06th Jun2007

The Biggest Loser & How Do I Look?: The Wedding Edition

by Will

“Sometimes, I think you want me to touch you…”

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I love those TBS commercials where people can call in to a call center to find out if a particular situation is funny or not. I really wish that existed, because sometime you’re just not sure whether or not you should be laughing at something.

So, I’ve been wrapped up in Style’s “21 Day Wedding Party” (thanks a *lot* for that, Style Network). I used to think that picking up The Biggest Loser reruns was the worst idea that the network had, but I see that they had bigger mistakes up their sleeves. My problem with Style is that they run a show into the ground.

A month ago, you couldn’t turn on that channel without seeing Niecy trying to get somebody to sell their grandmother’s wedding dress. Then, they got on this Biggest Loser kick and wouldn’t stop showing it. I swear, I watched those same motherfuckers lose weight about 5 different times. I know that they were playing different seasons, yet I kept seeing Season 2 . Since it was before Matt & Suzy started dating, it was grating watching it, just knowing where it was headed. Plus, I have to say that Suzy hit a point, just before going back home, where she actually looked her best. Skinny Suzy doesn’t look good. “Thick Suzy” was just right. But that’s coming from a Black man. What do we know about “society’s standard of beauty”?

Anyway, now I’m watching the 21 Day Wedding Party, and certain things just keep jumping out at me, particularly the How Do I Look? and Biggest Loser portion. First off, How Do I Look? They chose a soon-to-be-bride, who needed a makeover to make her more “wifely”. Apparently, she’d been really sick, so the makeover was under the guise that she was being rewarded for all that she’d been through. Even so, it doesn’t seem like she’d ever been a fashion maven, so to give her a makeover was almost deceptive. Don’t use the sick chick as a fixer-upper! Especially seeing as how nobody ever seems to leave that show happy. Sure, they tolerate the experience, and they acknowledge that they look better at the end, but they’re still hurt that it had to come to the point where their mom, best friend, and some random stylist had to pretty them up with the help of Skeletor.

Now, on to The Biggest Loser, which was focusing on engaged couples. I think this is a terrible idea. First of all, it was pretty intense to see that one of the brides-to-be far outweighed her betrothed. That’s gotta hurt! But I don’t think the couples were comparable. Sure, they were all in the same general weight class, but the same plan isn’t going to work for everyone. While The Biggest Loser model acknowledges this, it’s built on individual success. Sure, there’s the part of the season where they’re paired up, and this is the same case. Tom might be chugging along, shedding those pounds, but Mindy just ain’t making any headway. It’s especially stressing when the prize is your dream wedding. If they lose weight, great. But I think they’re setting themselves up for disaster. If they met fat, stay fat, but a “healthy fat”. Because you have 3 options: 1) you both stay slim and healthy 2) one of you stays healthy and you both resent each other or 3) one of you stays slim, but is then dragged back down by the fat one. I don’t like those odds. Man, I’m starting to sound like Marcus here…

I’m curious to see how they plan to squeeze 21 days out of this whole thing. This morning, I woke up to an episode of The Modern Girls Guide to Style that was about 2 yrs old. They’re really going to be scraping the vault for this. The bulk of it is going to be Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? And let me just say, I have seen some loveless marriages on that show! The other day, there was this old, Black restauranteur who was marrying this Spanish girl half his age. Now, this kind of shit probably happens everyday, but this chick didn’t even speak English! They had to get a Spanish minister (in addition to the primary minister) just so she’d understand his vows. The wedding came in at about $70,000 and he didn’t bat an eye, but in conversation, this dude was *country*! I wish they’d do a follow-up special because I’m convinced it was a green-card, mail-order sex scam.

I hope they do go back into the vault, though, because I’d love to see the episodes of Whose Wedding… that take place in the storefront church in Texas. Those episodes are the biggest departure for the show, as they focused more on rednecks and shotgun weddings, but I liked them because they made the experience more inclusive. Nowadays, it’s all destination weddings and yuppies (how the fuck does a 27 yr old afford a destination wedding in Ireland? Someone explain that to me!). I love to see the trials and tribulations of a White girl getting married to her Mexican boyfriend, with his gang in the pews, weeks before their baby is due. That scenario actually occurred in the Texas episodes.

Speaking of weddings, why is it that everyone around me is getting married, yet I ain’t getting invited to any weddings? Sure, you guys eloped. And I lost touch with you for a few years. But I still feel it’s telling. Oh well, that’s the last stop for the Pity Bus…

04th Jun2007

Ant & Dec, The Last Kiss, and Will & JJ’s Adventures In Cumberland

by Will

“I like havin’ my toes sucked and my ass licked out. At the same time. Wait a minute…”

Yeah, I’m going to break the fourth wall and acknowledge where that quote came from. Yeah, I actually heard that in conversation. I think I had the most amoral weekend ever, but I don’t wanna write about that yet.

First off, a post update. If you read my Love, Actually post, you’ll remember I ended it saying, “ I really wish someone would find a project for Ant & Dec in America…” Well, imagine my happy surprise when I read this on Tvguide.com today:

ABC has ordered six episodes of Wanna Bet?, a game show in which contestants wager on whether they can perform stunts. U.K. personalities Ant and Dec will host….

I think ABC owes me a finders fee!

