Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Slums of Murray Hill

I finally did it!!!

Farewell to the hideous sound that is my cell phone alarm telling me it's 6:30 am and i must get out of bed. Goodbye to the NJ transit, traffic, broken seats, broken reading lights, unfriendly, unbathed neighbors. Adios made-the-night-before turkey sandwich and other assorted ziplock bags full of healthy snacks. Ta-ta to pretending i'll have the energy to go to the gym, and instead laying on my couch watching The Bachelor with my mom and eating 6 servings of fro-yo.

Last weekend, i moved to a damn sexy apartment building on East 39th, otherwise known as Murray Hill. I never imagined I would end up in the area, considering my original budget only allowed me the oh so desirable possibility of becoming an inhabitant of Jersey City, Williamsburg or Harlem. As luck and my financially fortunate parents who didn't want me to live in the ghetto had it, i was able to move in with a friend of a friend to the 22nd floor of a converted 1 bedroom. Although there isn't hardly enough room in my living room to clip your toenails or do jumping jacks, my bedroom is a whole other story. I've got a big mama of a room, complete with enormous windows overlooking the East River. I've even got a full sized bed, capable of holding one, make that even 2 other people!

In recent days, i've taken to walking around my room completely naked with the shades open. I keep having this sensation that I'm on the show Friends, and that somewhere nearby, perhaps on 40th or 41st street, my neighbors are glancing through their binoculars.

"Jimmy!!! She's about to shower!"
"Which towel is she using? The yellow one or the blue?"
"Oh, she's going for the blue! She's even got the showercap tonight!"

The one teeny, tiny problem i'm experiencing...
the budget.

Before i moved in, i was all "Oh, don't even worry, Mom. I'm going to bring my lunch EVERY day, make my own coffee and purchase only happy hour priced beverages!"

So far, so untrue.

Due to my lack of willpower and my love for everything Asian, i had 1 lunch-break manicure and 3 sushi meals this week! Soon i'm going to give birth to my very own spicy tuna roll, but will be forced to give her up for adoption due to insufficient funds.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For your enjoyment....

I've decided to post some of my writing class assignments on here. If you're Stan or the man with MSG allergies, please click the small red X in the corner now. Thanks!!

Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence

It was the weekend of Emily’s graduation from Cornell. We had just finished breakfast at the house we were sharing with our loud, obnoxiously Jewish extended family, and Sarah and I had grandiose plans to escape the madness and spend an afternoon at Em’s place.
Her house was crusty yet charming, and we huddled together in Emily’s bed to rehash about the events of the weekend.

“When I came downstairs this morning,” Sarah began, “Nana was passed out in the La-Z-Boy with a towel underneath her in case she peed in her sleep!”

“Ha, I know,” I chimed in. “I can’t believe Mom gave her the master bedroom. We should’ve thrown her a box of Depends and sent her to the nursery!”

“What about Aunt Mara?” Emily asked. “How’s her OCD behavior this weekend?”

“Ah, same old,” Sarah replied. “You know. Opening doors with a sanitized washcloth, washing her hands every six seconds…”

“Mara needs to get laid, immediately”, I added.

We lay back on her bed laughing, all of us secretly praying that we would grow up to be slightly less insane versions of our relatives. Emily put down her mug of coffee and got up to go to the bathroom; an event that Sarah and I knew would take at least a solid thirty minutes. We tossed an Engineering book at her as she walked out the door. “You’ll need this!” I yelled after her.

“Hey, Jess. Look at that doggy-print underwear on the floor. That cannot be Emily’s!”
“Definitely not hers!” She still wears those ugly yet sensible shades-o-blue Hanes that mom bought her in the ninth grade. Why would she have those?”

We silently pondered the panties, and it seemed we made the same realization at exactly the same moment. Emily’s friend Elinor from the fencing team had been spending the entire graduation weekend with us. She was weirdly quiet, and kept hanging around. She also aspired to be a Veterinarian. Hence, the dog connection.

“Jess”, Sarah whispered, “Do you think Emily is… gay?”
“Oh my god, maybe Sar” I choked out. “Is that even possible? I mean, I guess it is. That underwear…”

Sooner then expected, Emily returned and plopped back down on the bed.

“Hey Em,” Sarah began. “Are those your doggy panties over there?”

“Oh, nope those aren’t mine. Those are Elinor’s. Her lease is up so she’s been staying with me for a couple weeks.”

“Oh,” Sarah replied, “Well, are you gay?”

“What? No! No, I’m not gay! She’s just staying here, that’s all.” Emily quickly spat out.

The awkward moment passed, but part of me still felt uneasy. Emily dropped us off with the family, and said she would see us later for Thai food.
We walked into the kitchen to find my Nana ranting and raving, flailing her arms in the air and reciting indecipherable words from the Yiddish dictionary.

“Oy gevald,” Nana blurted out to my mom. “What’s with this shikse Elinor? She keeps making the eyes at Emily. I’m intuitive, Ellen. I think something meshuganah is going on with the two of them. She is trying to convert Emily to a feygele… a lesbian!”

“They’re just friends from the fencing team” my mom calmly replied.

“She’s not gay, you guys” Sarah interjected. “We asked.”

“She doesn’t know it yet!” Nana called out. “But I know it. I’m intuitive!”

“Well,” my mom said changing the subject. “Everyone go get ready for dinner, our reservations are for 7 and we’re meeting Allison’s family.”

As it was only 4:45, I took up residence on the couch and watched as Donna denied David sex for the thirty-second time.

We were 22 minutes early, as my punctuality-obsessed mother would not have it any other way. I studied the menu as we waited for Emily, Elinor, Allison and her family to arrive and hoped the waiter could substitute the ‘Pad-See-Ew’ for a bacon cheeseburger and fries.

“Ellen, would you look at that retarded boy over there!” Nana must have thought she was whispering, but it came out in more of a holler.

“Can you imagine? Oy, it’s a shame!”

“Shhhh,” my mom whispered, “stop that!”

“Stop what? What did I do? Oy, am I starving! All I had today was a little nosheray. Just a little bit of that pot roast and some of those delicious matzo balls, and just the smallest sliver of chocolate mousse cake.”

