Monthly Archives: February 2012

Santa Fe: Or, Dreams Come True, Yes They Do

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I’m going to go out on a limb here. On this day after the Oscars when people are celebrating excellence in film, debating whether or not George should have FINALLY won or if Meryl should have won AGAIN, and just where and how they can see The Artist (and you totally should because it’s AMAZING), I’d like to make a bold statement that will doubtless be the subject of much controversy.

 

Newsies is one of the greatest films of our time.

 

Okay, so granted the plot doesn’t make much sense, and neither does Ann Margaret’s accent; most of the characters are 2-dimensional (at best) and there’s a marked lack of a strong female presence in the film (I mean, Sarah? Really? Sarah?); the historical information is Disney-fied in a way that makes Pocahontas seem like a documentary in comparison; and Robert Duvall turns in a performance that is both bewildering and frightening. But there are a few saving graces. Aside from the incredible score, the rousing dance numbers, and the inexplicable charms of Spot Conlon, there is one thing that absolutely makes this film for me:

 

“Santa Fe.” 

 

Why, you might ask, do I love this number so much? Well, gentle reader, believe it or not, it’s not just because I know this young whippersnapper grows up to be Batman. It’s because this is the story of a boy who wishes he was a cowboy, singing (badly) and dancing (worse-ly) in the streets of New York City. He has one dream, and one dream only: Santa Fe. And even though people laugh at him and tell him it’s never going to happen, he wants it so bad that he sings about it– with his eyes closed (which, if you’ve ever seen About a Boy, you know means that he loves something so much he’s forgotten to be cool). He’s just a boy, in a hat, with a dream. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

 

Despite my previous posts, it might surprise you to learn I’m something of a total sap. I cry at EVERYTHING. Just ask my family about the Velveteen Rabbit incident. Actually, don’t, it’s really embarrassing, so just take my word for it—I’m sentimental. Stuff like this warms those icy frozen tendons of my heart. Because all of us at some point have been Jack Kelley, a wannabe cowboy stuck in New York City. We’ve all had some dream that seems impossible, some hope that everyone tells us is never going to come true. And unless your own personal dream is something like ‘learning how to blink’ or ‘drinking a glass of water,’ there have probably been some obstacles along the way that made you feel like this thing you wanted so badly was never going to happen. But today I’m going to share a (warning) schmaltzy, sappy little story with you that has a (spoiler alert) happy ending. Because as of almost two weeks ago, I got my dream.

 

This is the story of Elizabeth, awkward and introverted and weird, who decided when she was a little girl that she wanted to be a writer. Okay, I’m going to stop the third-person thing because it’s a little out there, even for me, but basically imagine me smaller, with pretty much the same haircut and some weird glasses, typing away my first great ‘masterpiece’: a novel that was a combination of Star Wars and Star Trek in which (spoiler alert) the Millennium Falcon gets caught in a black hole and ends up in the same universe as the Star Trek: Enterprise, and Luke and Deanna Troy meet and fall in love (It’s shocking, isn’t it, that I’m still single?). Sadly, I have no idea where that novel ended up, but I think I’m pretty safe in saying that it was absolutely atrocious. HOWEVER, it won me first place in my fourth-grade class writing competition, and as a reward I got to go to McDonald’s with my teacher and get chicken nuggets and an ice cream sundae (I can remember this vividly because it remains the most I’ve ever been paid for any of my writing. Ha! Just kidding. . . kind of . . .)

 

Over the years I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. Songs, plays, TV shows, movies. But no matter what else I was working on, I always went back to my books. So many different stories, so many different characters. What’s funny is that when I first started out, I can remember thinking how brilliant everything I wrote was; and now, the more I’ve done it and the more I’ve learned, the harder it is to think that anything I write is even passably good, much less AMAZING. But everything has been a learning process. I first started submitting when I was 17 and thank my lucky stars that those manuscripts were rejected, because even though I thought I knew everything then, I realize now I didn’t know anything. I went through a lot of the same problems that I thought were unique to me but now I realize are pretty common—starting things but not finishing them, having too many ideas but not enough time, thinking out great plots and characters in my mind but being unable to capture that on paper. At first I guarded everything under lock and key and refused to share; on the few occasions when someone did see something I’d written and offered criticism, I rejected it totally, reassuring myself they were unable to grasp my genius, that they just didn’t “get it.” Actually, this was the mark of an amateur, though I didn’t yet realize it.

