Category Archives: Men

I love Hugh Jackman, but…

This looks like the silliest movie ever:

I can’t wait.

Landscaping is expensive

It’s easy to watch this commercial without even noticing the bushes and shrubs magically being groomed while these attractive, active, young women go about their happy, privileged lives:

I’m not against the thing.  The thing itself looks convenient enough.  It’s just the fact that the commercial goes so far out of its way to just come out and say it: “This lets you trim and shave your pubic hair.”

Instead you have to see those bushes and realize that those are a metaphor forwell, bushes.

You know what does make me skeptical?  This commercial implies that the un-groomed bushes are somehow less nice or less worthy.  Before and after shots, and the after is always preferable.  Always more beautiful.

I say, do whatever you want with your bushes.  Don’t let Schick and it’s silly advertisements influence how you landscape.  There’re just a bunch of men behind them, I’m sure.  Don’t let a bunch of men tell you that you’ve gotta fork out $12 if you, too, want to be attractive and active and happy.

Tell me I don’t have to have sex out there.

A group of boys, who look no older than fourteen, talk on a crowded New York City subway car—loud—about bitches, and fucking, and fucking bitches.  They carry tennis racquets in zipped cases.  I assume they’re teammates.  The loudest and youngest looking one says, “I could’ve fucked two bitches the same night.  I had them both at my place.  But I didn’t, because one of the bitches was on her period.”

I look around, wanting to see if anyone else’s ears have unwittingly become victim to this conversation.  Some people have headphones on.  Some people might not know English.  I make eye contact with one woman, but her neutral expression doesn’t change.  If anything, she seems to communicate, “Are you really upset?  Are you really surprised or offended?”  Yes.  I am!  I’m upset that these boys boast and talk about female peers that way as if it’s okay.  Or, knowing it’s not okay, making it more appealing.  I don’t care if they’re insecure pubescent boys just making things up or repeating overheard things.  I’m upset that I sit with my book open on my lap, not reading it, listening to them instead, saying nothing.  If girls they have sexual feelings for (if not romantic) are called bitches, what would they call me—some 24-year-old girl scolding them?  Surely they wouldn’t politely apologize.  How would that boost their apparent status as big, sex-havin’ men?

Yesterday was one of distasteful sex-related happenings that made me question the world and the people in it.  Everyone’s entitled to say what they want, do and think what they want.  But that freedom can seriously hurt others.  It can make you think, Man.  This is how so many people approach sex, this is how the media makes sex out to be?  I don’t want any part of that. It’s scary.  Who really wants to be the subject of a nonchalant recap between buddies—“Yeah, I fucked her.  It was all right.”   

When I woke up late yesterday morning I had a notification that I’d received a Facebook message just after 8 a.m.  It started, “Hi, how’ve u been?”  But the sender’s name was one I didn’t recognize, so I assumed it was a spam message.  Someone trying to get me to attend an event, or buy a product, or support some cause.  Turned out to be something very different.  The message was from someone I did vaguely know—a security guard of all things.  You know.  Someone whose job is to make you feel more secure.  I’d forgotten that this man and I were connected on Facebook at all.  He guards a building I used to regularly enter and was someone I would say hello to and small talk with occasionally.  I stopped the small talk, though, after we bonded about our mutual interest in making music and he invited me to see the recording studio he uses—inside of his apartment. 

I hadn’t thought about this person or heard from this person, and then, all of a sudden, a message.  It’s pretty crude stuff and the only reason I’m sharing it is to make a point.  Skip it if you don’t want some graphic imagery in your head.

Hi, how’ve u been?  I don’t mean to be forward, but seriously I’ll like you to know that it’ll be a pleasure to munch on your shaven apple pie haven. If you give me a chance I promise I’ll lick and suck every drop of crease all around and inside of it like no one has ever done b4.

Now am guessing u might have a boyfriend and since I wouldn’t want to be that guy that comes between you two, for the fact that I wouldn’t want the same to happen between me and my girl, that is why I have requested for this alone and nothing else.

However if ever you turn the opposite cheek to this once in a lifetime opportunity, I’ll also like you to know that I will hold no grudge against you and I will still cherish the moments of friendship we shared at [omitted]. Take care and bye for now.

[Name omitted.]

P.S.. Let me be that very private guy in your life that turns u into that glowing mature woman every girl wants to be like…

How kind of him to not hold a grudge against me if I turn down his “once in a lifetime” proposal.  How unselfish, too, to consider my boyfriend (and his girlfriend) in this arrangement!  And how opposite of presumptuous of him to suppose how I groom my “apple pie haven” or that I need to be transformed from a girl into a “glowing mature woman.” 