“Winston? Party of 13. Right this way”, the hostess announced.

I suddenly felt the urge to run very far away when I realized the Down Syndrome boy my Nana had trash-talked was Allison’s younger brother. I really hoped he didn’t understand loud, senile grandmothers.

Emily sat next to Elinor and I eyed them throughout the entire meal. I tried to look for any brushes of the hand or flirtatious gestures, but nothing. Em was concentrating harder on her green curry then on Elinor. I guess she had been telling the truth.

The rest of the weekend flew by. 2 boring ceremonies, 4 grandmotherly outbursts, 18 sanitary washcloths and 5 unbutton-your-pants meals later, we packed up the car for our long journey back to New Jersey.

Sarah drove the car, mom sat in the passenger seat and I squished myself next to some luggage while my dad prepared to take a nap. As soon as we hit Route 81 South, Dad was snoring like a drunken pirate.

Suddenly, mom turned the radio down.

“Girls, I have to tell you something,” she whispered, obviously not wanting to wake my dad.
She hesitated for a moment.

”Emily and Elinor are together. They have been dating for the past five months. Em didn’t want me to tell anyone, but since you guys guessed…”

I looked at Sarah with wide eyes and a gaping mouth.
“I knew it! The doggy panties!” Sarah shouted.

“Huh? Who? What about dogs?” my dad mumbled, half asleep.

Mom interjected before he could gain full consciousness.

“Oh, nothing Marvin. Go back to sleep.”

And just like that, my sister was gay.

To Trim Or Not To Trim

It had been over four years since I had last seen Stan and could only recall classifying him into the ‘random druggie’ category of my Jersey public high school. He sat in front of me during twelfth grade English class, alternating between complete silences and napping. He was neither sexy nor unattractive and his dilated pupils served as a constant reminder of the Ecstasy he had a habit of ingesting. In my mind Stan had become a vague, distant memory not unlike my first pair of Keds.

A few weeks ago I was working out at my local New York Sports Club. I was on the elliptical and in the middle of watching “Date My Mom”, when I suddenly felt a tap on the shoulder. It was Stan. He was sporting a black Personal Trainer tee-shirt, hunk-like muscles and looking 1,200 times hotter then I can ever remember. I, on the other hand, was not at my finest. My hair was a combination of dirt, sweat and frizz which I paired nicely with exposed, unshaven legs and a major set of pit stains.

It must have been my lucky day, because Stan was flirting. Normally this goes against my rules. Usually, I’m drawn to guys whose daily physical activity entails binge drinking. Upon leaving the gym, I agreed to a free personal training session. While it sounded like a fantastic idea in the moment, several concerns dawned on me the day of.

1. All of my gym shirts have pit stains, in shades ranging from yellow to brown.
2. Is he going to weigh me?
3. Aerobic activity gives me gas.

I tried to ignore these daunting thoughts and instead concentrated on looking like a Jewish version of Suzanne Somers. I made a quick stop at Target to pick up some stain-free Hanes v-necks, straightened my curly-fro, and squeezed into a pair of surprisingly flattering black spandex. I did a last minute check for camel toe and made my way over to the gym.

I worked out with Stan for over an hour. He made me laugh, and thankfully this didn’t make me fart. He said we should go out for sushi sometime. I thought we should start planning our honeymoon. I left the gym on Cloud 9. Stan had asked for my phone number. Maybe living in Old Bridge wouldn’t be so bad after all. Besides, doesn’t dating a personal trainer guarantee my future eligibility for a size 2?

When I got home, I immediately signed into to see if I could stalk my future-husband-to-be. I checked the yearbook for the spelling of his crazy Russian last name and Tada, found him. What’s this picture of a hot male model doing here? Why is his comment wall signed by guys with overly shaped eyebrows named ‘Hot Naught-E Boy’ and ‘JohnnyBigShlong’? Oh, look at that. There’s a photo of Stan half-naked in the shower posing with a fluffy, pink loofah. This was more unsettling then the time in high school when my mom told me and my boyfriend to “keep it down in there”.

I never saw it coming. Is Stan gay?! I pondered his webpage as I shoveled a bowl of Turkey Hill Moose Tracks into my mouth like I had just escaped from a summer at fat camp. I couldn’t even fathom the possibility that Stan might actually like boys. He seemed so…so straight.

I avoided the gym for two weeks. Instead, I purchased a stepper and a Kathy Smith work-out DVD. While ‘Kathy’s Basic Step’ was made just a few short years ago, I loved it because it looked as though it was made in 1985. All of the steppers, the big ‘K’ included, wore neon colored leotards over contrasting neon colored spandex shorts. Even the men. Although I originally intended on using the video for calorie-burning purposes, I found myself watching it just for the ridiculous ensembles.

I finally made my big comeback to the gym last Thursday. I had rejoined Weight Watchers, which is something I like to do every other Monday after a weekend filled with beer, barbecue chicken pizza and Bloomin’ Onion. God, how I love the Bloomin’ Onion.

I had to burn at least three points in order to make up for my overage of fat-free sugar-free pudding pie, and Kathy just wasn’t cutting it. Before I hopped onto the leg press I looked both ways to see if I could spot Stan. I prayed it was his night off and let out a sigh of relief when he didn’t show up in my radar.

Not even two minutes into my workout, he found me.

“Hey, Jess! I haven’t seen ya in while!”

Ohhhhh no!

“Hey. Yeah I know. I’ve been like, so busy with work and class and everything.”

‘Everything’ meaning clomping around in my sister’s bedroom to a forty year old aerobics instructor, eating Malomars and scanning JDate for guys who earned over $100,000 per year and whose noses didn’t resemble the Titanic. This was no easy task.

“Oh. Well that’s cool. I’ve been real busy, too.”

Doing what? Humping men?

“I was wondering, do you want to go out with me and some friends on Saturday? We’re going to this bar Ashes in Red Bank… should be a good time”

Am I hearing this correctly? Oh, I get it. Maybe he wants me to be his fag hag. Get in line, buddy.