 

I can’t quite say where the shift came when I started to get it in my head that if I wanted to be better at this, I had to work at it. Writing once in a while and reading everything in sight were a good start, but they weren’t going to make me into the kind of writer I wanted to be. I started taking classes. I shared my work with other people, and actually listened to critiques on how to make things better (and for a while I went too far in the other direction and listened to EVERYTHING other people I had to say before I learned the hard truth—that it was a fine balance of outside input and trusting my own instincts. Something I am still working to master). I started writing EVERY DAY for AT LEAST TWO HOURS instead of “whenever the muse struck me,” and was astounded to learn that I could actually learn how to channel the muse when I needed it instead of just waiting for it to come (most of the time. Sometimes the muse likes to be ornery and “fart in my general direction.” Which is frankly just gross, muse).  I learned the wonderful tools of outlining and organization, which contrary to my long-held beliefs, did nothing to stunt my creativity, but actually helped to make it 1000 times better (that is a scientific measurement, by the way, not just a random number). I joined writing groups and entered contests. I got a degree in playwriting and another one in screenwriting. And mostly I wrote, wrote, and wrote some more.

 

(For those of you curious about the writing process and that all-important “muse,” this is pretty much it. At least for me, anyway)

 

Gradually, despite the fact that I was now painfully aware of how far I had to go, I started to submit again. And I got a lot of rejections. A LOT of rejections. Occasionally I would have a carrot dangled in front of me and think—this is it! Santa Fe!—only to realize that was no carrot, but rather a cleverly concealed stick of dynamite. Bummer. So then I’d spend a while moping and nursing my wounds, before picking up the pieces and starting all over again.

 

As most of you who have a dream will find, the longer you go without achieving it, the more you begin to wonder if it’s ever going to happen. Does Santa Fe exist? Is there a place in this world for city-slicker cowboys like me? And unfortunately there are those voices out there that reaffirm these doubts and make you question yourself—some of them coming from the inside, some of them coming from without. From strangers, for example, who give you condescending smiles whenever you tell them what you want to be “when you grow up,” and even sometimes from the people who love you who are probably only trying to do what’s best for you, but sometimes don’t realize just how hurtful it is when they refer to what you’re doing as “a hobby” or ask when you’re going to figure out what you’re “really doing with your life.” I don’t know what it is about a dream that makes people want to crush it. But if it’s a true dream, you have to find a way to drown out those bad voices and—cliché as it may be—believe in yourself. Keep going. Keep fighting. Keep dreaming.

 

About a year ago I finished a book that has been in my head for a LONG time. I wrote it first as a play, then as a TV show, and finally realized that I was an idiot, and that it was meant to be a book all along. Once I figured that out, it was like a steaming locomotive—I had to cling on with both hands or fall off, that’s how fast it was moving. I worked on it every chance I got. Missing sleep, missing social activities, missing television (gasp!), sometimes even missing friends and family. It was a lot of work, but somehow it felt like very little work to me because the characters were like people I knew. I could hear their voices. They wouldn’t leave me alone, in fact—in my sleep, in the shower, on some VERY awkward dates. Then came the editing, which was much less fun, but which polished that little diamond in the rough until I thought it was perfect. My baby. I sent it out to some agents, including—on a whim—to one of the best literary agencies in the country because I did some research on one of their agents and found out she liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer (it should be mentioned that many of my life decisions have been based off of this very same criteria). I honestly never expected to hear back from her aside from the token “Thank you for submitting your manuscript but unfortunately it doesn’t suit our needs at this time” rejection form which I had virtually memorized.

