Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Audubon Guidebook to Man-Watching

Forbes magazine didn’t even bother to rank Augusta in its annual study of the singles scenes in cities across the nation (Atlanta came in tenth). But 2000 U.S. Census data shows that from Thomson to Beech Island, single woman outnumbered single men by a ratio of 3:2. In addition to the already slim pickings, these numbers are quantitative, not qualitative. In other words, ladies, a good man is hard to find. Stop eyeing my husband. I married him for a reason.

Short of joining what one friend of mine called The Cynthia Nixon Revolution, what’s a girl to do to survive the dating war with a minimum of embedded shrapnel?

My advice: Know Your Enemy.

The Dittohead (aka The Angry Republican) – Happiest when he’s nodding along to Rush Limbaugh. Secretly believes that the Republican Party should be the only party and views disagreement as Anti-American. Favorite Movie: Anything where America kicks ass. Favorite Music: Toby Keith

The Band-Aid (aka Groupie) – Happiest when he’s “checking out this new band at the Earl.” Considers himself friends with area musicians who never remember his name. May write insipid song lyrics like “As I walk these dessert lands” (it’s “desert,” you moron). Favorite Movie: “Almost Famous” “Favorite Music: “I doubt you’ve heard of them.”

The Angry Democrat (aka Bushwacked) – Happiest when Bush says something stupid. Member of the ACLU, subscribes to Air America, owns more than one Al Franken book. Favorite Movie: “Fahrenheit 9/11” Favorite Music: U2

Mr. Intense (aka writer/poet/philosopher) –May encourage your creative efforts, a la John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Will be threatened if you’re better than he is. Favorite Movie: “Pollack” Favorite Music: “Imagine,” by John Lennon

The Zealot (aka The Causehead) – Passionately committed to saving whatever… for about a week. A vegetarian who cannot commit to the rigors of a vegan diet, he can’t commit to anything else, either. Favorite Movie: “Medicine Man” Favorite Music: Phish

The Coach (aka Mr. Glory Days) – Former athlete who never got over the time a major league scout came to watch him play. May ask you to act out his cheerleader fantasy. Favorite Movie: “Saturday Night Lights” Favorite Music: That song they play at football game where everybody yells “Charge!”

The Pastmaster (aka Mr. Back-in-the-Day) – Nothing in his life has ever been better than the stuff that happened in a four-year period of his life. Be it high school, college, or prison, nothing in the present can possibly compare with the past. Favorite Movie: “They don’t make good movies anymore.” Favorite Music: “They don’t make good music anymore”

The Trash Collector (aka The Hustler) – This guy has more porn in his closet than clothes. He prizes his collection of vintage Playboys. If he chooses to bring you out in public that means he thinks you’re hot. Cannot understand the concept of airbrushing. Favorite Movie: “Debbie Does Dallas.” Favorite Music: The theme from “Shaft.”

Dr. Pill (aka The Amateur Psychologist) – Uses his facile understanding of psychology to not so subtly put others down. Favorite Movie: “A Beautiful Mind” Favorite Music: Music is an expression of repressed sexuality. Is that a cigar you’re smoking?

The Gentleman Farmer (aka The Cowboy) – Envisions a quiet life of pastoral bliss. Loves apple pie. Drives a truck. Owns a big dog. Loves his mother. Favorite Movie: “Oklahoma!” Favorite Music: Tex Ritter

Tyrannosaurus X-Box (aka The Gamer) – Has a diaper bag for his game system. Won’t let you speak until he finishes this level. It’s your fault he didn’t get the golden key. Favorite Movie: “X-Men.” Favorite Music: “Soundtrack to Final Fantasy”

The Leech – He’s always broke, but he never buys anything. He may even have a job – but everything is your treat. He’s apologetic the first time. After that, he orders the lobster. Favorite Movie: “Office Space” Favorite Music: “Money” by the O’Jays

The Gearhead (aka Boy With Toys) – Guess what he’s compensating for. Favorite Movie: “2001: A Space Odyssey” Favorite Music: Anything currently playing on an Apple iPod commercial.