I took him up on the offer anyway. My inner detective just had to know the truth. Besides, alcohol was involved. How could I resist? I decided on a steady diet of broccoli and baby carrots, as to maximize my alcohol-points intake on the big day. I would certainly need them.
When Saturday rolled around, I started to panic. What does one even wear when going on a date with an attractive, yet possibly gay male? I did a mental scan of my wardrobe, and decided that nothing I owned was appropriate for such an occasion. This called for a trip to the Freehold Mall.
I needed to look cute in case he was straight, but I couldn’t dress slutty if it turned out he wasn’t. I also didn’t want to spend more then twenty dollars, in case his gayness meant I would be buying my own drinks.

It came to me as I chewed my grizzly-Chinese-chicken sample from the food court. I would pop my ‘Forever 21’ cherry. I pushed through the crowds of pre-teen girls and the moms who tried to dress like them, and found the perfect top. It was a flattering green and white striped tank top, which I planned on pairing with a short, frayed denim skirt over a pair of grey spandex leggings. I must have been spending a little too much quality time with Kathy.

It was getting late and I raced home to shower and get ready. I washed my hair, shaved my armpits and then I looked down. To trim or not to trim? As I was not about to chance razor-burn on an unreliable suitor, I decided to go au naturale. I changed into my tank top and sucked in. Not bad, I thought. I threw my curls up into a messy pony tail, put on some makeup and at the advice of my mother, poured a strong cocktail while I sat at the kitchen table and waited for Stan. He was twenty minutes late, and tardiness doesn’t fly with Mom.. “Even if he is straight, I don’t like him already!” she protested as I ran out the door.

Then, something unexpected happened. Stan got out of his shiny, new Beamer and opened the door for me. Okay, he might be straight. Or maybe folks from the U.S.S.R are just really polite. He looked good, but for some reason my attraction just wasn’t as strong outside of the gym. Why couldn’t he have worn his personal trainer tee shirt and carried some free weights? I would have even settled for one of those huge, bouncy balance balls. I guess my personal trainer fantasy had gotten the best of me, but I figured a few drinks and he would be Hulk Hogan.

We made a quick pit stop at Wawa to meet up with a car full of his alleged ‘guy friends’, and Stan went inside to purchase some Trident strawberry-kiwi gum. Fruity gum for a fruity guy? Perhaps. Conversation flowed easily as we made the twenty-six minute journey down to Red Bank. Stan talked about the health benefits of egg whites and Creatine shakes, while I tried to decide whether I would start with a Martini or a Gin and Tonic.

When we got to Ashes, I saddled right up to the bar to scan the drink list. Stan stood behind me, and told me to order two of whatever I was getting. I bravely chose a $12 Gloria Estefan, an orange-flavored Mojito, in hopes that I would not be the one paying. Two votes for straight, as he whipped out his MasterCard. I took the next few minutes to analyze his buddies. Three were checking out the girls. The forth was bordering on ambiguously homosexual, while I was bordering on extreme paranoia. What are those statistics again? Is it two out of every five guys are gay? I forget.

The drinks kept coming. I downed one more Gloria, three Coronas and two shots of Soco and lime. I was wasted, stumbling and praying that I would not pee my spandex. Stan was doing the white-boy shuffle. Maybe he shouldn’t have been so quick to quit the Ecstasy. While the details are fuzzy, I do recall him holding my hand. Or maybe he was just holding me up so I didn’t have to crawl to the bathroom. Either way, there was some definite flirtation. At some point Stan stopped drinking. As I had no intentions of being the designated driver, I kept on chugging.

The next thing I can remember is waking up in his car, my ass on fire from the heated seats. We were back in Old Bridge, in front of my house to be exact. I said a quick, sloppy “I’ll see you at the gym” and staggered down my driveway. He didn’t hold the door open, try to kiss me, or even put his hand down my pants. Gay! I knew it, but I didn’t care. I was completely hammered, famished and more concerned about what leftovers would be in the fridge.

Rock bottom, I thought to myself as I stood in front of the open refrigerator door stuffing my face with cold, chopped steak and mac and cheese. At least points don’t count when you’re drunk! After the binge, I struggled up the stairs, threw my shirt on the floor and fell into bed. I desperately wanted to brush the meaty feast out of my teeth, but I thought that throwing the flavor of Colgate into the mix might have caused me to vomit. I closed my eyes and drifted into a comatose sleep.

“Be my lover. Got to be my lover! Da-da-da-dee-da-da-da-da.” Ugh. What the? Oh, text message. It was from Stan.

“Thanks for the compliments and the good time. Had a blast. I must say I wanted to kiss you, but hate when alcohol is involved”

Why are you blaming your unclear sexuality on alcohol? And compliments? What compliments? I certainly did not tell him he was a good dancer. And he’s not gay? Lord help me. I proceeded to the toilet to throw up and figure out how my life had come down to determining other people’s sexual preferences.

I woke up and felt so awful I convinced myself that I miscarried in my sleep. My hair resembled Krusty the Clown, mascara ran down my face and my gut protruded ever so nicely over my too-tight leggings. I put on a shirt and stumbled downstairs for a cup of coffee.

My mom looked up from the Wedding Section of the Sunday Times.

“So, is he gay?” she asked.

I shrugged my shoulders. “Maybe he’s bi?”

You, Me and MSG

Some women say that they can tell a lot about a man by his taste in music. Others, in his choice of shoes or ties. For a select few it’s the car he drives, the cologne he wears or the way his bathroom is decorated. “Wow, look at his beautiful array of monogrammed hand towels… he must get along great with his mother AND be good in bed!” However, being myself, a nice Jewish girl from an overly Jewish set of parents, I can tell if I like a man by the way he eats. Likes sushi? Adventurous! Into the fatty, greasy bacon cheeseburgers? Manly man, bonus points. Coffee lover? Sensitive, maybe TOO sensitive but we’ll give it a try. I steer clear of any consumption of veggie burgers, turkey burgers and main course salads. Don’t get me wrong, I love salad, I absolutely do. But please, just have a small version (with full-fat dressing, please!) before your big, manly fat-burger, THANKS!