 

Then. . . she wrote me back. She liked the premise and sample pages and wanted the manuscript! I was excited, but a veteran enough by now to know that this was only the beginning of a very long (or potentially very short) climb, accompanied by those voices that told me I wasn’t good enough anyway and that stuff like this didn’t happen for people like me.  What followed was actually a very long process, but essentially, the agent was wonderful, lovely, incredibly supportive and kind, helped me make the book into something SO much better than it was originally, helped me work on a SECOND project that I loved just as much as the first but in a totally different way, and now. . . she’s my agent. And I’m so happy that all those other people rejected me because I love working with her and she GETS the writing sometimes even better than I do, and in my totally unbiased opinion, she’s the best one out there. And now we’re working on getting my book published. Like, for people to read. In, like, a bookstore. I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around it yet.

 

The point of this post is really not to brag. It’s to say that Jack Kelley was right—dreams DO come true. Sometimes they change and shift and become so much better than what you originally hoped for. Sometimes—in fact, most of the time, if it’s a dream worth having—you have to work for it, and fight for it, and bleed for it, and cry for it. But it can happen. It took me two whole weeks to finally be brave enough to announce this because I keep being afraid that it’s all going to be some terrible joke at my expense, but. . . it’s happening. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way. So to quote that greatest of all musicals, Newsies:

 

“Santa Fe
Are you there?
Do you swear you won’t forget me?
If I found you would you let me come and stay?
I ain’t gettin’ any younger
And before my dyin’ day
I want space
Not just air
Let ’em laugh in my face
I don’t care
Save a place
I’ll be there

In Santa Fe.”

 

Keep dreaming.

 

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the Brad and the Beautiful: chapter two

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For those of you not lucky enough to be from Arizona, I would just like to point out that today is Arizona’s 100th Birthday. And that this, and only this, is what I choose to celebrate on this fine February 14, 2012.

With that in mind, look what I accidentally happened to stumble across as I was innocently perusing through the internet…

http://thebradandthebeautiful.wordpress.com/

Enjoy!

The Dance of the Sun: Or Why John Krasinski is Afraid of His Love For Me

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Those of you who know me well know that I decided to work for the Sundance Film Festival with one expectation: not to expand my knowledge of film, not to receive inspiration on how to become a better filmmaker myself, not even to network and make connections—but to meet John Krasinski. I thought this was a fairly reasonable expectation, since not only did he have a film playing there, but his wife was in a premiering film; therefore, logic would suggest that not only would he be there, not only would we meet, but he would also finally reveal that his marriage to Emily Blunt is a sham intended to throw off the media so that he can pursue his true love, me.

 

But alas, John Krasinski has once again proved that he is afraid of his love for me. It’s understandable, I suppose; such an overwhelming, powerful force would be intimidating to any man, and John probably wants to play his cards just right to ensure that everything works out between us. This happened once before when, as many of you will recall, he was staying at a hotel in Arizona down the street from my house and didn’t even have the common courtesy to stop by and say hello. Oh, well. Bide your time all you like, John. But you better pray that Hugh doesn’t swoop in while your back is turned. It’s bound to happen sooner or later.

 

In the meantime, despite it being a rather John-less affair, I had a marvelous time at Sundance. Seriously, I would highly recommend it to pretty much anyone, unless any of the following apply to you:

  1. You hate movies
  2. You hate Fun
  3. You hate free stuff

 

Can I just take a moment to pay tribute to all the free stuff I got while I was working there? Water bottles. Ticket vouchers. VIP Badges. Jackets. Hats. Scarves. Chapstick. Gloves. Food. The list goes on and on. . . and for someone who would do just about anything for free stuff (even pay money), it was heaven.

 

A little known fact about the Sundance Film Festival is that, aside from giving away free stuff, they also occasionally screen movies (which I also got to see for free! Okay, I’ll stop with the free stuff now, I promise) . The most popular question I’ve received since coming back—aside from, Elizabeth, how do you manage to be so exceptionally brilliant and so incredibly gorgeous at the same time?—is what were the best movies you saw there? At the risk of sounding like a snobby intellectual (stop laughing, it could happen), I would have to honestly say the documentaries were the best films there.