Ok, have you ever watched a movie or read a book and related to every character? Last night, I watched The Last Kiss, and I so did/did not need to watch that right now. First of all, Zach Braff as a sometimes asshole is a bit much to take, yet works as a concept. But out of him and his entire group of friends, I couldn’t figure out which one I felt most like at that given time. The same way that Garden State made you go, “Man, this quarter-life phase sucks!”, The Last Kiss makes you think, “Man, this marriage phase sounds like it sucks!” It seems like it’s not even a matter of things wrong in a relationship; sometimes it can just be the lack of surprise left in the relationship…

So, the weekend. Some backstory. My friend, JJ, used to go to school in Allegheny County. For those Marylanders in the house, your pity is welcome. For y’all not from these here parts, Allegheny is as country as you can get. It’s up in the mountains, away from civilization, where gas stations close at 8. Anyway, he was going through this “I’m going to find myself” phase about a year back, and decided to go take classes up there (even though he already has some sort of degree/certificate thing to his name!).

While he was up there, he didn’t get much done, academically. Instead, he was the life of the party. I guess it also helped that he was about 8 yrs older than everybody, but they all wanted to hang out with JJ. In fact, they called him “Diddy” ’cause he always got the party started (and he was “city-fied”). He also had his share of ladies, one of whom was *crazy* (about him and in general). The stories I’ve heard about that coupling would make the best video you’ve ever seen!

After about a semester, JJ realized that he was kind of over that region and he came back here. Even so, he would make trips up to see this girl because their escapades were legendary. There’s a catch, though. You see, the girl wasn’t exactly herself. She was doing the college thing, and abused some substances here and there. Those party favors played a big part in why JJ was the Ron Jeremy of Cumberland, as far as she was concerned.

So, over the weekend, JJ decided he wanted to make that trip. I had absolutely nothing to do, and I like hick areas, so I tagged along. He gave the chick a call, but her phone had been turned off (and she’s White, too! Everybody laugh). He had left her myspace messages that he was coming to town, but no response. So, he decided to be straight up gangsta, and just knock on her door.

Well, that’s what we did. The lights were out in the hallway of the apartment building, so we were just some Negroes in the dark. Her roommate opened the door, and was scared shitless, seeing as how they’re not used to door-to-door thug service. JJ told her he was here for the other chick, who then came to the door.

She was really happy to see him, and just jumped right on him. JJ’s smile screamed, “Yes, I’m still in!” But that was not the case. You see, there were 2 other people in the room, and a screaming baby. But wait, there’s more. The chick tells JJ that these are her friends from rehab. No, no, no!

Yup, it seems that the chick had been trying to get clean ever since JJ skipped town and broke her heart. Now, her nights were filled with Jolt energy drink and games of spades. Immediately, JJ began the investigation to see if there were traces of the old chick in there. They’d do their reminiscing thing, but everything she said was *really* past tense. Like, “Remember how crazy we used to be?” or “Man, I was so in love with you, JJ.” I think the clincher was when she said, “Man, we had some really good sex, didn’t we?” and he jumped right on that with, “Had?” You see, she needs companionship now, and not just some dude who passes through town every few weeks. Turns out there’s a dude in her group she’s been dating (which is odd seeing as how you’re not supposed to date for the first year of recovery, but maybe things are different in the moutains).

Now, here’s where shit gets shady. JJ realizes he really needs to start pushing those buttons if he’s to get what he wants, but is it worth knocking a chick off the wagon? Well, it certainly seemed that way. As the group continued discussing details of the day’s earlier meeting, JJ kept getting more restless. He just couldn’t wrap his head around a totally sober lifestyle. They were really trying hard, and the chick showed him her 4 months worth of keychains she’d gotten for sobriety, but he would counter telling her how much he wanted a 40. I wanted to reach over across the table and punch him out. You don’t fucking do that. You don’t tell a pedophile that you really wanna go to Chuck E Cheese’s! Shit’s hard enough as it is. Don’t dangle temptation.

Then again, I guess I can see why JJ was confused. You see, even though she tried to act like that stuff was in the past, she and her friends were freaks! Somehow, they started talking about how much they enjoyed getting their asses licked out. I was thoroughly disgusted, as were the other guys in the room. The women, however, were all about the analingus. Even Sarah, the quiet chick who came in somewhat aloof, really came alive when she reentered the room to that discussion. They were like, “Sarah, don’t you like gettin’ your ass licked?” She responded, “Oh yeah, girl! I like havin’ my toes sucked and my ass licked.” Wow, quiet girl came out of her shell! And apparently, she likes to have said shell licked.

Then, they proceeded to explain the freaky rituals of the house. All of the group members have to sign the “autograph wall”, but they have to sign with their nickname. Sarah’s was “Rubber Crack”; I won’t really go into the story, but let’s just say this chick is all about butts. If there are yellow stars around the autograph, it means you’ve had sex in the house. Are all rehab groups like this?!

Anyway, I saw that the night wasn’t going the direction that JJ wanted, but I had to wait until he came to this realization. After all, he drove. I think the nail was in the coffin when the chick asked him, “JJ, do you think I’m as fun sober as I was back in the day?” His response? “Haha, yeah…I’m not gonna answer that.” Give the chick the acceptance she was looking for, dude! On the one hand, I’m glad he was honest, since it meant he wasn’t willing to lie to get ass. On the other hand, it’s still a dick response. That’s one of those gray areas…

A little after that, we said our goodbyes and went back out into the mountain night. Although he didn’t “succeed”, it was still a very awkward and sketchy experience. A few more like that, and this site might actually be readable again…

14th Feb2007

Women…

by Will

“Well, things like this make me sick, but in a case like this I’ll get away with it…”

So, where were we? Oh yes, Amani. Well, I meant to continue this about 2 weeks ago, but such is life. It’s a shame that this post has to come on Valentine’s Day because it’s going to make me come off as bitter. In any case, today’s topic is about wasted love. Rather, wasted energy for “love”.

You see, I look back on the things I regret, and one thing is the amount of energy I’ve wasted on relationships. Now, I know there are some of you out there who will say, “Well, it wasn’t wasted; it was a growing experience.” I don’t regret the relationships, but rather the amount of energy I put into them.