So, I’m sure you’re not surprised when I decided to meet Mr. at a local Italian restaurant. I didn’t know all too much about him, but I figured a few glasses of wine would help the flow of conversation. Wait, I should rewind and tell you what I knew about him pre-dinner. He’s 26, a Jew, allergic to MSG (and I don’t mean the nosebleed seats at the garden!) and is way too into cars. He has four. Why would you own four cars? Okay, maybe if you’re Little Bow Wow and Cribs is coming over to tape you, your car for each season that you can’t even drive yet and your Coors Light-filled fridge that you’re not even old enough to drink yet! Apparently, one of his cars is old and purple. Two are pick-ups (Are u SURE you’re Jewish?) and the last is a sexy red Beamer. Interesting selection. Prior to meeting him, he sent me photos of his cars, not himself. That should have been a warning in itself, but who am I to judge?

Dinner is at 9:30. I am fuckin’ staaaaaarving and in need of a drink. Oh and of course, just as I expected… he’s a lot cuter in his photos. Well, maybe not the Beamer! That looked pretty great in person. About 3 minutes into the date, I knew I was doomed. “Would you like something to drink, Miss?” “Do you have a wine list?” “No, it’s actually BYOB.” SHIT! Damn you, restaurant review website for not warning me! Diet Coke it is.

He’s nervous, I can tell. You know how I can tell? He tells me. It’s about 95 degrees outside and he’s just a tad too sweaty looking for my liking. THEN the kicker. “I’m not even that hungry, it’s just TOO hot out!” Okay, then why are we here? Again, I’m fucking starving and my fat-free dressing-laced salad I had at 2 o’ clock just ain’t doing the trick. I dive head first into the breadbasket, while he sits there looking nervous, sweaty and talking about cars. His cars, the cars he works with and oh why is there a large, scary dent in the side of MY car? Oh, apparently it can be fixed if I would like ‘his car people’ to look at it. Sure thing, buddy. Sounds like it would require another date, maybe even 2… EEK!

The specials sound really good and I’m totally thinking I might go for the shrimp ravioli, or maybe the scallops. Oh, you don’t like seafood? Not even shrimp? Ah Ha! Definitely NOT sushi. He’s getting some hybrid chicken/sausage combo that he can’t pronounce. He doesn’t even try to pronounce it actually. He just points his finger to it on the menu, and tells the waiter “The Chicken… Ssss…Sca….Scarrp” Oh, no. C’mon, give it a try. Sound it out, I promise it’s not too hard! I give him a few bonus points for the manly-esque meats, but I quickly take them back for the lack of effort.

I’m not digging this guy, but at least there are no awkward silences. Thank god. Usually no alcohol on a first date is a complete death sentence but we’re actually not doing too badly. You know why? He always goes on sober dates, because he doesn’t like to drink! “I don’t like the way it makes me feel.” HAHAHAH, excuse me? HELP!

The plates arrive and I’m glad because now we can talk less… about cars. I ask him about his MSG allergy and discovered it gives him hives and swollen lips. Hmmm… that could be hot. Perhaps I should’ve suggested Hunan Wok. Now this next part is just unbelievable. I want you to know I’m laughing right now, because I had to hold it in all through dinner and it was just too monumental. His chicken was sitting in an especially oily, greasy mess and GUESS WHAT? “For some reason, greasy food makes my nose itch.” He warned me… you know, in case I was wondering why he was incessantly scratching his nostrils throughout the entire meal! At one point in the date, he asked me if he had something in his nose. Shit, I must have been staring, but that’s all he could do. Chew his chicken and scratch, scratch, scratch!

He redeemed himself by ordering us peanut butter gelato and telling a few entertaining stories that finally didn’t revolve around cars or food allergies. I feel bad, he’s a nice guy, sure… but I just didn’t realize someone could be so strange, or at least let it show in the span of one and a half hours!

We parted ways with a polite hug and an “I’ll talk to you soon”, but not until he got an up close and personal look at the dent in my car. Thanks for the advice buddy, and sorry about your nose.


Cheetos and Fritos and Doritos, OH MY!

In case you’ve been in asleep in your cubicle for the past 14 years, you should know that you are in the presence of a highly esteemed political figure. I, Ms. Jessica Harris Winston, was the very first, or rather the only President of the Eating Club. I know. Harris. Who gives their cherubic, little puffy-cheeked daughter the middle name Harris? I certainly didn’t own a penis, live in an active adult community r wet my Depends at the thought of the early-bird special at the Old Country Buffet. However, my parents claimed that it was the only name they liked that began with an H. Maybe the names Hillary and Hannah didn’t come about until late 1985.

I was one of those kids lucky enough to endure the excruciating pain of being the youngest sibling of three. Emily, my elder by seven years combines the fashion sense of your sixth grade math teacher with the brains of Doogie Howser. Now, with all of the recent publicity it seems like she and Neil Patrick Harris have a bit more in common then I originally thought. Senior year at Cornell, Emily pulled an Ellen. We had all assumed her heterosexuality up until that point, but for some reason the news was about as shocking as finding out that overdosing on Taco Bell gives you diarrhea. Mom responded with an “Oh, that’s nice. At least I won’t have to pay for another wedding!” and now she tells the world about her daughter’s ‘partner’ and thinks Lesbianism is as trendy as a pair of Ugg Boots.

Emily was my Mr. Myagi. I held her responsible for teaching me all of the important things in life. At about the age of 9, Emily inquired,

“Jessie, do you spit or swallow?”

“What do you mean? I, uh, I guess I do both!” I nervously replied.

“No way, you can’t do both! You have to pick one. Is it SPIT, or SWALLOW?”

“I guess I do both?"

Wrong answer.

Sarah is four years older then I am, and an excellent example of the Marsha Brady syndrome. She might as well have worn a Geisha outfit and bowed down to my parents because she was certainly the favorite, not to mention she always had boyfriends clinging to her like a bad case of Herpes. We act alike, sound alike and many people say we even look alike. Except for one minor detail. She is Nicole Richie, and I am Carnie Wilson. Post-Gastric Bypass, but still Carnie Wilson. Maybe I got a chubby sperm with a pokey metabolism, or perhaps my egg had a thing for big, beefy men. Or maybe, just maybe it was the long-lasting effects of the Eating Club.

