedom, the amount of space I’m given is a little confining. A tall person could stretch their arms out and touch a wall on both sides of the room. But all 100 square feet is mine. The best of both worlds, a single in a suite. I’m a very lucky freshman.

I complain grumpily that my hall mates only stop by so often to play my Nintendo and watch my TV, but deep down I know that isn’t true. And I love that my room is often filled with people. With a single, all I need to do for privacy is shut the door, but the room feels so much smaller with the door closed.

This closet-sized room is my haven, and there I have long and intense conversations late into the night with the boy I love. He lives just across the hall and I pine for him long after it’s reasonable to hope for anything beyond friendship.

The people on the hall become a kind of family and the arrival of someone new upsets the balance. I have noticed, of course, that new guy has transferred here and is hanging out with us a lot, but he has not made an impression on me. And now, he wants to walk me home from a party.

I only go to the damn party because I hear her voice. The boy I loved was spending more and more time with her and there was her voice, unmistakable, drifting in from the hallway. So I go to the overcrowded party and immediately regret it. New guy does not want to stay either.

“This party is over.”

He decides to leave the others behind and he takes me on a convoluted path back to my building. He believes I am drunk. I insist, accurately, that I am sober.

“I don’t think you would be talking to me so friendly if you were sober.”

I had never really spoken to him before this night and the experience is strange, unlike any other, but not bad, and we say good night in the hallway. At my room, there’s a message from a friend, who I had planned on visiting anyway. Ironically, he likes her too and we bond over the fact that our unrequited love interests seem to be requiting each other. However, new guy is still in the hallway and thwarts my attempt to cross the hall.

“Can I talk to you?”

We go to my room and he closes the door behind us, which makes me immediately uncomfortable. The room is silent and dark, with only a soft glow from the street lights outside coming in through the window. He stops me from turning on the light (“I like the dark”) and asks if he can sit next to me on my bed. I stare straight forward, focused on the darkness of my open closet, while he throws out line after line, trying to gauge my reactions.

“You can tell a lot about a person from their room.”

I’m apparently “sophisticated,” I apparently “look really nice that night,” and he apparently “never thought he would be in my room talking to me.” That makes two of us.

He eventually deems me “too smart to play games with.” He says that he’s never asked a girl if he can kiss her before. What a coincidence, I’ve never been kissed before!

Conflicting thoughts flood my mind:

I’m not really attracted to him, although he is attractive, and his confidence (he is two years older) and flattery is, well, flattering.

But he’s not the boy I love.

But the boy I love is falling in love with someone else. And I’m sick of never having been kissed. Maybe I should just say yes and get this thing done.

I look over at him, I’m taking too long to respond. I’m indecisive, yet honest.

“I don’t know.”

He takes that as a yes, and my first kiss results. I’m frozen and can’t make myself kiss him back, yet he persists for what seems like forever. I pull away. Somehow it does not end as awkwardly as it could and when he leaves I understand that the door is still open if I change my mind.

When he is gone, I lie on the floor of my room and cry a little. I’m sorry that I let him in here and I think I already know I am going to settle for him.

Feb
24
2011
My Name Is…

Dooce is running a contest to celebrate her 10th blogging anniversary and the topic is:  what is your nickname, and why?

My nickname is Satan. I think the why is rather obvious, but since almost everyone who has ever heard my nickname has been dumb enough to ask the why question, I guess you can ask too.

It’s because I am evil.

While it would be cheeky to leave it at that, there is obviously more to the story. In college, one of the first people I met on my hall was the guy who quickly let me know that I was from hell. He stopped by my suite and performed card tricks for me. The tricks really weren’t the mind-blowing feats of magic he had promised. And I told him so–repeatedly and rather obnoxiously. I teased him about it mercilessly, probably at least partially because I was trying to maintain some level of cool in the face of such adorableness. Strangely, even after so many years I still hesitate to share the fact of this unrequited love as if it’s a secret that was or is worth guarding. But that’s silly, because although I told no one of these feelings at the time, I’m sure there was no one who didn’t know, including the other guy I ended up dating the next semester. Awkward!

Apparently nickname-giver couldn’t accept the lack of impression his card tricks made on me, because “everyone had always been amazed by them in the past.” So he told me I was from hell, which eventually led to being called Satan. My entire freshman year (and occasionally beyond) the people I knew from the hall would introduce me to others as Satan. It was both a blessing (ha!) and a curse (ha-ha!). While it got a little old to have everyone think of me as evil (although I think they were kidding!), the nickname was quite the conversation starter. Don’t underestimate the power of a good conversation starter.

Somehow this all morphed into the pseudo-biblical EZ Cheese saga. My lovable hallmates (I believe I called them bastards at the time, see entry #6) decided it would be fun to spray EZ Cheese all over my door and while I thought it was funny I went batshit crazy on them and demanded that they clean it up. Shortly after, the EZ Cheese was replaced with this:

Some of the entries were more clever than others. I particularly liked #2 and #6, which is actually related to the original EZ Cheese incident.

Quite frankly the one that ended up making me laugh the hardest was the following entry, provided by the born again Christian who lived at the end of the hall. Her real concern for me given  the blasphemy of having fake bible passages on my door cracked my shit up. I don’t know God personally, but I can’t imagine he would concern himself with this kind of thing, but her concern was really rather sweet. The other authors wanted to take it down, but I insisted that it remain. The completely earnest addition of the authentic bible passage made the whole thing so much more amusing.

I cannot tell you how many times I heard “Enjoy these days, they will be the best of your life,” before I went off to college. I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes and said, “yeah whatever” in response. I didn’t really understand then, but do now. While life is pretty great right now, there’s something about that first taste of freedom, coupled with a glorious lack of responsibility, that can never be duplicated.

Finally, there’s the Will It Blend EZ Cheese episode, which I can’t resist sharing.