Granted I probably shouldn’t have even allowed myself to be connected online to this semi-stranger.  My mistake.  I can be naive.  It just wouldn’t occur to me that people might take the time to craft such a message. I would never think of this as everyday, normal fare for a man to send a woman at 8 a.m. on a Monday. 

I’ve watched a lot of romantic comedies in my day, which, admittedly, have probably given me some skewed ideas about heterosexual sex and relationships.  But after watching Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks ride off into the sunset, or Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, I’ve never approached a male love interest and said, “Hey, how’ve you been?  Will you meet me on top of the Empire State Building and kiss me long and passionately and marry me and raise my babies?”  Maybe some people do hold those expectations.  And maybe some people develop their own expectations after regularly watching certain porn, listening to certain music, or talking to certain people.  Just like kids playing violent video games makes them more likely to shoot people, right…?  It’s more than possible that a person would predominantly see inappropriate or unhealthy social and sexual behaviors and use those cues in their own life.  Because inappropriate and unhealthy can be relative concepts.

I told a male friend of mine about the Facebook message.  He advised me to use the block function, but to first send the guy a picture of STD-ridden female genitalia.  “Speaking of which,” he said, “there’s a guy I know who’s HIV positive.”  He went on to say that the person, before settling down with a partner, claimed to regularly have unprotected sex without broaching the subject of any risk.  And apparently, if questioned, would outright lie. 

There’s a scene in When Harry Met Sally after Harry and Sally have sex with each other for the first time.  Neither are satisfied with how it went.  They individually call their best friends, Jess and Marie, who pick up their individual phones from the nightstands of the bed they share as a couple.  Jess listens to Harry.  Marie listens to Sally.  When they hang up, after hearing their friends’ most recent dating disappointments, Marie turns to Jess and says, exhaustedly, “Tell me I never have to be out there again.”  Jess looks her in the eye and firmly responds, “You never have to be out there again.” 

Yesterday, after the things I was told and the things I overheard and the things proposed to me, I felt similarly exhausted.  Out there felt like a scary place.  A place that will compromise physical and emotional health.  A place where women are just vaginas and men are cads.  A place where very few ride off into the sunset.

Pigeons, Mike Tyson, and me

There’s an ambiguousness to this blog.  For a whole year I think it had a tongue in cheek tone to it.  And more lately it’s been pretty personal.  More contemplative and serious even.  But something that’s remained constant in its two and a half years is pigeons–and how much I love them.

The About page has described me as “a pursuer of creative outlets with a deep love and curiosity for all things pigeon,” which I think sums me up pretty well.  If I could only tell people two things about myself, I’d feel pretty satisfied if they only knew about my creativity and my feelings for pigeons.

All this is on my mind because I’m in countdown mode for the new Mike Tyson show on Animal Planet that debuts THIS SUNDAY, March 6th–“Taking on Tyson.”

“The first day I fought I must’ve been a ten year old kid.  This is the most frightening day of my life.  The reason for the fight was because the guy ripped the head off my pigeon.  This is the first thing I ever loved in my life.”

I don’t want to get too excited for this show.  I don’t know a whole lot about pigeon racing.  I don’t know a whole lot about Mike Tyson.  But I think this show is going to be an interesting look at a sensitive, provocative man.  Probably a lot of people will tune in because it’s a little strange and funny–but that’s okay.  The things we laugh at have truth in them.  And often the things we make fun of are the things we don’t want to take the time to consider–because they challenge something we’ve always held to be true: fighters are mean, men like Mike Tyson are tough, pigeons are just stupid birds.  I don’t think any of those things are true.  And that’s why I’m excited to watch.

Here comes Santa Claus…

Sometimes people will send a note to my email address (notreallyalibrarian@gmail.com), asking: Dear Madame Librarian, Why are you so great?  Or sometimes: Dear ML, That last post really affected me. 

Or most commonly: Dear Madame, What are you wearing?

Tonight, the answer:

About sixty seconds ago, I was standing in my bedroom thinking, “I want to sit down and write on my laptop, but I’m a little cold.  Only, I don’t really want to put on a sweatshirt.  It will feel constricting.  A blanket would be nice, only my arms will be exposed and–”

It was at that exact moment that I remembered that my grandmother had given me a Snuggie as an early Christmas gift and it was not two feet away.  So I sit here, telling you this, wearing my brand new vibrant pink Snuggie.   It still smells like the cardboard box and the plastic bag.

