Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Random- What It's Like

What It’s Like
by Rob Cottignies

I’m writing this because I didn’t talk to her. There have been many versions of her before, but she stood out because it would have been so easy. Ideal and easy. I was running in the park when I saw her walking down the path, her back to me. As I approached, I liked her more and more. I passed her and the brief glimpse out of the side of my eye was stunning. Pretty face, dark hair with streaks of red, slim yet curvy. I had to see her again. I finished one lap then turned around. I felt a bit creepy but I had to know everything I visually could. I saw her again. Again, stunning. A full view from the front and I was struck, my mind paralyzed. She looked European. She looked unhappy. I like both of those looks, the latter because I’m good at creating smiles, especially on girls who should do nothing but. I think she looked at me. Was it because she enjoyed my person or did she feel two brown eyes all over her like a cold blanket near a fireplace? She continued along the circle and I did the same, desperately wondering why ‘Hello’ wasn’t forming in my mouth. It was the perfect situation- we were both alone, neither of us listening to music, the park was fairly uncrowded due to the rain. I like to run in rain and she didn’t seem to mind walking in it. The gift of an opening line and an instant bond. I passed her several times and decided I had to act. What was the worst that reasonably could have happened? She’s married or otherwise involved. She just wanted to walk alone with her thoughts. Even if she told me to piss off, I’d be content knowing that I tried.
Passing her four more times, I said nothing. The rain was coming down harder so I decided to test her. I’d keep going and if she did as well, I wouldn’t let myself not talk to her. She was holding a phone. I assumed she wouldn’t want it getting wet so she’d go right to her car, not again to be seen by me when I turned down the other side of the path. I was playing a game for no reason and betting on myself to lose. And I was right. All of this instead of, ‘Hello. May I walk with you?’ Maybe she really was unhappy and wanted someone to cheer her up. Maybe she was European and we could have spoken German together. Maybe I’d be treating her to dinner right now instead of writing this. All of these maybes but only one reality- I didn’t act. Why? Is making up excuses more thrilling than communicating? Am I afraid of rejection? Am I more afraid of acceptance? Does a part of me enjoy regret?
This is nothing new. I can count the number of times I’ve spoken to a previously-unknown girl I thought was attractive on one finger. I’m 31 and I’ve done this once, nine months ago. I went to a bar before going to a concert alone. I sat at the end of the bar and the guy sitting next to me left shortly after. A cute, awkward girl with glasses took the seat after asking if it was taken. And that was just it- she had broken the proverbial ice. We didn’t say anything more, but the pressure of initiation was gone. When her vodka and cranberry juice arrived, I asked if she knew the proper name for the drink. She did, and the conversation commenced. We exchanged phone numbers before she left and went out once. That night of the concert, I felt great. I talked to a random girl and got her number for the first time ever. But the catch was that she had opened the door, if inadvertently.
Imagine this scenario, which has happened countless times: I’m at a bar. I notice a girl and think she’s lovely. I want to talk to her but know that I will not. Why? I always have an excuse. Oh, she’s here with another girl and they just want to talk. That’s why they came out to the bar. They don’t want some guy interrupting that and I don’t want to be that guy. Or I’ll think she’s only going to have one drink and then leave. I base that, of course, on nothing. But it makes it easier to not talk to her. What happens often enough is the girl’s boyfriend will show up and all of my doubts somehow get justified.
I don’t understand any of this, but this is what it’s like to be me. Once some kind of introduction or initiation takes place, I can talk on-and-on about anything. But the trick for me is getting to that point without common ground. I’ve done internet dating, which eliminates that pressure. At this point, I’m convinced that I physically cannot approach a girl and talk to her without an obvious reason or commonality.
Back to the park, but eleven days ago and with a different girl. This one, too, was stunning. Red hair with just enough brown to convince me it was natural, pale skin, slender. She was walking with a man who had to be at least eighty. Her grandfather, I assumed. I wanted to talk to her but didn’t want to be the interrupting guy, regardless of their relationship. I thought about approaching the old man and pretending I was writing a story on war veterans. How this would have gotten me a date with the beautiful young lady, I don’t quite know. Instead of trying anything, I went home and wrote a story based on the situation as if I had played the war reporter role. Then I decided to hand-write a letter to her and return to the park at the same time the following Saturday to give it to her. Again, I felt a bit creepy, but what else could I have done? If she was at the park the next week, I didn’t see her. Frustrated, I burned the letter when I got home. Does anyone else do things like this? Do you play head-games with yourself instead of inviting potential happiness? How can break away from this awkward nonsense? You might be thinking I’m too old to be acting like this. You’d be right, but I don't think I’m not too old for anything.
Unfortunately, this brief journey seeking self-enlightenment has only led to more questions…