The Computer (aka Binary Disorder) – Is seriously considering having a USB port installed on the side of his head. Favorite Movie: “The Matrix” Favorite Music: Soundtrack to “Hackers”

The Brain (aka The Know-it-All) – Why do you even bother to question him? You can’t possibly know more than he does on any subject, not even feminine hygiene. Favorite Movie: “Real Genius” Favorite Music: Classical and obscure jazz

Quiz
Match These Men to Their Breakup Lines

1. “Oh, she’ll take the check.”
2. “I think the Nazi party had some good ideas.”
3. “I really think you need to find yourself before you can be with someone else.”
4. “You should really consider breast implants.”
5. “Man, back in the day…”
6. “I’m moving to Flint, Michigan, to campaign for Michael Moore.”
7. “You know how you wanted to spend more quality time together? Surprise! I signed you up for EverQuest!”
8. “Look, there are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary code, and those who don’t.”
9. “I bought the new U2 iPod! Now I have one for every day of the week!”
10. “So we’re taking the van out to Burning Man next week. I’ll see you.”

Answers

1. The Leech
2. The Angry Republican
3. The Amateur Psychologist
4. The Trach Collector
5. The Pastmaster
6. The Angry Democrat
7. Tyrannosaurus X-Box
8. The Computer
9. The Gearhead
10. The Zealot

(c) originally published in Sass Magazine, 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Job Interview Junkie

I am a babbling idiot. Drool dangles from my lip. I sit slack-jawed in front of the man who would be my boss – if anything would come out of my mouth. He has asked me a question, the answer to which I practiced in the car on the way here, and yet I have no idea what to say. In fact, I have forgotten what he asked. If it were possible for human beings to will themselves into oblivion, I would. I am trying. But he’s still waiting for an answer and I still don’t have one.

“What can you bring to the position?”
I know this one! Oh… err…

I am dressed to the nines in my expensive-looking grey suit and black shell, faux pearl earrings, black leather shoes, matching belt, subtle makeup, and most hairs in place. Booger check – did I do a booger check? I did. I sit with my hands folded to hide the chewed-off stubs of what were fingernails when I had a job, and try to sound like I know something about the sporting event in which he will play for charity. It seems to work.
“Oh, do you golf?” he asked.
“Well… no, not really.”
“Oh.”
“I did shoot a 77 once, but it was on the front nine.”
“I see.”
Lie. I should learn to lie.

This is the recipe for disaster I’ve cooked up. Poorly choosing my last employer resulted in being laid-off when they restructured. Now I’m back in the wilds of the job market, stalking my prey, and finding hunting more difficult than I remembered. I no longer lull with my confidence and kill with my wit and style. I am a blundering fool.
“Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
Who? Me?

I have all the right tools: a college degree with a decent GPA, solid references, a strong portfolio, a first-rate resume, and a vast network of contacts – which is how I came to be at this interview today, one of only two candidates, the other an intern with no writing experience. And I am blowing it.
“So how did you hear about this position?”
Oh, I’ve known her for years… Can’t seem to remember her name, but dark hair, brown eyes… you know, the one I was talking to when you came out of your office.
“Valerie?”
“Um, I think so.”
“Uh-huh.”

In college I won awards for impromptu public speaking. I’ve led committees, taught classes, given seminars, presented papers at academic conferences. I have given radio interviews, acted as an extra in several movies, worked as a disc jockey, and trained in front of a camera. My mother used to call me “The Mouth of the South.” I am not known for my silence.
“Should I rephrase the question?”
Question? What question?

I’ve answered these questions in front of the mirror, with my husband, in my head. I’ve met this man before. We sat on a panel together. I worked with his nephew, who works for the same company. The other two employees in the office are lobbying for me. He doesn’t even care for the other candidate. I have everything going for me - but nothing is going right.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Probably still sitting here.

I don’t know how many interviews I’ve gone on in the last two months, but we’re well into double digits by now. I’ve done telephone interviews, in-person interviews, and even email interviews. I’m like the Cal Ripkin, Jr., of interviews – without ever having stepped foot on home plate.
“Okay, well, we’ll let you know by Monday.”
Damn.

(c) originally published in Sass Magazine, 2005