Here’s a little backstory. I’ve been with Shelly for nearly 2.5 years. That, by FAR, is my longest relationship. Everything in the past is a speck compared to that. Let’s see, Amani was about 6 months (in relation to 4 years of stalking; not the best ratio). Jennine was about 9 months, and Miranda clocked in around that time, as well. Now, when I think of all of the things that I stressed about in those relationships, it all seems so trivial. It’s kind of how everything in high school was some sort of life-changing, end of the world decision, when in hindsight, it was all just stupid.

Now, I’ve always been an invested boyfriend, but I’m also neurotic, which makes me UBER invested boyfriend. And that makes me worry about stuff I shouldn’t worry about. This leads me to not live in the moment, but in an unpredictable future. As always, I’m the guy who doesn’t enjoy the party until it’s almost over. I never seem to take Eric’s advice of, “Calm down, and enjoy the fucking dip”.

Amani and I finally got together around April of senior year (talk about cutting it close). And this was my first “relationship”, where there were actual dates and talk of the future. Well, anyone who’s seen American Pie can figure out how that ended up (Not “Jeem”; I’m talking about Tara and that kid from Rookie of the Year). I was so worried about what would happen when she went Stanford, while I’d be 3,000 miles away at Cornell. Sure, a lot of couples go through this, but I took it even further. We weren’t just going to college here; we were building a life, people! She had her fast-track plan to go to med school, and her residency, and blah, blah, blah. You see, I should have just settled on, “Are you going to forget about me in college? But, NO! I had to jump ahead to, “Where am I going to fit into your life while you’re in med school?”After mere weeks, I was seriously stressing about 8 years in the future! It sort of hurt more when she would say, “Well, you don’t seem to have a plan, so I can’t exactly plan around you.” She was right, but this didn’t exactly motivate me “properly”. It just made me stress over not having a plan. And you know, I didn’t care too much about that was I was NOT in a relationship, but here I was fabricating an on-the-fly lifeplan for “the love of my life” after our whirlwind 4 years of stalking and 8 weeks of dating. That, my friends, is what you call wasted energy.

Next up was Jennine. Now, she kind of fell from the sky. A lot of people don’t know this story, so allow me to elaborate. I had noticed her off and on at Cornell events because I was in a cappella, and she was in the Skits-o-phrenics, our sketch comedy group. Well, right after 9/11 we had this benefit where all of the groups performed. During rehearsal, I noticed her staring at me, but instead of getting a clue, I thought to myself, “Why is that bitch staring at me so much?”Ladies and gentlemen, William West. Yup, after the Amani thing (keep in mind, this is junior year and I was still kind of smarting from the demise of the actual Amani relationship…from 2 years prior! Wasted energy, my friends), I had pretty much given up the idea of anyone wanting to be with me, and I certainly didn’t feel like stalking down another girl.

Well, after the intervention of members of both groups, I found out that she thought I was cute. Well, what do you know. She was attractive, but I totally read her wrong. I thought she was this loud, Jersey chick with, like, 8 brothers who all wore gold chains and track suits. Instead, she turned out to be a somewhat vulnerable, brilliant girl from Miami. When I say “somewhat vulnerable”, I mean that she was not nearly as abrasive as she came off. She was “on” when onstage, but she was kind of a nerd offstage. A cool nerd, but a nerd nonetheless.

Our globetrotting courtship took us to West Campus, Wegman’s, and eventually Rome (how’s that for a jump?). But I was always insecure. She’s too smart for me. Her parents hate me ’cause I’m not Cuban. She lives with her ex-boyfriend. Now, while some of this may have been justified, it was a case of worrying about the future. Again. We’d been together about 9 months, but here I was worried about: where we would live after graduation, would I have to move to Miami, was she going to grad school, was she going to law school, would she find out that we had applied to the same secret society but I hadn’t told her because I feared she’d think it wasn’t too special if they’d invited me, what would I do during the day while she was in school, would I have to convert to seventh-day adventist. All of this shit. Now, when you’re in a relationship, you might think of these things, but not obsess over them. Especially just after the 6 month mark. That relationship didn’t make it to senior year, so all of that woe and worry was for naught.

Then, we had Miranda, the Southern belle of Chi Omega. Now, if you’re from the South, you might be thinking, “Oooh…Chi Omega!” But if you’re from Cornell, you’re thinking “Eeewww..Chi Omega!” Yup, this was the redheaded stepchild chapter of the entire sorority. In fact, I do believe there were a couple of redheaded stepchildren. And loud Jewish girls.

In any case, this was another “relationship from nowhere”, but eventually, I found that I was falling back into my old ways. She wanted to go into Public Relations, but I didn’t want to move to NYC. I was a year ahead of her (yet a day younger; go figure!), so what was I supposed to do while waiting for her? Luckily, she hated home and seemingly most of her family, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them fucking up my shit. She could be such a drama queen at times, where I could be her anchor. There’s nothing an insecure person needs more than security. If she fell to pieces, and I was the one to pick them back up, I was solid. Yes, I know that sounds twisted, but this is full disclosure here. It’s taken me 4 years, but I think I finally understand the dynamics of that relationship.

You see, in my history, I have made these girls my world. You ever hear a cheesy song where the guy says, “I’m gonna make you my world?” Yeah, that’s me. So, everything else kind of goes to shit and I focus on that relationship, which is good and bad. Good because one should be attentive in a relationship. Bad, because one should not go to the point of obsession. One should NOT always be waiting for the other shoe to drop. In all h0nesty, I tie it back to Amani. Stupid, I know, but that was the one that started us on this ride. It has taken me this long to realize that “comfortable” is not a bad thing.