I was El Presidente of the Eating Club. How does one attain this ultra-prestigious title? Well as I mentioned before, my sisters loved to tease me. Some days I was forced to me their child-slave, while on other occasions they would attempt to suffocate me with a blanket while simultaneously farting on my face until I begged for mercy. I believe it was Emily who had the genius idea of creating the Eating Club. I’m not sure whether it was out of pure cruelty or if she decided that I needed an extra-curricular activity. I had a brief run-in with soccer and gymnastics, but I guess mom got tired of paying to watch me stand obliviously on the field picking Umbros-induced wedgies out of my butt like I had Down Syndrome. I also attempted ice-skating which lasted a mere 13 minutes, 12 of which I was trying to shove my eggplant sized feet into those awful skates and 1 to decide the ice looked scary and I wanted to go home instead and shove cool ranch Doritos down my throat.

Becoming President wasn’t all fun and games. Getting elected into office was harder then the SATs. I thought that half a box of Milanos would do the trick, but apparently cookies were just not enough for the Winston sisters. In order to be considered ‘cool’ and hang out in the backyard clubhouse with the rest of the club, I really had to start packing it in. So I kept eating! Waffles and ice cream quickly became a breakfast favorite, while I went nuts for salami, provolone and mayo sandwiches for lunch. After-school snack? Box of mini pizza bagels!

"No, you can’t have any, they’re all mine!"
"Mom, is dinner ready yet? I’m starving!!"

My rampant eating habits combined with marathon episodes of Saved by the Bell quickly evoked the growth of a little somethin’ somethin’ right below the home of my future breasts. Emily and Sarah dubbed my fat belly, the ‘Twoogie”. They found it especially fun to surprise with a quick, hard pinch and a loud “TWOOGIE, TWOOGIE!!”

“Why are you guys making fun of me?? I’m cool and I’m the President of the Eating Club!”

I eventually discovered the joys of weight-loss through the Elliptical and fat-free food items, but not without a few more years of Twoogie Torture. To this day, I still blame my childhood chunk on my sisters. However, my adult on-set chunk is a whole other story, which I blame solely on my love of beer and…Milanos.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Poop and Spaghettios

My morning started out as it normally did. Rise at 6:30... or, 6:41 rather. I put on my business casuals(ew), slopped on some eyeshadow/perfume and made sure my hair didn't resemble the jew-fro that it in fact, is. I grabbed a bottle of water, a vanilla yogurt, a half-broken umbrella and my iPod, and hauled ass down to the park-n-ride. My cell read 7:21 AM. Early! In fact, this is not actually early. Every day my original out-the-door goal time is 7:15. However, 98% of the time I'm running out the door at 7:32, so 7:21... it's an early sort of late, i'll take it! Smooth sailin' as I hopped onto the NJ Trans and made my way up the turnpike without hitting any rainstorms/traffic/smelly indians falling asleep on me. It's going to be a good day!
I got to Port Authority at 8:35, giving me the perfect amount of time for a subway ride and a quick stop at Ess-A-Bagel for my vat-o-caffeine before making my way into work at 9. My average bed-to-desk arrival time is appox. 9:20am. Is it wrong that I still stop to buy coffee when I'm late? I would like some thoughts on this. Anyway, the commuting Gods were smiling down upon me as i hurried to catch the E train uptown. Sigh. The E train. How i despise the E train during rush hour. It's seriously like the running of the bulls. Hurl yourself through the crowd of suits and force your body to fit in the tiny spot between a European lady smelling of expired falafel and a Mexi dressed appropriately in a matching Corona hat, t-shirt and bag. With no pole in sight, stand with legs shoulder-width apart and balance like you're in Pilates class.
As I made it down the subway stairs, I noticed something odd. Everyone on the E train was getting off. This was more unsettling then the time I puked up my pastrami sandwich from Michael's Deli in the Menlo Park mall food court. What's going on? Terrorists? Murder? Nope. Apparently there had been some subway-mishap at 59th and Lex and the gigantic herd of E-trainers had to find a new route to make it to their destination. Time check: 8:54AM.
I went upstairs and began searching for a subway map. If i was smart, I would carry one with me. But unfortunately, i'm not. After walking around for a good portion of 8 minutes, I didn't come across a single map. What the fuck? Why can't I find a map in the subway station? I thought back to living in London- the enormous maps posted at every corner accompanied by clear, legible signs that even a Kindergartener could understand. 9:07AM.
I'm sweating profusely. I'm walking underground in a winter coat, carrying a Mastiff sized purse and not quite sure where i'm going.
I chanced it on the 7 train. The air was not working on the 7 train and I sweat some more. Luckily, I found myself somewhat closer to work, yet still looking at a solid 10-12 minute walk. Plus my coffee.
I hop off the train at Grand Central, and lucky me- the escalator isn't running. This is no run of the mill escalator, either. This is the Mt. Everest of escalators and by the time i reach the top i am excrutiatingly hungry, sweaty and nauseous.
I stopped for a moment to catch my breath, popped open my disabled umbrella and proceeded to Third ave. Walking around NYC when it's raining is an abortion. For some reason, i always unknowingly choose flip flops on these days, and end up with soaking, blackened feet. I trudge through the sea of umbrellas, trying to avoid being poked in the eye or even worse, letting my naked foot slip into a cigarette-infested puddle of street sludge. To make matters even worse this morning, my nostrils were in full force. As i walked, I kept smelling poop. Poop, and then Spaghettios. With meatballs, perhaps the most offensive of all the canned pasta goods. Smelling one, and then the other. Separately, and then simultaneously. Still, I stop for coffee. "Excuse me miss, your lip is bleeding."
Ummmm, what?! That's just great. Up until this point, I thought the bagel-man who whistled at me every morning only understood the words 'cream cheese', 'skim milk' and 'crack'.
I made it into work at 9:45, my latest arrival to date! Thank you, thank you! No applause neccessary. I plopped down at my desk unnoticed, and let out a sigh of relief. I reached into my purse to get my yogurt, only to discover it had exploded onto my notebook, iPod and tampons. Great, time to whip out the reserves. A bag o' stale Kashi and some watermelon Trident.
Can't wait to do it all again tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Just a Spoonful of Splenda

I am both amazed and appalled by how many Splendas/Splenda-liquidy-substances I consume on a daily basis. Today for example, I have ingested Splenda 4 times and it's only 3:30 in the afternoon. This leaves room for at least 3 more, considering I haven't even touched any form of diet-carbonation or sugar-free ice cream yet. I'm slightly concerned about my abusive behavior, but I can't seem to break the addictive cycle. I figure, hey... it's healthier then funneling 8 Keystone Lights followed by 2 slices of size-of-my-face pizza, right? Oh wait, I do that too. Shit.
I wonder if one day there will be such a thing as Splenda-Rehab. I certainly wouldn't mind a 6-week work hiatus to cleanse my system of all the evil f-sugars! Sign me up!