Friday, July 05, 2013

Anger- Before She Cheats....The Judicial System


Before She Cheats....The Judicial System
by Rob Cottignies

I’ve had a burning hatred for this song since I first heard it. Not only is it dangerous insecurity hidden behind a catchy chorus, but it glorifies unjustified violence and sets its own double standard. Imagine a man singing this about his potentially cheating girlfriend. There would’ve been chaos and uproar and all sorts of tommygoggling. But because this “pretty” little thing named Carrie sings it with a smile, it’s fine. Well it’s not fine on this blog. Words that come to mind are harmful, hazardous, inappropriate, and just plain wrong.
Here are the lyrics. Read them carefully, then proceed to see how I completely rip them apart…

“Right now, he's probably slow dancing with a bleached-blonde tramp and she's probably getting frisky
Right now, he's probably buying her some fruity little drink 'cause she can't shoot whiskey
Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool stick showing her how to shoot a combo
And he don't know

That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little suped up four-wheel drive
carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights
slashed a hole in all 4 tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats

Right now, she's probably up singing some white-trash version of Shania karaoke
Right now, she's probably saying "I'm drunk" and he's thinking that he's gonna get lucky
Right now, he's probably dabbing on 3 dollars worth of that bathroom Polo
Oh, and he don't know

I might've saved a little trouble for the next girl
'cause the next time that he cheats
Oh, you know it won't be on me
No, not on me”

Let the dissection begin, line by line- verses first, followed by the chorus:
First of all, Miss Underwood, you throw around this ‘probably’ word quite often and loosely. Is this fellow actually cheating on you or are you just completely insecure, suspicious, jealous, and all of those other fine words? There doesn’t appear to be any basis for your accusations.
You comment on this hypothetical woman’s bleach-blonde hair. Is it very different from your hair color on the very cover of this song’s single? (See above.) Might this be a degree of what psychologists refer to as projection?
By the next line, are you implying that you shoot whiskey and are comparatively inexpendable because of it? Some people don’t like it and prefer fruity drinks. Whiskey and I are good friends, but I would never criticize someone for not drinking it. (I may have done this, but in this forum let’s assume I’ve not.) What a load of passive-aggressive arrogant-for-no-reason rubbish.
So this guy is teaching this hypothetical girl how to be better at pool. Wow, he really might be a jerk. You’ve got me starting to rethink this whole thing.
It’s ‘he doesn’t know,’ not ‘he don’t know.’ Go back to second grade.
I typed into Google, ‘What is a white-trash version of Shania karaoke?’ and found out that I am not alone with this inquiry. I also found out that there’s no such thing and the line makes no sense. This is likely nothing more than a poor attempt to get into the good graces of a more moderately talented artist.
At a bar, hopefully when not driving, one tends to get drunk. This person may announce it. And if this person is a lady who’s been flirting with a guy all night, it’s fairly reasonable for him to think he’s going to ‘get lucky.’ I must remind you that this is all, of course, hypothetical.
This situation is taking place in quite the interesting bar- slow dancing, pool, karaoke, and Ralph Lauren cologne available in the bathroom. Where is this, exactly?
And, again, he *doesn’t* know.
Now, the chorus tells me that you, Carrie, followed your guy to a bar and sat outside imagining this entire scenario. To clarify, everything listed above was hypothetical. This is what you actually did…
Your first thought after guessing this guy was cheating on you was to key his car? It sounds like his car is important to him and he’d spent a lot of money on it. Hey, here’s a thought- go into the bar to see if he really is doing those things with another woman and if so, confront him about it. Immediately resorting to vandalism seems like a gross overreaction based on some severe mental issues you have.
Then you carved your name into his car seats, which added illegal entry (possibly breaking and entering) to your rap sheet. You had no right to be in his car, which would be the only way for you to get at his seats, even if the window was left open. Also, I’m sure he’d have no doubt anyway, but using your own name pretty much solidifies a conviction.
This guy possibly cheated on you. Even if he did, that’s no reason to deprive the ability to see the road at night. How would he safely get home without headlights? Cheating does not justify endangering his life. Also, do you always bring a baseball bat to a bar?
I’m sure you destroyed his car’s tires, but you can’t exactly slash a hole. This defies some law of Physics.
Do you know what he’ll think before he cheats? ‘Wow, the last time I did this that maniac I was dating destroyed my car. I’m glad she’s in prison and I was able to get an even nicer car with the settlement, but I kind of feel bad that she was such a messy ball of feminine lunacy.’
That’s right, you’re going to jail. To top that, your actions will all be public record, so I doubt any guy will ever date you again. “But I thought he was cheating on me” will not hold up in court or in life. Was it worth it?
Why am I asking you all of these questions? I should address them to the men who wrote this dreadful song. Maybe I’ll do that, but will first listen to Eminem’s song ‘Kim,’ which presents a healthy, reasonable way to end a relationship…