Seeing as how I could become obsessive, I was a wreck when I graduated and came home. Once again, I felt that I had come ahead and it was my responsibility to get a job and start a life for me and Miranda that would be waiting when she graduated. Once again, it was all about “us”. Now, this was complicated by the fact that she could be a drama queen (did I mention that?) combined with the fact that this added pressure was driving me insane. Literally. This hurt when she once said, “You know, you should talk to a professional about this; they’re paid to listen.” That shifty bitch. Here I was, preparing to give her the world after our 9 months of courtship! Hell, it wasn’t longer than an extended warranty, but here I was investing my emotions, time, energy, etc into this relationship. Well, that one didn’t last long enough for her to graduate, so once again, wasted energy.

Once again, allow me to clarify. I’m not bitter. That would imply that I’m not happy where I am, relationship-wise, which I am. I merely look back because I think I could be *better* in relationships. At the same time, it might simply be the law of diminishing returns. I tried to put so much into those past relationships that I eventually got less than I was putting in. It’s merely the “prinicple of least interest”. Jeff has heard this a LOT from me, but that principle merely states that the person with the least interest in a relationship holds the most power. I was giving up power by investing so much, so early. Even if you don’t subscribe to that theory, after all that you’ve read, it’s pretty obvious that a) those girls weren’t right for me and b) I could’ve fared a lot better if I hadn’t taken everything so hard and so personal. It’s not just that I was giving up power, but I was giving up a part of myself. Just like the Amani situation, where I subjected myself to the self-deprecation of looking like a loser douchebag because this girl didn’t like me, I feel like I gave too much of myself in these relationships without equal return. I gave parts of myself that were neither reciprocated, nor would I get them back. I lost of lot of myself in those dealings, and had I been a stronger person, I might be a stronger person now.

What can I say? I’m a sensitive person. Looking back, I wasted a lot of energy and a lot of stress. Sure, there were good times, but when I look back, I see those times buried amongst times shrouded in stress and self-doubt. Now, I’m trying a different approach. You see, when I first started seeing Shelly, I fell into the same sort of stuff after awhile. I was looking at an old IM message this morning, and I was reminded of that person. “Always gotta be funny, always gotta be sarcastic ’cause that’s my charm”. But it’s NOT my charm. It’s a show, and when the show is over, people will either want more or they will want none. I always used to worry about the show ending, but those relationships didn’t last long enough for that to be a real concern.

With Shelly, my “show” got old awhile ago, but I saw that she wasn’t going anywhere. This relationship has lasted longer than all of the priors put together, and I’ve burned through most of that self-doubt and whatnot. I think I’ve learned that, for the relationships that matter, you really can’t worry about the little stuff. For the three I listed above, they simply weren’t where I thought they were nor were they going where I thought they should. I’m there now, and Lord knows I’ve subconsciously tried to sabotage this thing any way that I could. And she’s still here. And I still love her. So, I’m going to try to stop being all neurotic about bullshit. Especially “young bullshit”. She is the real deal, and there’s no need for all of the stuff that came before to be projected on her. I just wish I’d saved all of that wasted energy for her.

So now, I guess it’s time for my Ridgemont High-style “where are they now?” credits roll…
I don’t want to be too cruel, so let’s go for halfassed match game:

A) After roaming the world, decided that there was so much life that she hadn’t experienced. Apparently, I was holding her back. Aye Caramba! She went on to marry to her exboyfriend, who turned out to be the true love of her life.

B) Realized that college was such a new and confusing place, and she didn’t need anyone far away getting in the way of her fun…which was leading Chinese Bible Study. Actually decided to pursue law, and currently works in the area for some kind of NFP. Aman…I mean, Amen.

C) Got drunk & high on New Years and ended up fucking her best friend’s boyfriend. Next to her passed out best friend. Her cheatin’ heart… Let’s hope she at least repaired THAT friendship. I’ve yet to see a press release…

30th Jan2007

There Once Was A Girl Named Amani…

by Will

“What religion or reason could drive a man to forsake his lover?”

Now, where were we? Yes, regrets. I wish I could be that cavalier person who proclaims, “I regret nothing!” Unfortunately, that’s simply not who I am. I am filled with regrets. Petty regrets, even. Regardless, a lot of these regrets shaped my life, and I’m curious to know “what might have been?” Most of these changed me as a person, but I wouldn’t say that it was for the better. Whenever I think to myself, “I’d like to be a better person”, there are several glaring instances that remind me of how I got to where I am. Well, what’s Regret #1? I regret that my high school persona was that of “the guy who’s madly in love with the girl who doesn’t want him”. Allow me to explain.

Around the time of middle school, I changed schools a lot. Either the public school system was dangerous, or the Catholic school was full of hardass nuns. Now, I had always been a friendly kid and I hadn’t really had trouble making friends. I had gone to the same school from K-6, so it was weird leaving my little family that I’d established over that 7 year period. Kind of like “Saved by the Bell: The College Years”, I took a few of them with me to middle school. That is, until I left after 6 weeks because of…let’s say “irreconcileable differences”. Anyway, I went to public school for a year, and still befriended the cool kids ’cause I was like their own personal nerd. That smart kid they had around “just in case”. I schooled them on how to sneak out of their homes for dates and how to change their report cards. Sometimes, I’d even let ’em cheat off of me. Whatever it took to survive and be friended. In any case, I finally landed at Newport for 8th grade. All of a sudden, I didn’t know ANYBODY. And I was pretty desperate to make friends.

All my life, I had just been friendly and people came to me, but this was different. There was a meanness to some of these kids. It was a different environment, and I don’t know if it was the money or the upbringing. Don’t get me wrong; I’d grown up in private school, but there’s something about kids who go to a $10K school that sort of set them apart from the rest. All of a sudden, there were family ski trips, weekend resort trips, etc. I felt like Lainey Boggs, ’cause I certainly couldn’t afford to do all of that stuff. In any case, Mommy wanted me to fit in and sent me to what she could afford, but I just couldn’t seem to make friends. There’d be days I’d come home from school and just cry. Yeah, it sucks, but I was really lonely. And the one day that I thought this was all going to change was a day that I’ll never forget.