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

Do you remember what old-school Abercrombie & Fitch circa 1995 was like? I certainly do. While I was sporting t-shirts featuring dancing hot dogs, kittens and cheez doodles with matching spandex in every color of the rainbow, my sister Em (with the fashion sense of say... an accountant mixed with a chess player) used to love the Fitch. She basked in the array of oversized striped sweaters in colors ranging from olive to brown. The store was a combo of 'preppy' and 'dumpy', all rolled into one. It reeked of smarty-pants East Coast College kids who actually went to class, nerding it up on the Quad after their 8:30am Biophysics class.

In approximately 2000, A&F went mainstream and began to sell cute graphic tees and comfy sweatpants. They made preppy a little more trendy, not to mention it was WAY fuckin' cooler than Aeropostale.... I still cringe when I walk past one of those. While I was an avid Abercrombie shopper from about 7th grade up until Freshman year of college, I've kind of avoided the whole scene ever since. Mostly because logo shirts make me wanna vom all over the place. Don't even get me started on FCUK or Armani Exchange!

Yesterday I decided to take a stroll along Fifth Ave during my lunch break. I had no particular destination in mind, but for some reason being broke(see "Why I can't move to NYC" for details) makes me feel like being near some intense commerce. I guess it's kind of like watching the Food Network when you're on a diet! Yeah, i'm sure that watching Paula Deen shove 8 sticks of butter into her famous southern pecan pie MIGHT magically satisfy you're cravings. Uhhhhh??

I did a quick in-and-out of Banana and Express and that's when I saw it... a massive Abercrombie & Fitch... with 2 half-naked models standing in the entrance. I was definitely intrigued, and decided to see what kind of merchandise they've been selling these days. Guess what? Logo shirts! Logo hoodies! Logo PANTS! $59.95 hooded sweatshirts behind glass cases!!! Are they serious? I actually need to ask that anorexic 16 year old in the ass-length jean skirt if I can touch that crappy piece of cotton made by a toddler in Taiwan? And holy shit, have you been inside one of these places lately?? It felt like I showed up at a party that I DEFINITELY was not invited to! And what's with the nauseating techno music? I mean, I thought I looked great until I stepped into that store. As the half naked meet-and-greeters silently critiqued my hair, body and fashion sense, I felt like I stuck out like say...SHAMOO at a 'Little People' Convention. Plus, I can't believe they even have that job. I'm guessing A&F is NOT an Equal Opportunity Employer, if ya know what I mean! I imagine their interview process works just like this:
1. Count to 10.
2. Recite the Alphabet.
3. Prove that you're white.
and then they whip out the body fat calibrator... pinch more than an inch and you're outta here!!

never again...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Commuting for Cocktails

In college I learned that the first thing an entrepreneur needs to look for is an opportunity. However, in the land of public transportation, all of the entrepreneurs are passed the fuck out on their commute... except me! The NJ transit, my fave and yours, gets me from Old Bridge, NJ to Midtown Manhattan in about one hour... NEVER less and usually more. Any hint of inclement weather, perhaps some wind ::GASP:: or a slight drizzle and i'm impatiently sitting in the Lincoln Tunnel for an extra 20 minutes. It's mind boggling, really... and this is why i'm thinking it would be a good idea to move out pre-January. I'm sure those snow storms are a real gem for the bridge & tunnel crowd... gross!
Anyway, commuting basically takes a big, fat 2-3 hour chunk out of my day and forces me to nap, read or listen to some tunes while I try to remain unconscious for as long as possible. Cell phone usage is shunned--believe me, i've been SHHHHHHHH'd at more times then i'd like to admit! Awww... i'm sorry, Did I interrupt your 5:45PM nap? Oh, my bad! What are you, a 5 year old? My bus manners have greatly improved since, but once in a while I still get that urge to be 'really loud obnoxious cell phone girl'!
You know what? The commute really blows. I'm sick of smelly, snoring old men falling on top of me as the driver takes the sharp curve to exit the Turnpike ramp. Also, I can't stand to see people doing work on their laptops on the way home. Dude, didn't you JUST leave work? I don't know about you, but when I leave work at 5pm, my brain rejects any thought of it again until 9am the next day. Hmmm... make that 10am. I need an extra hour for granola bars, coffee and zoning out.
I propose a change! I want to revolutionize the raunchy ass commute and turn it into something to look forward to every day... So here goes!

1. Happy Hour/Meet & Greet:
I see the same faces every single day and I've MAYBE spoken to 2 people. One being this ridiculously gropey/annoying guy I knew from High School who proceeded to ask me for my number (hope he likes Dominos...) The other was a super friendly Indian man who wanted to play 20 questions...which was fine. But, let me ask you this. At what point is it acceptable to stop talking to this stranger and resume reading/napping/zoning? Do i need to ask his name? What is stranger-meeting etiquette if i'm not interested in banging him?? It's always a predicament!
Anyway, I think each bus should be fully equipped with a Stewardess... JUST KIDDING, i mean a bus attendant! With a cute little rolling booze-cart. I would love to sip on a Gin and Tonic first thing after work without having to stay late in the city! NJ transit presents... HAPPY HOUR! A buzzed commute is a happy commute, don't you agree? Fellow commuters can network, make new friends and even some potential hook-ups! Well, I might not want to partake in the hooking up considering the median male age on my bus seems to fall between 42 and 50... hmmm, although maybe I can meet a sugar daddy! Then i won't have to commute at all! "Dinner will be ready at 6:45, honey! I know how you work up a big apetite while you get wasted at Bus Happy Hour!" :)

2. Entertainment:
I'm sick and tired of seeing commuters watching movies on their portable DVD players (jealous!!) or on their tiny fucking iPod screen. (Still jealous!) I propose we get a couple of sweet ass flat screens- one for the front of the bus and one for the middle. Let's bond and watch a movie together! Just think... it'd be cute. We can all gasp simultaneously the moment Keanu and Sandra realize that they just can't slow down the bus!! And we can all giggle when Harold & Kumar can't find the White Castle... maybe we could even pass around a few blunts for that one? Okay... i may be pushing it, but you catch my drift!