Sadly I have no dashing, matching male companion tonight, but otherwise I look very much like the woman above.


As I mentioned, my family had an early Christmas gift-exchanging celebration today.  My pink Snuggie, as an added bonus, came with a free book light, which made it even more ideal.  I used it on the three-hour drive home from Grandma’s to read Prozac Nation, “…one girl’s journey through the purgatory of depression and back.”  Even still, I’m feeling almost giddy tonight.  It’s not just that I’m clad in Pepto Bismol goodness–it’s also that I feel the holiday spirit quite profoundly this season.  To be honest, I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve been unemployed.  It’s given me so much time to do seasonal things!

It started on November 30th when I happened to be reminded that the Tree had been lit in Rockefeller Center that evening.  Instead of going home, as planned, I battled a throng of people on 49th Street and saw that marvel, choosing to focus on the prettiness of the lights instead of the electricity they were using and the soon-to-be brown and dead branches they were strung upon.

I also had time to bake a gingerbread house!  Unfortunately, before I had time to construct and decorate the house I had to leave town due to a family emergency…but the baked pieces are on the counter waiting for me should I make it home any time soon.

What else.  Oh!  I had a chance to battle a different throng of people (or perhaps some of the same throng) and see Santa Claus at Macy’s.  Of the five other Decembers I’ve been in New York, this is the first one I’ve had the pleasure.  Sure, he was one of maybe eight other Santa Clauses serving Macy’s that day, and sure he didn’t actually look like Santa Claus, but I received a free pin that reads “Santaland at Macy’s 2010” that I will never wear AND I did not spend the $18.99 to receive a photo of myself and a spritely, trim man in a suit.

I list all of these things to explain that I truly am “in the spirit” this year.  Sometimes the holidays come and go so quickly that you wonder if they’re related to that man you slept with a few times in college.  (I never actually experienced such a thing in college, I just wanted to make a reference to sex.)  Anyway, the thing is, of all the beautiful and wondrous things I’ve seen and done this year, there is one thing I’ve encountered that has really pissed. me. off.  It also relates to Macy’s.  And it’s this:

Ew.  That’s disgusting.  It’s horrific and it makes my stomach churn and that’s not because I ate too much crap at Grandma’s, it’s because this advertisement is TERRIBLE!  Macy’s has spun one of the most beloved, wholesome, iconic figures (next to Jesus Christ) into an adultering, Cialis-popping, cradle-robbing doo doo head.  (There’s no other way to put it.)  Santa Claus in this ad might as well be Bill Clinton saying, Ssshh, don’t tell Hillary.  Santa is supposed to consider what little girls want for Christmas, not want little girls for Christmas!

Okay, okay, you might say, but Madame Librarian, Santa is just receiving a peck on the cheek from that newly pubescent young woman.  Nothing sinister is about to happen when he locks the door in the office adjacent to his workroom as the sound of elves using little hammers drowns out whatever noises he and that spritely, trim thing might make.

But I’m not buying it.  And guess what, Macy’s?  I’m also not buying from you.  I’ve got my free pin.  Take the rest and shove it.

Four weddings and a quote about a funeral

It’s been an epic Labor Day weekend. Wedding Four of the summer was attended, thus concluding the Summer of Four Weddings.

From all this exposure to vows and receptions and DJs, I’ve concluded that I have no idea what kind of wedding I myself would have were I to have one. Unlike Jennifer Lopez in 2001’s The Wedding Planner, I didn’t spend my every waking moment as a child planning how I would get hitched to Matthew McConaughey. (I think it involved a Breyer horse ridden to a chapel and then a tiny woman being carried over the threshold of a doll house.)

In the lead up to Wedding Four, by accident or perhaps by no accident at all, I happened to be reading Dan Savage’s book about gay marriage and the overall institution of marriage, The Commitment. I initially picked it up because I was looking for inspiration to continue with my own book-writing, and I’ve always appreciated the no-nonsense style of Savage’s advice column. The subject matter of Savage’s book, as summed up in the subtitle, was a draw, too: “Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family.”

I didn’t know it for a while, but I’m a romantic. I eschewed serious romantic relationships for a long time, instead getting a sad vicarious fix from romantic comedies like, yeah, The Wedding Planner. I’ve since taken a long, hard look at myself and my fears and exactly what was prompting my plan to turn into a lonely reclusive cat woman and thankfully, I no longer have much use for Matthew McConaughey. (Note: I still plan to be a semi-reclusive cat woman, I’ve just nixed the lonely part.)