. . .

I know, I know, I always get annoyed when people say stuff like that to me, too, but it was true! Not to diss the feature films, which were all very well and good (at least, some of them), but the documentaries blew me away. I would say my personal favorite that I saw was a documentary called the Imposter about an adult con-artist from France who pretends to be a missing teenager from Texas—and gets away with it.  And believe me, that isn’t even the weirdest part of the story.  I also really enjoyed Searching for Sugar Man (about an obscure musician from the ‘60s name Rodriguez, who I believe everyone will soon be hearing much more about), and honorable mention goes to the feature film Wrong, which was the weirdest, funniest movie I have seen in a very long time, about a man whose dog gets kidnapped (which actually doesn’t sound all that funny, but trust me, it is).

 

For those of you gentle folk who would still like to know more about my day-to-day activities at the festival, below are a few highlights, including which celebrities I saw, and which celebrities may or may not have pushed me into a puddle.

Thursday the  19th. The festival officially opened! There was a special screening for all the volunteers and employees of Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was an incredible film, especially considering it was by a first-time director featuring a cast of people who (with the exception of one) have never acted in anything before. In fact, one of the main characters was “discovered” because he worked at the restaurant where the casting department ate lunch. After the screening the  director and cast were all there and answered some questions. And we got Free Hats! (Okay, that really is the last time I’ll mention free stuff. Probably).

Friday the 20th—Friday was my 7:30 to 7:30 day, which meant that I was up at 5 to get to work and didn’t get home until about 9:00 that night, which also meant, sadly, no films. L However, during my lunch break I decided to finally put down ‘A Dance With Dragons’ and wander around to see if anything was going on. As it turned it, there was a TON of stuff going on, but just as I was getting bummed about not seeing any celebrities, who should I see walking down the street but one Benjamin Linus—aka, Michael Emerson.

 

For those of you who don’t watch Lost– why are we still friends? Just kidding, sort of, but for those of you who don’t know, Ben is one of the big baddies of the show so it was a little creepy seeing him in the flesh. Especially since I already saw Jacob in London. Which begs the question, is the cast of Lost following me? And also—when are they gonna send Sawyer or Desmond. . .?

 

On an unrelated note, I had my first patron ask me if anyone had ever told me that I looked like Kirsten Dunst. I was really hoping that I would bump into her and that she would confess that she secretly hates her life as a movie star and wants nothing more than to be a normal girl for a day, if only she could find someone who would switch places with her. . . But I suppose she, much like John, was playing it cool.  *sigh* Celebrities.

Saturday the 21st: Saturday I decided that after work I would get out of crazy, hectic Park City and make a trip up to another one of the screening locations in scenic Ogden. Unfortunately the weather did not consult with my plans and decided to snow like crazy that day. Fortunately I made it out just before they started closing off the roads and whatnot (from what I hear, several people were stranded in Park City that night). Unfortunately there were definitely a few times that the road was such sheer ice that I was drifting across lanes of traffic in my poor pathetic little white car (who, by the way, was a real trooper through driving up and down Provo Canyon in all kinds of weather for an entire month). Fortunately , most other sane people were not on the road that day, so no harm, no foul. Also fortunately, I was able to meet up with my awesome friend Meagan Brady (who let me stay with her for an entire month!! You’re seriously the best, Meagan!!) and get to our shows up in Ogden on time. That night we saw Wish You Were Here, an Australian thriller that made me seriously paranoid about ever going to Thailand, or vacationing with my sister and her boyfriend. The second film was Your Sister’s Sister, featuring my rival, Emily Blunt, who was lovely and charming as usual, in a quirky and funny film.