One afternoon, I had study hall and found myself with nothing to do. Somehow, I began a conversation with Matt and Leroy. Let me tell you a little about these two bastards. I didn’t know it then, but those two guys were real sons of bitches. Matt was sort of the black-heartthrob-with-a-chip-on-his-shoulder, while Leroy was your stereotypical henchman/sidekick. Leroy’s utter uselessness later became quite evident when he got expelled, on the last day of school, for punching Barney Rubble at Kings Dominion, but that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, I guess they decided to “have fun with the new guy”, but I didn’t realize it at the time. They were really friendly, inviting me to stuff and whatnot. Stuff that, in hindsight, you KNOW is lip service, but back then, it was the Holy Grail. The biggest thing they did, though, was plant a seed. You see, they told me that this girl, Amani, had a crush on me. Now, kids at this age have crushes all the time, but I’ve never really related to my cohorts. While most people would kind of care for a week and walk away, I somehow saw this as an answer to my prayers: Here I was, worried about not making friends, while here was a girl who actually liked me as MORE than a friend.

Now, let’s factor in a few things. I had never really had a conversation with this girl. Mere shit-shooting here and there. Didn’t know much about her. But if there’s anything I wanted more than a friend, it was a girlfriend. My desire to be coupled has always been greater than that of a Jewish chick approaching 30. If you’ve read my site at all, I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not exactly psychologically stable, and this is the incident where I first became aware of that.

I don’t know if Matt & Leroy saw the glint in my eye, or the rush of life come over my face, but I think they new they had succeeded at that point. All of a sudden, these 20-minute-ago-strangers were my new best friends. “Oh, you should ask her out,” they said. “Y’all would make a cute couple,” they said. I was a sponge, soaking it up, ’cause now I had friends AND a girlfriend. I was king of the world. I guess I should have been wary of their grins and whispers to each other, but I was too happy.

Now, I’m gonna spare you the details, because 12 years later, it’s quite hard to remember them all. I can tell you there was an awkward approach made to Amani, I was rebuffed, and didn’t really know what to do next. Unfortunately, I’m not just crazy, but also tenacious. Somewhere along the line, Matt & Leroy laughingly admitted that they made the whole thing up just to pass the time in study hall. The sad thing is that the mind is a tricky bitch. Over the course of time, I had grown to really like Amani. She was smart, I thought she was cute (disclaimer: 8th grade Amani wasn’t exactly “bomb”, but I can’t talk since I was a butterball with halitosis), and she was like queen of the Black girls in our class. I could be dating a queen! Even though the jig was up, I was really into this girl. And that’s where the trouble started.

You see, I was just learning how great of a weapon guilt could be. Somehow, I started gaining friends, but they were all of the female variety. No, that was NOT a good thing. You see, I would take Amani’s rejection pretty hard. I don’t know what happened, but I pretty much established an “Urkel/Laura Winslow” relationship between she and I. As I amassed these female friends, I would just dump all of my woe and misery and whatnot on them, and they’d feel sorry for me. I’d feel empowered, and somehow this would all make its way back to Amani. That was the plan. I was gonna guilt her into loving me. And it almost worked. She surrendered. We had an illustrious 5-day relationship (counting weekends). Then, she decided she “just wanted to be friends”, but remember how I said I was tenacious? I know I said that this started in 8th grade, but it persisted on through the 11th grade. Yup. THAT long. And that’s who I came to be: “the guy sweating Amani”, depending on your vernacular.

Why do I hate this whole situation? Because I resorted to self-deprecation to get something that I never knew I wanted until someone told me I did. Did that make sense? You see, there’s so much more to me than that. I can be funny, caring, a good friend, etc. There are a handful of people from that era who know this. But my general persona was “the pathetic guy”. I was a joke, and even teachers were in on it. They would laugh, or say “just give up already”; thanks for the vote of confidence, teachers! I’d like to think I was the class clown, but they weren’t laughing with me. And somewhere along the line, I started to see that pathetic guy, as well. I can’t blame Matt & Leroy; they were just acting their age and having fun. I blame myself because I was too stupid to realize that I was “young and stupid.” You’re not going to fall in love and marry your 8th grade sweetheart, and the rest of the problems in your life won’t go away by thinking you are. There was so much change going on at that time, including the Russia trip. I was out seeing the world, yet internalizing everything in a way that made Pathetic Will a reality. But eventually, I GOT the girl. No pressure or anything. It just happened. But that’s when you find that having isn’t as good as wanting. And that’s where I think I’ll pick up tomorrow.

29th Jan2007

My Life, In Watches

by Will

“But we’ve just lost the beat.”

I’ve always had a thing for watches. Carrie Bradshaw has her Manolo’s, and I’ve got whatever Fossil/Casio/Timex catches my eye. Sure, we’re talking low price points here, but that’s how I roll.

Now, as far back as I can remember, I was into watches. When I was 2, Mommy bought me a Ronald McDonald watch. I had some sort of tantrum, and destroyed in the foyer of our house. When she questioned me about it, all I could say was, “Well, he was fat, anyway.” She vowed not to buy me a new watch, but I had a Michael Jackson watch soon afterwards.

After Daddy died, I had a Knight Rider watch. Man, did I love that watch. If I remember correctly, it didn’t even tell time. It was fake and plastic, but it had a picture of K.I.T.T. inside, and that’s all I needed.