Back to Dan Savage. A signature viewpoint of his that he brings up in his column, podcast, and in this book, is that a relationship doesn’t need to necessary last for years and years for it to be deemed a success. Therefore, even if a marriage ends in painful divorce, it shouldn’t automatically be categorized as a failure. Likewise, he says it’s too bad that marriages are only deemed a success when “death do us part.”

Toward the end of one chapter, Savage shares a short excerpt from Ovid’s Metamorphoses about a couple who helps traveling-in-disguise gods Jupiter and Mercury. The couple is hospitable and in return they receive a favor. They redeem it by asking that neither of them outlive the other: “Since we have spent our happy years together, / May one hour take us both away.”

Savage writes, “That’s how I want to go–with Terry, not before him, neither of us outliving the other. Death is a perverse measure of success, as I said, and I don’t believe that someone has to die in order for a relationship to be considered a success. But I live in hope that when our time comes, after many more happy years together, we’re both taken to Maloney’s [Funeral Home] on the same day, at the same hour.”

You know that’s some serious romance because not only did Ovid write about it, but so did Nicholas effin’ Sparks in his book turned movie The Notebook. (Spoiler Alert:) James Garner and Gena Rowlands dead and HOLDING HANDS in a nursing home bed together–that scene alone provided months of vicarious romantic satisfaction.

Hmm. What’s my point. Weddings. Love. Family. If I’ve learned one thing this summer, it’s that I’m pro those things. Maybe not holding one of my own, but I’m at least pro attending weddings. And I’m pro family. They’re good fodder for books. And love! I’m so pro love that I leave you with a compilation of all four of the first dance songs I’ve experienced this summer in chronological wedding order:

A video that mistakes Fred Astaire for Frank Sinatra at one point:

Lyrics that truly encapsulate love: “Cause every time I see your bubbly face, / I get the tingles in a silly place”:

A video tribute to Carrie Underwood that features a country song, but not one of her own:

And finally, a wonderfully bizarre mix of random images paired with movie stills and posters from Titanic and Moulin Rouge:

Please forward.

I’m in the process of moving.  Well, I’m mostly done.  My roommate at my old place recommended movers to me.  They were coming for his stuff on Wednesday morning.  And they said they’d come back right after they finished to pick up my stuff.  Except…they didn’t do that.

They decided to do another job first before coming back for me.  So they left with my roommate’s stuff at 10:30 am.  And I waited around and around.  Heard nothing from anyone.  Finally at 2 pm I called the mover.  No answer.  Then I called my roommate.  Straight to voice mail.  Called the mover again.  No answer.

By this point, I started to imagine that the moving van had tumbled over a bridge.  I started to worry.  I decided to text the movers.  I’d learned that they were from Russia, though, and that they were in the States learning English.  So I wasn’t sure if they’d even be able to understand my text message.  But they did.  And they were fine.  And they showed up finally at 5:30 pm.

Oh, yeah.  So I’m mostly done moving.  But yesterday I swung by the old place to grab some odds and ends.  I threw a whole random load of stuff inside of a green laundry bag–a trashcan, some books, a full unopened can of Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee (dark roast), a green and orange winter vest jacket.  By the time I was done throwing stuff in the bag, it got kind of heavy.  But the kind of heavy where you don’t realize how heavy it is until you’ve been carrying it for a few blocks.

And I had to go straight to work from my apartment.  With this big, unwieldy bag.  And then after work, six hours later, at 2 o’clock in the morning, I had to get this bag across town (five avenues and a few blocks), onto a subway, off of a subway, onto a shuttle bus, off of a shuttle bus, and up half a block.

When I got off the shuttle bus, I was about to cross the street with my big grab bag of stuff, and I had a walk signal, but this guy on a bike didn’t know that.  And he saw another bus approaching the intersection, so he started yelling at me, “Honey, watch out!  Honey, watch out!”  But I just kept walking.  And then he realized the walk signal and it was awkward because we looked at each other and I wanted to say ‘thank you’, but I was already kind of far away. And the moment was gone.

But that was nice of him…  Even though I don’t typically like being called ‘honey’ by strangers at 2 am.

Mmmh.

The one downside to moving is that I used to get a free magazine meant for someone with my same last name. His first name is Ricardo and he lived on the 6th floor, but not anymore, so they saw my last name on the 3rd floor and gave me his mail. I’ll miss Ricardo’s mail.