3. My last idea is quite possibly the best, although it involves complete renovations and some pretty unappealing spandex-clad bodies. mmmm, love handles. FITNESS CLASS! C'mon... I mean after I get home from work and eat dinner, it's already 7:30 or 8 o' clock. My motivation dwindles and I just wanna get in my jammy jams and watch Wife Swap, Project Runway or whatever other hideous reality show is on! (By the way, did you hear The Bachelor is making a comeback??? so pumped!) SO, if i got to burn some cals on my ride home, I could spend the rest of my evening without feeling like a lazy lard-ass who is only capable of sitting at desks and on buses. Just gotta wipe out all the seats and replace 'em with mats, get a few free weights and hire a yoga instructor! Piece o' cake! Dangerous? Perhaps, but so is being fat and sedentary... so I figure what the hell...Let's give it a try!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Why I'm not ready to move to NYC... $11 salads

When I first accepted my job last month, I immediately started my hunt for an affordable (or at least somewhat affordable) apartment in the NYC area. I imagined myself jogging through Central Park, meeting friends out for sushi on the Upper East Side and of course, getting wasted in the Village without worrying when the last bus leaves from Port Authority... or at least having to find a cute, single guy to let me share his bed for a few hours! I call this the 'Jewish American Dream', because it's all fucking impossible...if you make 28 grand a year and DAD-AY (daddy, for all you non-jews) isn't about to shell out $1,000+ bucks per month.
I scanned Craig's List apartment listings like it was my job...well, actually, I was doing this WHILE i was supposed to be doing my actual job. Oh, c'mon... you do it too! I mean, yeah... I do my work, but if i'm gonna stare at a computer for 7 hours a day you can bet your ass i'm gonna spend some sweet ol' quality time with my Internet Explorer. Besides, celeb gossip is always a hot lunch topic & i've got to be prepared. "Damnnn, did you see Lindsay Lohan's vag?? fuckin raunch, dude"
My only complaint is that I can't sign into MySpace, Facebook or Instant Messenger. When I open up my Gmail at work to find I have new MySpace messages, it drives me absolutely nuts! I want to check it so bad... but impossible!! I sunk to a new low last week when I received a message from a guy I had hooked up with the previous weekend. I swear... not being able to check that message was mental torture. It was just sitting there...waiting to be read. It was only 10am and since I don't get home until 6:30, I was desperate. Thank god for friends with unlimited internet access ...specifically friends that understand the need to Internet-stalk!! Within minutes, Krystal e-mailed me my message... and as unthrilling as the content of it was... i felt like a bad ass. i beat the system!!... OH, and i'm pathetic :)
Back to my apartment search. I knew I didn't want to spend more than $800/month on rent. OH BOY! Guess where I can live?! Let's see... there's Harlem, specifically of the Spanish variety. I can also live in various parts of Brooklyn, i.e. with the H&H in Williamsburg (not the bagels, i'm talkin' bout Haseids & Hipsters). Oh, and don't forget about good ol' NEW JERSEY! Which honestly, i wouldn't mind at all if that included Hoboken. However, I was laughed at by several brokers upon telling them my budget... so there goes that one. I actually saw a beautiful apartment in Union City, NJ. Ever been to Union City??? No? Please don't start now!! The area is abot 90% Hispanic and somewhat frightening for a young, white girl from the 'burbs. The only advantages I saw included cheap spanish food and the chance of shocking my parents with my very first inter-racial relationship!! Hmmm... I bet that would freak them into paying my rent in Manhattan... i'm gonna remember this one!
So, I decided to call it quits after seeing one too many dissapointing apartments... crusty-ass, old, dishwasherless living quarters with one bathroom for four people! I mean, if i'm gonna spend half of my salary to move out, it AIN'T gonn be to one of those dumps.
I've come up with a new plan! I'm gonna suck it up and live home for a while. It's what everyone has been telling me to do, but i've had serious blinders on. What's not to love about Old Bridge, anyway? We've got every fast food joint imaginable, not to mention like 6 nudie bars! Helppppppp....!
Anyway, i'm gonna save money, right?? That's what I thought. When my first paycheck arrived, I was thrilled! Sugar plum fairies holding up large dollar signs danced in my head. With no rent, utilities or grocery expenses...damn, i'm gonna be well dressed!! For the next week, Craig's List was replaced by Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Bloomies. I shopped during my lunch break--not to mention Pumpkin Spice Lattes galore and those fabulous little chopped salads that have like an 80% markup. The other day I spent $11... on a salad. Fuckin' whores... But, who cares?! I'm a baller now... All of a sudden I LOVE living home! Pass the potatoes mommy, it's gonna be a long ride!! Oh, you like my cardigan?? Thanks... it was only $120! Let's go out for spicy tuna rolls... my treat!! This manic behavior went on for approximately 2 weeks... until last night.
I have a sad, sad confession to make. Last night was the first time I've ever seen my credit card statement. It's true... I think I had a Visa before I even had my period. Pardon my gross visual! My jaw dropped as I logged into my account... i've already spent $1,000!?? But! But! I only bought a few measly sweaters and some food! I haven't even started on pants or jewelry yet!! Not to mention a new winter coat... UH-OH...
I suddenly felt deflated. Deflated and poor. I've already started to spend my next paycheck... ouch! I stared blankly at my and trying to figure out when it all went wrong. When did i become such a big fucking jap?

So now I have to live home AND budget my money? I miss my care-free college days.... Grad school, anyone?!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What could be better then a 6 day job??