Recently, I’ve come to notice that I get new watches to signify new phases in my life. For some miraculous reason, it becomes “new watch time” whenever there’s a sort of shift in the things in my life. Now, sometimes “new watch time” is signalled by a dead battery. Let me let you in on a little secret: I don’t change watch batteries. I just buy a new watch. So far, the batteries have lasted for years, and they tend to die at just the right time.

In middle school, I had my Radio Shack calculator watch. Yup, I was THAT kid. But I loved that watch, with its calendar function and “deet-deet” alarm. I was a geek, but I didn’t care. At that point, I didn’t much care what people thought of me because I knew I was kind of weird and I was fine with that. I was my own best friend and I had my imagination to keep me company.

In high school, I went through several different watches, mainly because none of them really held much meaning for me. I was trying to settle on watches as I tried to figure out who I was. Honestly, though, high school was NOT this time of angst that people make it out to be. In all truth, I expected it to be like ‘Saved by the Bell”, and was disappointed when it was NOT like that. Either way, I didn’t have the growing pains of not being asked to dances, or learning to drive. Life is like the lottery: you’ve gotta be in it to win it, and I decided to sit it out. My high school weekends involved me watching tapes of pre-recorded TNBC while talking on the phone to my friends while they were out living their lives.

In college, I had 2 watches that come to mind. When I first went to school, I had this really bootleg musical watch that Mommy really pushed on me at City Place. Now, I liked the watch and all, but it had a big G clef on the face, and little notes for each hour. I was emerging from a few years playing piano, and it was pre-a cappella. If anything, I was in my musical theatre phase. The watch, though it sounds kinda gay, was actually nice. The downside, though, was that I felt a musical watch should PLAY music. It didn’t have a little song, so I felt gypped. Anyway, I got the watch and wore the HELL out of it. By Christmas (maybe 6 months after buying it), the band had worn off (thanks City Place!).

I came home for Christmas, and Mommy bought me a Relic watch from JC Penney. “Relic” was basically a generic “Fossil”, but it was a beautiful watch. Oddly enough, it had a blueish-green face which matched the stone in my class ring. It was like my accessories had been destined to be together. It’s funny because we HATE Penney’s, but sometimes what you’re looking for is where you least expect it. Anyway, I wore that watch for the rest of Cornell and through graduation. In fact, I wore it up until about 6 months ago.

Now, a few people might know this, but 2004 was pretty rough for me. In a LOT of ways. Hell, you can go back and read the archives. Sometimes, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Anyway, I was working at H&M and it’s a freaky place. It’s not simply retail, but instead it’s this weird, neo-hippy, bohemian enclave that happens to sell clothes. I decided , “Hey, I’m gonna ride this opportunity til the wheels fall off”, so I started crafting “H&M Will”. Part of that involved a Fossil leather cuff watch. Now, I never would’ve looked twice at the thing 4 years ago, but at this point, I felt it would complete the ensemble. Several returns, fitting room shifts, and gay bars later, I realized that I didn’t really like that world so much. Plus, I felt it was a lesson that I shouldn’t have traded up watches “before it was time”.

Unfortunately, while lost in the world of leather, my pretty, blueish Relic died on me. It died on me when I needed it most. I was working in the illustrious commercial real estate industry as the world’s worst telemarketer. I didn’t know how I got there, nor did I know how to get out. Everything was changing around me, but I felt stuck. And my accessories didn’t match anymore. The high school ring had given way to the Cornell ring. For some reason, I decided that I didn’t like the traditional A.D White ring and designed my own, with black onyx. It had always clashed with the pretty watch, but it went quite well with the leather cuff. And that didn’t sit right with me. I always wanted to have class, be a little GQ, but now I felt very “gloryhole”. And it didn’t help that I didn’t know what I wanted to be or how to get there.

Finally, prayers were answered, and “it was time”. Not only did I gain my emancipation, but I also fell into my dream industry: comics. As a brand manager, I would have to be a figurehead at cons and whatnot, and there’s a certain emphasis on appearance. Suddenly, I knew it was time to do something about the leather cuff. I wasn’t really that person anymore, nor did I want to be. Right before my birthday, I was looking through a magazine, and I fell in love. Right there, I saw a attractive, black Fossil with a diamond at 12 o’clock. No, re-read what I wrote: It was an attractive, black fossil with a diamond at 12 o’clock. For all of you English majors out there, that’s what you call metatext, so I’m not going to ruin your analysis. I had to have it, and actually bought it for myself before buying most of the presents I needed to buy for my family; hey, I’m an only child!

The watchband was actually too large, and I needed to take a few links out for it to fit better. Yesterday, I finally got around to getting the links taken out. It was at that time that I realized I hadn’t really tried the watch on. Sure, I’d sampled it, but what can you tell from that? I was left with the feeling that it was more beautiful, more attractive on paper than on my wrist. Sure, I could grow into it. As Mr. Humphries would say, “It’ll ride up with wear”. Either way, as I sit here typing this, I look down at my attractive, black Fossil with the Diamond at the top, and I wonder if it’s really for me. Maybe it was meant to stay on paper. I hope I don’t come to regret my new watch/phase of life. Regrets…that’s a topic we’ll revisit tomorrow.

29th Jan2007

You Googled Me?!

by Will

“I got a li’l change in my pocket, going jing-a-ling-a-lang…”

So, it has come to my attention that not everyone reading this site exactly knows who I am. In the beginning, I wrote this thing for Jen, James, Austin, and Tarek. Over time, I gained a few, lost a few, and now I think I’m the only one who reads the thing regularly. Anyway, last week, one of my clients told me that he’d found my site and he liked my grasp on pop culture. Immediately, I asked, “What site?” He replied, “Your website.” Still not believing him, I asked, “Umm…how did you find that?” He answered, “Well, I just googled “Diamond” and your name.” Yup, that phony press release I wrote a few months back will now be my undoing. I could delete it, but it would still come up in the Google cache.

