Friday, July 23, 2010

Alter Ego

I had one too many Mango Tangos and the outdoor patio was beginning to look like a blur. And when life is a blur, I am an excellent dancer.

He came up to join me in a dance and I barely even noticed that he was a bit shorter than me.
"Hey. what's your name?" was his opener.

I laughed. The music was far too loud to tell him my real name without him having to resort to asking me, "How do you spell that?"

So I told him my alter ego's name. Oh yes, I have an alter ego and her name is Jess.

You see, when a gal has a unique name and when a boy approaches that gal with the intentions to hit on her, she can't possibly reveal her real name to him. No, no. That's just an invitation for further conversation, possibly involving that gal having to explain how she was born and grew up in a foreign country. Or simply how her parents wanted to be different and named their daughter after a city they had their first date in.

When I have no interest in a guy but do not want to appear rude, instead of telling him to piss off, I turn to my self-centered, femme fatale alter ego Jess. Jess's name is common and pretty and it does not instigate any farther follow up questions. Just the way I want to keep it.

My alter ego will laugh briskly at the guy she's not interested in, only giving him a few seconds to size him up and down. If she doesn't like what she sees, she will turn away, far too engrossed in a conversation or a dance with someone else.

Some of my friends will spend their time talking and nodding and smiling at a guy, just because he had the balls to come up to them and ask them how they are doing. Which, I admit, is an admirable and brave gesture. But trying to be polite at a bar might as well be an equivalent of slipping a guy your hotel room key. Politeness can be so often mistaken for interest, and honesty is often misinterpreted as rudeness.

My alter ego may never be polite but she is also never stuck dancing with 35-year olds smelling of whiskey and desperation.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The New Me

The new me is much like the old me, really, with a couple of minor post-grad adjustments, such as my recent move back to the city of cheesesteaks and guidos (Philly is now even more guided-up since the explosive nation-wide popularity of Jersey Shore).

The new me will do shit for free while living (temporarily?) with her parents working a part-time job in the fashion industry (plus-size fashion industry, of all places). The new me is open to taking the path less traveled after becoming a Master in Architecture. Forget being an "Architectural Intern", bring on a "Visual Merchandising Designer Assistant."

The new me recently became a blogger for ARTSHARKS which is a site that brings art and art objects to every day life and tries to get non-art enthusiasts excited about it. Predictably enough, though, the site is operated, updated and visited pretty much solely by art enthusiasts and art aficionados. But this could be fun.

The new me is also doing a free speaking engagement this fall at a Mississippian university, which seems to be kind of a big deal. My proposal for a presentation got approved last night by the peeps that are running the show and the rest, as they say, is history. Speaking in front of, what I hope to be, hundreds of people? Sure, no problem. Never mind that I have a fear of speaking in public. Come see me be a nervous wreck on stage, while operating a clicker to change Powerpoint slides. Though it is, after all, kind of a big deal so maybe being a nervous wreck for an hour is worth the exposure.

The new me is, more than ever, about living in the moment. The new me willingly volunteered to drive from Philadelphia to St Louis (with a stop in Cincinnati to tend to my apartment that I am still technically the tenant of until the end of July) to see Mr J. Today, he is flying back from Europe into the lovely city, most notably known for its giant steel arch and possibly late-nineties rapper Nelly, and I will be driving in just a few measly hours to see him and, let's be honest, to get some for the first time in three months.

The new me is also ready to not let the rose-colored glasses get in the way of seeing the world the way it is. Just two days ago, I went on a date with a guy whom I met last Saturday at a Philly bar. Ya know, gotta keep my options open, in case this 12-hour relationship with Mr J doesn't work out.

Was my date cute? He was pretty darn gorgeous. Was there a connection? Sparks flew left and right. Was I blown away enough to forget about Mr J? Absolutely not.

But is it really so wrong to keep my options open? The new me certainly doesn't think so.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Southern Salvation

The waiter, a quite remarkable Wayne Brady look-alike, smiled at me as he brought me my second glass of wine and nodded at my empty plate, as if to confirm that I was done picking at the bits of garlic fries stuck to the plate's bottom.
"Will you be having any dessert, ma'am?" he asked.

"Oh no," I involuntarily rubbed my belly in a gesture of complete and utter fullfillment, "No, I really don't believe I have any room left for dessert."

"Very well, the wine is the dessert then."

I took a sip of my Chardonnay - it cost me a pretty penny but was well worth it. Without being a wine connoisseur, I could tell from the first moment the alcohol touched my lips that it wasn't just another measly $12 dollar bottle of white wine I had grown so accustomed to. This was the kind of wine they invented the word "palette" for - all of my senses were alive and present for the tasting. Taking another sip (more of a gulp really), I looked outside at the passerbys on the street.

I heard a medley of Southern accents, I saw a variety of cowboy hats of all sizes and colors, I heard banjos being played by the street musicians - melodies mixing with the sounds of Ray Charles coming from the jukebox of the restaurant I chose for dinner. I felt the urge to capture every moment, feeling immense happiness for having experienced the joy of this Friday in Nashville and the sadness knowing that I would never be able to share this precise moment with anyone else. This experience is solely mine for the taking.

These are the moments, when I am away from everyone I know, exploring a new city - these are the moments that I wish I could share with a lover. These are the moments that find me the most vulnerable but also the most stripped away from all pretenses, with my guard taken down and with an almost child-like thirst for adventure. This is the side of me that doesn't come out to play too often but it is the part of me I would love to share with a significant other... when the time is right.

It is cities like Nashville, cities that are full of heart and soul and history, that I visit from time to time that make my heart skip and beat and make me believe that I can really trade the comforting anonymity of a big city for a welcoming embrace of a Southern music town. It is cities like Nashville that make me want to trade in my power suit and Marc Jacobs shades for a simple sundress and a pair of cowgirl boots.

It is cities like Nashville that convince me, again and again, that as long as I live I will never settle for something that doesn't make me happy. Even if not settling means searching for happiness for the rest of my life, I would rather die trying than give up and become complacent with the mediocrity of the every day.

Just let me pause for a second and finish this glass of wine. Then, I am back on the road again until I can walk no more.