Thursday, August 27, 2009


crying woman

Here is another instance of the differences between men and women.  Men don't go out of their way to cry and they certainly wouldn't pay money and bring along a carefully prepped small ziplock bag filled with Kleenex to the movie theater.  (The ziplock bag keeps the Kleenex from getting dirty, because yes, there are sites out there that tell you the best way to carry your Kleenex around.) 

And now I'm one of them.  Damn.

Moving swiftly along,  there is a genre of movies, books and blogs that exist in the "tearjerker" category.   Unabashedly sentimental, pulling on your heart strings, gushy sweet things that cause your eyes to swell up and transparent drippy snot to come out  of your nose.

Even better is a tearjerker book that is turned into a movie, like My Sister's Keeper.  Then you can cry twice.  Sweet.  Through your tears you can shakily gasp out how the book was different from the movie because they changed the ending.  But you still cried.  Obviously.

If you're uncertain if you are seeing a tearjerker, check for the dead dude.  Every once in a while, if I am trying to maneuver my husband into seeing a tearjerker, I tell him about the movie and try to entice him by mentioning the hot chick in the movie, if there is one.  (By the way, pickings are slim in the Tearjerker + Hot Lead Actress category.)

These are the movies I am itching to rent on DVD (even I wouldn't be so idiotic as to try to make him pay for an $8 movie ticket -  I figure the low rental cost balances out the "2-plus-hours-of-my-life-I-wasted-on-that-rubbish" response that I am almost guaranteed to hear afterward.)
Usually the title is the dead giveaway, though (dead giveaway, get it?  huh huh?)  and Karl pulls out the Death-O-Meter:

"Is someone dying in this movie?" (Instantly his Death-O-Meter has swung over to "Doornail" setting.)

(Me frantically avoiding eye contact:)  "Um, maybe.  I haven't seen it yet."

(This is usually a lie, I saw it in the theater with girlfriends but now would like to really sob it out in the privacy of my own home.  Also, I might have missed some of the sappy dialog and I have to support fellow writers so really, it's my duty to watch P.S. I love you again.)
 "Did you read the book?"

Confess?  Never.  Demure some more.  "I read a lot of books."

 "Well, I don't want to watch it."

If someone croaks, it's okay to cry.  If they allude to someone croaking (a life-threatening or incurable illness, especially in a little kid) it's definitely okay to cry.  If an offshoot character dies in order to bring the two leads together again - sob away.  It's also very acceptable to start crying if a beloved family pet dies.  If you start tearing up when you hear those Irish flutes playing Celine Dion's "My heart will go on" in Titanic (even though you hate Celine Dion and it's totally against your will) - still, I wouldn't judge you.

But if you're weeping at 27 Dresses, you're reading way too much into that movie.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009



Scratch that.  We hate dieting.  We'd actually love it if that super skinny bitch at the gym that you hope is anorexic-even-though-you-know-she-really-isn't would gain 10 lbs.  Even better would be 20 lbs.  Or at least get a pimple or something.  Throw us a fricking bone.

But if you're a woman, you've been on a diet.  It's the rite of fat passage that no one ever tells you about when you are five that eventually you will have to go through.  No one ever sat me down and said:

"Now Tara, we're going to talk about your BMI."
"What's BMI?" I am 10 or 12 or 15 and on the whole, not very interested in abbreviated words.
"Body Fat Index.  Now, you're alright now (dubious glance at my thick thighs) but one day you will have to go on a diet.  Now, they teach you about food and nutrition at school, don't they?  You exercise in gym class?  And you love your hulu hoop.  Now, just keep your metabolism high and forget about that bag of Halloween candy, that's confiscated.  Oh and remember food isn't love.  Let's see, anything else?  Right, your hormones (shifts uncomfortably from one foot to the other.)  Yeah, those.  Um...well, once a month you're probably going to want to pig out on chocolate and chinese food (in that order); you should test your iron levels, maybe.  Don't go too far, you need to strike a good balance.  Better to be closer to the thin border than the fat border, though.  There's a range (starving self conjures up images of this range, hopefully where there's a chicken I can strangle or at the very least a cheese wheel I can frisk away to munch on top of a hay bale and eat until my heart's content...or my stomach's content, whichever comes first).  But apparently this "range" isn't about high yield maxi-farming, worse luck for me.  It's about healthy weight (which conjures up images of shucking corn, acres and acres of corn you have to walk barefooted through on a hot dry day with no end in sight.)  If that sounds like a dismal existance; trust me, it is.
But no one did have that conversation with me.   All they said was that I was cute and fine just the way I was (although looking at some old family photos, the cute part was definitely "in the eye of the beholder".)   Or when I got braces, at least they can console you with the fact it's temporary.

People have the same attitude towards fat - it's a temporary setback, nothing that a few days or weeks of dieting and exercising wouldn't cure.  Rest up and eat now, it's going to be a long haul,  but - cue Little Orphan Annie singing the chubby girl national anthem - Tomorrow, we are getting down to business. 

And we do get down to business.  And it is a business.  Not just zillions of weight-loss places that will gladly take your money for common sense stuff that you can pull for free off the internet, but all the behind-the-scenes footage that goes on.  Menu planning, grocery shopping, calorie counting, fat counting, counting how many calories are burned during a work out, making a cheerful ticker as your signiture on that board you frequent to show the world that you're engaged in this grizzly bear struggle against obesity armed with a Lean Cuisine and a salad bowl full of good intentions.

You also come armed with startling, semi-scientific facts that you have gleaned during your struggle with adversity.  They may be real facts.  You haven't checked them out.  They sounded good and are buoyantly reassuring and who can gainsay that?  Who would dare willingly come within a ten-foot radius of a known dieting woman?  If someone dared tease the lioness, they would soon run away making small dog "yip yip yip yip" noises after being torn a new one, and that's a fact.*

*This is not a verifible fact due to insufficent research done in the area.  Apparently there was a lack of volunteers willing to test this theory.  Thus, it remains unproven. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore Picture

The queen of chick flicks (or at least one of the reigning princesses) - women like Drew Barrymore.  Aside from her obvious acting ability, she's got all the qualities people look for in a celebrity.    Women especially like that she's not drop-dead gorgeous.  She's cute, yes.  But ask any man his Top Five Women from his "gimme" list and Drew's name is conspicuosly absent.  Kate Beckinsale, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Carmen Electra - these are the names and images that men like to conjure up when thinking of some hot celebrity bent on ravaging their poor (but distended) flesh.

Ask any man about Drew.  It ranges from "meh, she's alright" to "oh yeah, I forgot about her.  She's got a pretty hot body, right?"  Her girl-next-door look gives her a quality women like:  accessibility.

Plus, she had issues.  Oh, poor Drew, did she ever have issues.  A shitty childhood that landed her in rehab at the age of 13, a few failed relationships and a hasty "what was that all about" marriage to Tom Green.  Whatever.  We could forgive her choice in those fugly men, even though we knew she deserved better and was worth more.  What woman doesn't see the beacon of insecurity in another woman as our own personal Bat Signal and swoop in to help?  These things made us like her even more.

Shee also had problems with her Mom.  "Hey, I have problems with my Mom, too!"  or if not your Mom, certainly your mother-in-law.  And if you're ridiculously happy with your Mom and your mother-in-law, you can go here.   Otherwise, you know that Drew Barrymore has that quality called relatability, which not only endures her to the masses, but translates into box office gold.