So, I realize that I’ve been in shock jock mode lately. I write things just because I think them, and have a desire to see them in print. Still, not everyone would like to know that my weakness is “titties”, so I’ve decided that on this, the 3rd anniversary of williambrucewest.com, I’m going to try to personalize things a bit more. If anything, it might get me started on that book I’ve been meaning to write. I still might have the usual banter, but I’m in a weird place right now, and I’ve got some stuff to get off my chest. Anyway, that’s what’s on the menu for the next week or so…

08th Jan2007

I’d Die For You…

by Will

“This is America: Speak Spanish!”

Recently, I was thinking about the power of song. More specifically, I was thinking about how there are things that you can say through song that you just can’t fit into everyday conversation. Primary example: “I’d die for you”.

Seriously, you just can’t walk up to a person and say “I’d die for you.” I mean, you could be married 20 years, and there’s still no legitimate way to work that into conversation. It’s just plain awkward. And if you’re like me, you’d probably say it at the wrong time:

“It’s OK, baby. If you swallow real quick, you won’t even taste it. Aw, don’t be mad! You know I’d die for you, right?”

“Baby, if you’d listened the first time, you wouldn’t be in this mess. Now, get on up off that floor! I love you, girl. You know I’d die for you!”

“I swear that ain’t my kid! I only did her once. You can’t get pregnant for doing it once, can you?! Oh man…you know I’d die for you, right? Baby? Baby?”

But you just know, if someone came up to you with a gun, and said, “Give me yo’ woman, or I’m gon’ cap yo’ ass!” You’d instantly say, “Take her! Do whatever you want! Shit, you like dudes? You can take me, too!”

Now, if only someone would fit “You like dudes? You can take me, too” into a song. Well, maybe if Sisqo puts out another single…

08th Dec2006

Gwen And Gavin At Breakfast & S Club 8

by Will

“I don’t fuck goats, Mr. Gibson. I make love to them.”

So, I just got the new Gwen Stefani album, and while it’s not as good as “L.A.M.B.”, it’s still a fun album. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that it’s the kind of album that Madonna wishes she could still put out. Why? Because it’s the kind of album Madonna would’ve put out 15 years ago. Pre-“Take A Bow”, during her playful “Sex” period. To go even further, if I didn’t know it was Gwen, I’d think, “Wow, Madonna finally made a good album again!”

Anyway, this got me to thinking: I wonder how Gavin feels about all of this. You see, Bush never exactly took the world by storm, but he always struck me as an “artist”. You know, the guy who’s “not in it for the money, but for the music.” One of those guy’s who’ll say in an interview, “It’s all about the band, man.” The only time Gavin would’ve shared a stage with Gwen would’ve been back in the No Doubt days, and even then, I feel like he’d think he was superior.

I look at Gwen now, with her faux-cheerleader grandstanding and yeah “love conquers all”, but you just know that Gavin’s embarassed. I mean, it was bad enough when she was in the band with her exboyfriend, and every hit single they had was about said relationship. But once they went on “hiatus”, he probably thought, “I finally have her to myself”, and the chick has a nervous breakdown and starts thinking she’s Tonie Basil or something!

I can see them at the breakfast table:

Gav: So, Gwennie. I was readin’ your lyrics last night…um, maybe you can explain exactly WHAT is so…”bananas” about…how to put this…”the shit”?

Gwen: It’s not “bananas”, baby. It’s “B.A.N.A.N.A.S.”

Gav: Right, luv…”bananas”

Gwen: No! You’re just not getting it!

Gav: Oh, bollocks!

And speaking of Madonna, I feel that this exact exchange has happened between her and Guy Ritchie. Gav and Guy are two blokes who just wanna get a pint at the pub. Unfortunately, they’re attached to these…iconoclasts who suffer identity crises after every career decision they make. I feel like there should be a club for these guys. I’d throw Beckham in there, too, but I think he’s more of a woman than Posh.

Anyway, I like Gwen and what she does, but I feel like Gavin’s somewhere laughing his ass off. And probably crying a little bit since his woman is SO much more successful than he is. That’s enough to piss off a guy like that. He’s thinking, “I go off and write an opus like ‘Glycerine’, and she grabs some tramps from a kabuki theatre and she goes bloody platinum?!! It’s bollocks, innit?”

And while I’m riffing on the “red coat” music scene, I must say that the album “Sundown” by S Club 8 is INCREDIBLE. You will not a find a better brit bubblegum pop album. It’s a crying shame, too, considering that they were the “spin-off” group yet in one album they put together a product FAR superior to all of S Club 7’s albums combined. You may now stop laughing at me. You’re missing out. I said stop laughing!

Anyway..where was this going? I really don’t even know anymore. I just wanted an excuse to write that “Robot Chicken”-esque Kitchen Scene with Gwen and Gavin. Now that it’s out of my system, back to work!

01st Dec2006

Real World: Denver and the “Surprise” Gay Guy

by Will

“If I ever make an independent film, I think I’m going to call it ‘Dorito Breakfast’.”

So, I was flipping through channels the other night, and I stumbled upon the all-new Real World: Denver. Denver! Break out the champagne. Let me take this opportunity to say that it pisses me off to no end that they’re doing everything in their power to stay away from DC. I guess there aren’t enough tanning salons in the area for them to have the obligatory “group job”.

Anyway, it’s your standard Real World mix:
1)”Aryan Hot” White Guy
2)”Grunge Hot” White Guy
3)”Athlete/Player” Black Guy
4)”Might Be Gay” Black Guy
5) “Hot Girl Who’s Not Really That Hot” Girl
6)”Actually Hot, with Bi-Sexual Tendencies” Girl
7)”MTV pulled a She’s All That and Made Her Hot” Girl.