Sunday the 22nd: My brother Matthew and I went to an early sacrament meeting and then headed back up to Ogden to catch Wuthering Heights (I’m still sorry about that one, Matthew) and Searching for Sugar Man (the documentary mentioned above). Just to explain a little bit more about it, there was a record released by an American singer named Rodriguez that did terribly in the United States—I think they were saying it sold under 100 copies—but somehow made its way to South Africa and became HUGE. So this one-time American singer who become a hard laborer to support his family had no idea that he was incredibly famous in South Africa until a few people over there decided to look up this “famous” singer who no one knew anything about—and after that, things get awesome. J After the movie, the director was there, as well as Rodriguez, the singer. Here’s why I think this guy is going to be big: before the movie, everyone in the audience had absolutely no idea who Rodriguez was. After the credits, people were on their feet cheering, screaming, shouting out his name. You would have thought it was Elvis walking into the building, or one of the Beatles. Seriously. Keep an eye on this guy, and an eye on this film (which, p.s., won a bunch of awards and whatnot and has been picked up for distribution. Yay!).

Monday the 23rd: Back in Park City. After work I headed to the Music Café, a venue where music artists play a few sets  in a fairly small, intimate setting. I stayed for three or four acts and everyone was pretty good, but my favorite was James McCartney. I admit, I showed up because he’s Paul’s son, but the guy has some serious pipes. The next guest of the day was Rodriguez (see above) and once again, people were going crazy for him, but I had to ditch out early because I was going to the premiere of the Julie Delpy/Chris Rock film, 2 Days in New York. Chris Rock was there, sitting in the audience, and he seemed like a pretty cool guy, stopping to take pictures with people and just smiling and being friendly. The movie was funny in a French way (take that as you will) and afterward there was a Q&A with the director and the cast. Sweet!

Tuesday the 24th: This was the only day I didn’t get to see the film that I tried to see. I tried to use my employee pass to get into a press screening for Safety Not Guaranteed, but unfortunately too many other people had the same idea. And since I was meeting up with friends later on that night, I couldn’t stick around to see anything else. Also, I fell in a puddle. But there were some good things that happened that day, including:

At work I helped this lovely Italian couple who had a problem and were incredibly patient even though they basically had to wait around for an hour. During intermittent conversation with them I came to find out that the husband was in Nobody Walks, the film that John Krasinski was in! As he was leaving, he shook my hand, so I think it’s safe to say that I have touched the hand that has touched John Krasinski. Try playing it cool now, Jim Halpert! I’m onto your game.

I also helped another lady in the morning who was super nice and very pretty. She looked sort of vaguely familiar to me, but I couldn’t place her. As we were talking, music came up in the conversation and she mentioned that she did music for a living. When I asked her what kind, she looked kind of surprised that I didn’t already know and said “country.” So I think I may have potentially been helping a country singer I didn’t recognize? In that she wasn’t Shania Twain, Reba, or Taylor Swift, and that covers pretty much anyone I would recognize. Either way, she was incredibly nice.

When I met up with my friends that night and told them the story about falling in the puddle, we decided it makes a much better story if Chris Rock was somehow involved. So, for reasons that I cannot explain, Chris Rock arbitrarily pushed me into a puddle Tuesday afternoon. But other than that, he seems like a pretty cool guy.

Wednesday the 25thThis day was another one of my 7:30 to 7:30 days, so I was bracing myself for a long, tiring day, but it actually turned out to be awesome for many different reasons. The first was that a patron came in and started the whole, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like. . .” spiel, so I was bracing myself for Kirsten Dunst, but instead he totally threw me for a loop by saying Elizabeth Olsen, aka the star of Liberal Arts (more on that later) and baby sister to Mary Kate and Ashley. I can honestly say I’ve never heard that one before, and I don’t really give it that much validation, but it was still flattering. Not for her, I’m sure. . .

I also helped out Brendan Hines, who most people seem to know from Lie to Me, but I recognized from Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (yep, a huge geek, and if there’s any doubt of that, just keep reading). Looking pretty good for someone who was killed by an assassin from the future, I must say. And it was not the last time that we would meet. . .

