Wednesday, February 13, 2008

boys don't make passes

My eyeglasses finally arrived! Five weeks after I ordered them. I put them on and immediately felt dizzy and disoriented. I'm thinking there's a depth perception phenomenon with which I was previously unfamiliar, seeing as how my left eye is mostly for show.

So I took the glasses off and started again the next morning when I got in my car. It was way cool, like putting on racing goggles. And I felt so impressed with myself, being honest about adhering to DMV guidelines and all that. My formerly horrified eye doctor would be proud. When he asked, "How are you driving?" I confessed that I memorize the eye chart with my right eye so that I can pretend to read it with my left. He said he didn't want to hear any more.

Driving down the street was like an acid trip. Or, er, how I imagine an acid trip would be. Everything is so beautiful! The colors are so bright! You can see individual blades of grass! That sign says One Way!

It was very cool. I'm just amazed that the rest of you walk through a world like this every day and never mention how exotic and gorgeous it is. I watched a bad movie last night and totally saw every detail.

Which sucked, because Jodie Foster wasn't naked once. Not even when she took a shower. I kid you not, she actually showered fully dressed. If you don't believe me, rent The Brave One. You, too, can witness the complete lack of chemistry a dyke musters up for her leading man. There is, however, a scene in which she saves a prostitute that's replete with a lot of gratuitous kissing and erotic hand holding. Sorta made up for stuff.

Anyway, the glasses instructions say you have to wash them once a day. Which makes sense now that I think about it, but makes me feel even sorrier for the kids who had to get glasses in third grade. Too much responsibility, too soon. A friend of mine once got in trouble because he accidentally lost his glasses in the refrigerator.

Knowing my record with cell phones, I'll find a way to top that.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

square cut

I adore Valentine's day, I always have. Even in elementary school. (At our school you weren't allowed to give valentines to some people and not others, which meant everyone was guaranteed at least two dozen valentines each year. A record I've never even come close to breaking since.)

Valentine's day is a great big love fest, and I'm down with that. There's just one part I can't stand: the diamond store commercials.

When I was a teenager, I wished John Wayne would die. I just didn't want to see his face on TV anymore. Same with Elvis, but that backfired on me. Since then I've learned that pop culture can never be completely cleansed of annoyances, but if I could disappear anything, diamond store commercials would be it.

First off, diamonds are ugly. I once visited a museum that had, in some darkened side room filled with glass cases, an amazing gem exhibit. Stones glistened from the centers of cracked-open rocks. I had been planning to leave the museum without even going into this room, but once inside I was so enchanted I never wanted to leave. Visual pleasure overload. Emeralds, sapphires...every imaginable color, liquid with depth and life.

I could see it if diamonds were the only gem in the world. But once you've seen rubies, how could you choose something that looks like a rhinestone you got out of a gumball machine?

Even if diamonds looked good, the kind that are advertised on the diamond store commercials would still suck. It's like they smashed them together in a particle accelerator and then spewed them onto a setting designed by a 9-year old girl. Or a 99-year old lady, whichever.

And all these stores are in the mall and carry products with prices that end in $99. Who mistakes this for romance?

Whatever, the women in the commercials are continually entranced by these godawful gifts. I always scrutinize their expressions for any sign of "I'm totally planning to exchange this" or "we're breaking up straightaway." I'm not sure where I got the idea that a commercial might introduce a plot twist that denigrates the advertised product, but hope knows no logic. However, if the diamond chicks feel any disappointment they're incredibly gracious about it. These women have really good manners.

This year one of the commercials debuted what I like to call the family group sex fantasy. It's where your birth family is overly involved in your romance. It seems to be a common fantasy, especially among religious groups. Like asking the girl's dad for permission to marry her or proposing to her in front of all her relatives, junk like that.

In this commercial, the guy get the girl's mom to give him her childhood jewelry box in order to give it back to her (complete with tacky diamond earrings inside) for Valentine's day. So the mom is a whole romance co-conspirator. A practice I cured my mom of after the fifth time she gave my college phone number out to yet another guy I knew in high school.

I mean, what if the chick in the commercial was about to break up with this guy? What if she thinks he's a dud? And she doesn't want to associate her childhood jewelry box with memories of him? What if he's a stalker and he uses her jewelry box to blackmail her into seeing him? (Okay, that last one's a stretch.)

Even if it's all cool, this gift forces her to think about her mom on Valentine's day. She knows she's going to have to call her the next day and describe the evening in detail. What could be less sexy?

Okay, and I haven't even gone into the slavery, racism, and De Beers cartel aspects to diamonds. (Probably should've mentioned those first, but as an avid consumer of chocolate, bananas, and tea I don't really have any moral authority here.) Add it all up and diamonds are a close second to giant teddy bears as earth's worst romantic present.

The only thing great about diamonds is the Marilyn Monroe song. Which, if you listen to the lyrics, is all about hawking the jewelry as soon as the boyfriend scrams.

Hmmm, maybe that's what the women in the commercials are thinking about.