Well, as all first episodes of this show go, they all meet, drink, and are eager about all the great fun they’re gonna have! Whoo-hoo! Keep in mind, this is before they’ve singled out who they’re going to hate/hate on/cheat on/drunkenly curse out. Nope, this point is consumed by “I’m so gonna get drunk and hook up with him/her” thoughts.

Well, after the first night of “I can’t believe I drank so much/I can’t believe I hooked up with him/She’s got a hot body, but I’m not really looking for anything serious”, the seeds begin to sprout for the season’s drama. But in the midst of it all, they decide to go out for a nice lunch together.

Now, during lunch, we find out that Arayan White Guy is Obligatory RW Gay Guy! And here I had my money on Black Guy #2. But get this: Black Guy # 2 goes OFF. And this isn’t even the Athlete/Player Black Guy. This is “Might Be Gay” BG. Turns out he’s really religious and conservative, and he can’t wrap his head around this gay Southern boy who admits to being a Christian, despite his orientation. BG#2 isn’t having any of this. First off, he can’t understand the lifestyle, but then he can’t deal with the dude having the wherewithall to call himself a person of God. He ends his tirade saying, “I just can’t…I didn’t think things were going to be like this.”

Um, ok. I call “Shenanigans!” I know it all makes for good TV, but this show has been around for 21 seasons! At least 19 of them have had gay housemates. When you send in your little videotape, you know exactly what the fuck you’re getting yourself into. You can’t act surprised when the gay guy shows up! You just can’t. In fact, it’s become a new part of the orientation process, where the first people to the house play everyone’s favorite game: “I Wonder Which One’s Gonna Be Gay.” You don’t wonder if a housemate’s gonna be gay; you anticipate it. The only time you are allowed to be surprised is when you end up with two (RW: Philly, anyone?). That is a rare, wild card situation. But if they get drunk enough, one of the two will still hook up with the hottest girls, you know…because they’re “safe”, so the ratings are therefore saved.

So, here we are, left with one of the most predictable shows still on TV. I mean, TV doesn’t have many rules left: Jack Bauer will always save the day, the miltary contestants on The Price is Right always mysteriously win, and RW will always give us the entertaining yet predictible mix of “You’re a racist!”, “I love you!”, “It’s a sin!”, “I’m SO sorry!” and everyone’s favorite, “That’s just not what I’m looking for at this time in my life.”

But I’m still not giving up on my earlier prediction on BG#2. He just might be gay, and this whole act is some kind of self-loathing, not-ready-to-come-out response. But they’re only there for 18 weeks, so I guess I’ll just have to wait for the inevitable Challenge appearance to see if the experience changes him any. Then again, if he makes it to the Challenge, it just means he’ll be more of an asshole by then. Really, it’s not like they ever invite the “nice” ones to the Challenge…

29th Aug2006

Joyce DeWitt Hair, The DCU, Craigslit?, and Jenna Von Oy’s Ass

by Will

“If he dies, he dies.”

So, I have neither the energy nor the internet connection to sit through typing the adventure I teased a few weeks ago. Don’t worry; it’s coming. But for now, I thought I’d go for a stream-of-consciousness post. Jenn calls hers “Cerebrogenesis” or something like that. I give you:

BRAINFARTS

-Why is it that, when people adopt little girls from China, they always get them that “Joyce DeWitt” haircut? I mean, do they come like that? Are there care instructions of which I am unaware?

-Why is the movie called “Idlewild”? Why didn’t they just call it what it really is: “Negron Rouge”?

-Man, was I wrong about “Snakes on a Plane” being the next best thing since Tivo.

-Man, was I wrong about Tivo.

-I’m about to stop watching TV. First, they cancel Blind Date & Elimidate, the shows that taught me to never count out the healing power of a hot tub. Then, they cancel Stargate SG-1, the show which cured me of my Trekitis. And now, they get rid of Horatio Sanz, Chris Parnell, and Maya Rudolph on SNL?!! The SG-1 announcement gets to me the most. This is a show that, for the past 4 years, has always written itself as if it were its last season. The last 4 season finales were meant as “show enders”. Sci-Fi KNEW that! And the one time the show sets itself up to actually extend into another season, Sci-Fi pulls the rug out from under them =(

-Philly is a REALLY dirty city.

-“Celebrity Duets” ain’t half bad, and I have an unhealthy affinity for Little Richard now.

-“MyNetwork TV” is the worst idea I’ve ever heard of. A network that shows nothing but translated Spanish soaps. Starring Morgan Fairchild. Fox isn’t even trying anymore…

-52’s good, but it ain’t THAT good.

-The DCU is like a cafeteria-style meal. You take one of the Big Three (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) as your entree, and then you can add on sides dishes, like the “funny Justice League”, or the GL Corps, or the Legion. But you MUST have one of the Big Three. Beware: Wonder Woman’s the equivalent of the fish entree that they give to senior citizens. And it’s got bones.

-So, am I supposed to like Ray Nagin, or not? ‘Cause I could really go either way.

-Why is there no “craigslit.org”? The adult entertainment industry is missing out on a virtual goldmine!

-I guess there are enough fucked up people on craigslist.

-The “Alcoholic Sweats” would be a great name for a band.

-I wanna be a wedding singer.

-So, Jennine’s married now. Huh. Well, uh…if you’re still reading this thing, “Congrats!”

-Next person who announces an engagement gets a kidney punch.

-Destination wedding, my ass! I need witnesses!

-Professor Oglivee marries Mo’nique in “The Parkers” series finale?

-Man, Jenna Von Oy had a phat ass!

-Of course, I’d watch the black show for the white girl…

-Shit, I’ve gotta wake up in 4 hrs!

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