Even though at this point I figured most of the celebrities had gone home for the weekend, I decided to take another mosey through Park City during my lunch break. I was feeling pretty excited about running into the director of Beasts of the Southern Wild (see Thursday the 19th) and getting to chat with him for a moment when who should I see down the street but Ty Burrell, the dad from Modern Family, and. . . DAVID DUCHOVNY!!!

 

I have to admit, I am just enough of a geek that this was incredibly exciting for me. Not only am I an X-Files fan, but would watch about three hours of it a day with my roommates my freshman year of college (just to let you know how cool we all were) AND have all of the lyrics to “David Duchovny, Why Won’t You Love Me” memorized. I am such a big fan that I even have watched Connie and Carla, more than once. So this was a pretty big deal for me. Such a big deal that I didn’t do as I usually do with celebrities and just pretend I haven’t seen them, but actually took out my cell phone and snapped a picture—only to accidentally erase it. Oh, well. The memory is imprinted in my heart. I love you, David Duchovny!

That night after work I booked it up to Salt Lake to see Save the Date with my friend Meagan. I admit that I mostly wanted to see the movie because it had Allison Brie (aka Annie from one of my favorite shows, Community) but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was also starring Martin Starr, also from one of my favorite shows, Freaks and Geeks. The movie was funny and it was odd/cool to see Allison Brie in such a muted, un-Annie role, but the most pleasant surprise of the evening? Martin Starr has gotten attractive. Like, really attractive. He’s no Brad Pitt, mind you, but he’s got that long-hair-beardy (George Harrison circa late 1960s) vibe going on that strangely works for him. Bill Haverchuck, you have grown up, and good things have been happening to you.

Thursday the 26th— There was nothing I was especially keen on seeing after work, so I decided to let my friend and fellow coworker Eve take the lead and choose our film selections that day. AND—I’m really happy I did. She chose some films I probably wouldn’t have seen on my own but ended up being some of my favorite from the festival, including (as mentioned above) Wrong. Apparently the director has a history of making quirky, funny films; his last Sundance film called Rubber was about a tire that goes on a killing spree, which I’m kind of dying to see. Wrong was so weird and funny, I really can’t do it justice by trying to explain it, but just give it a chance. I should also mention that I’d only had four hours of sleep the night before, so I might recommend that to maximize the hilarity of it all.

Afterward in a total about-face we went and saw Violeta Went to Heaven, a bio-pic about the Chilean Folk Singer, Violeta Parra. It was just a beautifully done film that told her story in a really compelling, non-linear way. And the music was AWESOME. There’s one song in particular toward the beginning of the film that I can’t remember the name of and that I’ve been scouring the internet to try and find information on because I really want to hear it again.

Between films I saw Mark Webber (star of three films at Sundance, and writer/director of one) and once again, Brendan Hines (see Wednesday). Really good day, over all. J

Friday the 27th— Friday I didn’t have to work until the afternoon, so I went up early to see a morning show and got to see my favorite film of the festival, The Imposter (see above). This movie is so good, not just because of the content matter, but because of the way they present everything, it’s just really well done. Also, during the film I was sitting next to the director of Searching for Sugar Man, which is just one of the awesome things about Sundance. Afterward they had a Q&A with the director and the producer, and then it was off to work—my last day! The people I worked with were amazing and 99.9% of the people we helped were lovely, as well. It was a truly wonderful working experience.

After work I once again booked it up to Ogden to meet up with Meagan and see Liberal Arts, starring my apparent doppelganger Elizabeth Olsen and Josh Radnar, aka the guy from How I Met Your Mother, who also wrote and directed the film. Turns out? He’s awesome. I’m not a huge fan of the show, but I might have to give it another look after seeing what this guy can do. The movie was sweet and smart and really funny, I’m excited to get to see it again when it comes to theaters. Also, Zac Effron made a surprising and hilarious cameo that is not to be missed.