No, no! you're not seeing things... believe it or not... i was HIRED! hooray, wahoooo ! Luckily they didn't check MySpace and discover that photo of the thong-clad stripper (mmmm Billy the Kid) giving me a birthday hump or even my fascinating hobbies of bong smoking and binge drinking... SCORE!

For some really strange reason I was excited when the scary FAO Schwarz HR guy called me at 6pm(<--Foreshadowing!) on a Friday night and offered me a job as a merchandise analyst... my first thought after accepting was... SHOPPING! my current wardrobe is completely unacceptable for the working world, right?? besides, i'd be making sweet money soon enough so why not spend $1000 bucks on shoes, clothes and a sexy ass betsy johnson bag 2 weeks before i even start... a genius idea, really. Well, soon enough the misery commuting to nyc began, and SURPRISE... they want my entry-level, low-payed ass to stay in the office till 8 o clock at night... sorry folks, i don't DO overtime, at least not without getting paid for it... and what's the point of wearing my cute new FCUK skirts if the only ones to appreciate them are the smelly bums on the C train?! At least i got an unlimited suppy of diet coke and access to a fabulous little espresso maker.. sigh.

6 days into it, i quit. i'm such a hard worker, I know!!... but hey, at least i got paid now i have more time to.. umm.. blog? and sleep? sweet!

So yes, here I am... back to unemployment, craigslist, endless cover letters, and trying to figure out what color my parachute is...or some shit like that? It's funny because I think i'm having a case of multiple job personality disorder. i want to be something new every day! let's see.. first there was assistant buyer, marketer, PR girl but then i thought... those hours might suck too! soo then i decided maybe i'd get my teacher certification, at least they get out at 3!! then the next morning i woke up and thought i had a fantastic idea... i'd be a massage therapist!! after convincing my mom that a massage therapist doesn't NECESSARILY jerk off her clients, i decided to inquire with a school up in westfield... it actually seemed kind of cool, but then i thought about all of the hairy, fat, nasty, wrinkly backs i'd be feeling up all day and poof! that job is out...
any suggestions??

Monday, June 05, 2006

Passed Out in the Parking Lot

Okay... this morning was ridiculous. I'm driving to my gyno appointment around 9 a.m. and right when I'm like 2 minutes away I started feeling kinda nauseous and dizzy. So I pull into the parking lot, and i'm like holy shit, i'm freakin dizzzzzzzzy! I get out of the car and faint in the parking lot. Right outside Starbucks. Luckily, a man was driving by and he picked me up and carried me into the doctor's office. I hadn't had anything to eat except a banana but nothing to drink and the hot paramedic man said it was low blood pressure. I caused such a scene, I felt like a local celebrity. As soon as the helpful stranger got me into the waiting room, I collapsed in a heap on the floor! All because I jumped out of bed too quick and ONLY ate a banana. Who woulda thunk it? I had a stretcher and everything. I swear I could've been saved if I had just made it into Starbucks for my Tall Nonfat Sugar-free Vanilla Latte. Latte's are lifesavers. That should be their new advertisement slogan. Starring ME, local fainting banana-eating celebrity.
So they take me to the hospital and after two hours they determine I'm perfectly fine but... AM I PREGNANT? Uhhh.. since when did fainting mean I got knocked up? I swear... the parademics asked me, the nurses asked me and THEN the doctor! I was like wow, maybe I've got that guilty pregnant look on my face! So i tell them, 'Well... I mean it's not OUT of the question but I really don't think I am". You would think they would just ask me to pee in a cup and look for the little red line... or is it a blue line? I'm not sure, but anyhoo they take blood! Then they make me wait an additional hour to tell me No, I'm not pregnant! Thanks for the concern. They told my mom they were just taking precaution because I'm at the 'right age' to be pregnant? What the hell does that mean?? Can't you be pregnant anytime between getting your first and last period?? I'ts like going to the health center at school. When you tell them you have a funky rash on your ass or a bad cold they automatically give you a pregnancy test and an STD screening. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And so it begins...

I was shocked. There's no way my parents could be THAT chill with my current state of joblessness. "Relax, Jessie... Come home, hang out, go to the beach... you'll find a job." Coming from an overbearing Jewish mother, I never thought I would hear those words. So that's what I'm doing. Wake up around 11. Drink coffee, have a nosh and watch a little Food Network or perhaps What Not to Wear. When I've had enough, I drag my ass 5 minutes down the road to the gym. Gotta love the those little TVs they attach to every cardio machine. I would never make it through without those babies. So I watch a little Oprah, burn some of last nights beer calories and stare at the senior citizen who is in far better shape then me and then at the greasy Jersey-shore style Guido in the wife beater with enough hair gel to fill up my Poland Spring bottle. This is the most productive point of my day. Gotta love unemployment.
I fill the rest of afternoons plowing through that graduation money... shit. Yeah... I really needed that trip to Short Hills mall last weekend like I need a Big Mac and super-sized fries. Right. I love to rationalize my purchases. I think 'Well, hey at least i'm not a cheap jew!" But then I realize that most of the time I'm spending my parents money. WHOOPS.
Ok. Back to my daily routine. I love to spend a solid chunk of my day on Craig's List looking for jobs out in SanFran or Boston. 2-5 years experience? Uhhh.. does my 8 week internship count or perhaps the 2 weeker I did in London where I hungoverly painted a wall and organized business cards? The only shit I see on there for entry-level are egregious sounding tele-marketing jobs. Oh and if I really want I can be Assistant Manager of a Party City or a Starbucks barista! Wow... really gonna put that $120,000 degree to good use! I actually got a call about being a coffee sample girl in SanFran for $14-$18 an hour. Sadly enough, I'm contemplating it. $18 an hour to pour coffee into cups?! I wouldn't even be steaming soy milk, blending or chai-ing! I wrote in my cover letter that I'm 'Passionate' about coffee. I love telling HR people that I'm passionate. I applied to a job right after that to this earthy-crunchy store out in Berkeley and told them i'm 'Passionate' about saving the environment. HAHAH. Cut to last night. "Hey, Jess... where's your recycling bin?" My recycling WHAT?! Classic.
I gotta run. It's almost two... I bet I can find something good on those little gym TVs.