Saturday the 28th: I once again headed up to Salt Lake to see my last shows of the fest with old roommate and forever kindred spirit, Cheryl Johnson. We saw Teddy Bear, a foreign film (can’t remember but think it was Swedish?) about a body builder who is too shy to talk to women and is emotionally bullied by his teeny tiny mom. Despite a few shady places, it was surprisingly sweet. After hanging out for a while in Salt Lake, I headed back up to Ogden for the last time to see The Words which was all about writers and had a surprisingly non-Indy cast, including Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, and another of my loves, Ben Barnes.  The movie was all right, but Ben was lovely as usual.

 

And that was that! Now I’m back to real life again. No chance encounters with celebrities. No obscure films. No free stuff. And even if John still refuses to acknowledge his feelings, it was an awesome experience, and one I’m grateful I had!  Now, on to the next adventure. . .

Settling: It’s Not Just For Pioneers

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*Author’s note: This was written almost a year ago, when I made my first half-hearted attempt at starting a blog and then quit after one post. Since I was too lazy to write a new one today– and since almost everyone is going to be too busy watching the Superbowl to read it anyway– here’s to recycling old stuff. Enjoy!

 

 

The other day as I was walking down the street, a homeless man made some vulgar comment. I can’t remember what the exact comment was, but I do remember the shattering realization that it was the first time I had been properly propositioned in months.

I read a really official-sounding article once in a tabloid that said that the average woman gets hit on eight times a day. Eight times. For an average woman. Now, I’m no math whiz (in fact, my high school algebra teacher’s exact words to me were that I should probably just marry for money), but if the average woman gets innuendo-ed eight times a day, and I get a throwaway comment once every three months or so, then I am about… 720 times less attractive than the average woman. Again, we’re talking average here– not even 720 times less attractive than a hot woman, the reality of which I was already deeply aware. Which begs the question– what exactly am I holding out for?

 

 

As a child, a combination of Disney movies and effusive but undeserved praise from my parents forever skewed my perception of what my romantic future would bring. There would be singing and dancing and overlooking of my propensity for talking to woodland creatures, all because I was the prettiest, the smartest, the bestest in the land. When young men did not behave accordingly– i.e., monosyllabic grunts instead of cheerful singing; groping on public transportation instead of frolicking dancing; wide-eyed looks of terror instead of benign acceptance– I was not deterred. Even when what I saw in the mirror resembled less a Sleeping Beauty or a Snow White than a  Miss Piggy, I willfully believed it all to be pure fancy on my part. Because either I was a good, beautiful person, destined to have good, beautiful things in my life– or my parents are liars.

Turns out? My parents are liars.

It’s not that I blame them, not really. We’ve all been in that position where a friend asks if her mullet/Jheri-curl haircut looks good, or your pregnant sister asks if she looks bloated, or your boyfriend wants to know what you would choose if it really came down to it– him, or the doughnuts– and of course you lie. Imagine how much worse it must be for parents when they come face-to-face with their chubby, bespectacled, greasy-haired, acne-infested progeny who wants to know why she hasn’t met her prince charming yet. I guess I should have had some clue when my mother gave me that motivational poster about inner beauty (see below), but I was in denial. I hadn’t yet come face-to-face with the hard truth that I’m 720 times uglier than most other people I know.

 

So who am I to turn up my nose at an admittedly smelly, but willing, man of a homeless persuasion? He may not be what I always envisioned for myself, but then apparently my self-perception is all kinds of wonky. And I’m sure there are many benefits to dating the unemployed. No job, so he’ll always have time for me. I’m pretty much guaranteed he’ll be faithful, unless the bag lady by the convenience store decides to splurge on some soap and a razor. I won’t have to shower as often because, hey, beggars and choosers and all that jazz. We can share our mutual love of free food, and I’m willing to bet he’s an expert on cheap liquor. And okay, granted, the comments he made about “the girls” were less than gentlemanly, but you know what? Hobo Joe’s a straight shooter, and I can’t fault him for that.

That settles it. The next time I get hit on by a homeless gentleman– which based on my history will probably be in approximately 90 days, give or take– I’m going for it. ‘Cause at least someone’s interested.