Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#43 Frenemies

According to our friends over at Mirriam-Webster, a "frenemy" is one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy.  As likely as it is for a single girl to have a crazy girlfriend in her entourage, it is not uncommon to have a frenemy (or two) waiting in the wings as well.

Our frenemy is the Betty to our Veronica, the Serena to our Blair, the Paris to our Nicole.  We can't live with her, but we can't live without her.  She is the one we wake up loving in the morning but go to bed hating at night.

Backhanded compliments and sabotage are her specialties.  She convinces us to wear the less flattering outfit so she could look better.  She asks the older guy we're interested in why he isn't married yet.  She tells embarassing stories about us in public. 

It's quite possible she only befriended us because she had a thing for our ex-boyfriend.  Or she could be that co-worker in the next office who secretly resents us. 

So why do we tolerate having this friend/enemy hybrid? 

Maybe we both enjoy the same television shows.  Maybe she's a trust fund baby.  Maybe we wear the same shoe size - and what single girl doesn't like borrowing Louboutins from a friend's closet? 

This on-going, but unacknowledged, competition and rivalry with our frenemy keeps us on par and on top of our game.  Who looks better in a bikini?  Who's dating the hotter guy?  Who has a more successful career?  Without our frenemies, we would be overweight losers eating over the sink on Friday nights.  In a sick way, she motivates us to be the best we can be.

And frankly, it's easier to be friends with a frenemy than not.  We begrudgingly endure her undermining tactics because we're nervous what could happen if we declared war on her as an actual nemesis.

After all, single girls know it's best to keep our friends close and frenemies closer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

#42 The Fate Versus Coincidence Debate

As young, impressionable children, single girls once believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, unicorns and true love.  While our faith in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny has diminished, the dubious existence of true love has been perpetuated by romance novels written by Nicholas Sparks and romantic comedies starring Meg Ryan.  (Unicorns, on the other hand, are real.)

The idea of "true love," "love at first sight," "the one" and "destiny" has often been challenged by many single girls, specifically after a horrible break-up or a series of bad dates.  But our confidence in a "happily ever after" can easily be restored by accidental encounters with the (current) object of our obsession affection.

However, because some single girls have become a bit jaded with age, these seemingly serendipitous meetings are the subject of a great debate that pits fate against coincidence.  For example, if we run into a boy we are interested in at the supermarket, could one argue that this is fate and predestined to happen, or purely coincidental?

The case in favor of coincidence asserts that people are attracted to people with similar interests, so naturally bumping into him in the freezer section at Trader Joe's means the two of you love their mint icecream sandwiches.  (You even mentioned this on a date, remember?) 

So you run into him again at a rock concert?  Coincidence.  You obviously like the same band.

Additionally, a chance rendezvous at the local bar is an absolute fluke if the two of you live within a three-mile radius of each other.  (Don't forget, single girls like geographical desirability.)

Now, the defense for fate contends that these unexpected tête-à-têtes are rather remarkable, maybe even magical.  Think about it: an unintended and unplanned encounter translates to two people being in the same exact place at the same exact time. 

Would these "coincidences" still occur if you took an extra two seconds to apply lip gloss this morning or if he stayed in his car an extra five seconds to answer a text message?

Those mint icecream sandwiches at Trader Joe's?  Not only were you both at the same exact Trader Joe's at the same exact time (3:07pm on Saturday), you were both completely out of mint icecream sandwiches at the same time.  Is this fate?

So you run into him again at a rock concert, waiting for a beer in the same exact line (the one upstairs) at the same exact time (9:46pm on Thursday).  But neither of you know the indie band on stage - you're only there to support your friend who is in love with the bass player and he was invited by a friend who won tickets on the radio.  This is TOTALLY fate, right?

Another fortuitous reunion, but this time the two of you both happen to be in the same shitty dive bar in a completely foreign neighborhood at the same exact time?  What are the odds?  Is the world really this small?  And why does it seem to revolve around us?

Call it kismet, call it fate.  Whatever this is, it's not just a coincidence anymore.  Or is it?

Monday, March 22, 2010

#41 Mascot Bracketology

With the advent of spring fast approaching, every smart single girl knows that during this time of year, affectionately dubbed "March Madness," the best way to stay on top of our game and maintain a semblance of social relevance is to participate in our office's/buddy's/cute neighbor's pool for the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

After painstakingly filling out those brackets, wondering where in the world Wofford is or who Robert Morris was, some of you watched in sheer amazement this past weekend as powerhouses like Kansas, Villanova and Georgetown fell to much lower-seeded teams.  March madness, indeed!

Most of the country is lamenting over busted brackets, and there's probably that  random single girl currently ranked at the top of your office pool.  Why is it always the person who seemingly knows the least about basketball, let alone sports, the one who wins it all?

Honestly, most single girls don't have the time or choose not to follow college basketball at all.  (Some of us would rather be watching Gossip Girl or working on eyebrow maintenance, especially if our alma mater's team has been underperforming or going through a "rebuilding year."  Ahem, Bruins.)  So while dudes are poring over statistics on athletes and reviewing games from the regular season to select advancing teams in their brackets, single girls take a less educated approach. 

With both Kansas State and Kansas, Ohio State and Ohio, Florida State and  Florida, AND several Texas schools are in the tournament, we may have a difficult time differentiating them apart and remembering what we caught on the SportsCenter ticker when we were trolling for guys at various bars, or who has been consistently ranked in the top 10 by AP and USA Today.

Some girls choose their winning teams by uniform colors, some just purely guess, and then there are those who base their decisions on how well a team's mascot would perform in a Narnian contest against the other team's mascot.  For example, pitting Washington's Huskies against Marquette's Golden Eagles is a simple decision - hypothetically, the husky could easily defeat an eagle in combat.  Despite Washington's low seed (11), they ultimately beat Marquette (6) in the first round.

Other surprising first round games included Georgetown (3) resoundingly falling to Ohio (14).  Georgetown's official "mascot" is a Hoya.  Now when you google "What is a Hoya?" you will discover its origins as a derivation of a Greek and Latin chant.  What happens when the Ohio Bobcats take on the Georgetown Hoyas?  A 97-83 roaring win for the Bobcats over a chant.  Naturally.

Murray State (13) upset Vanderbilt (4), and it is no wonder.  Although Murray State's mascot is perplexingly a "Racer," Vanderbilt students have "Mr. C," a cartoonish representation of their founder, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. 

As we know, it is not truly "the Big Dance" without a Cinderella - or three.  Mascot bracketology would have successfully predicted the outcome of this weekend's biggest losses.

The University of Northern Iowa Panthers (9) routed the UNLV Rebels (questionable mascot, no surprise) to take on THE top-ranked team in the tournament, Kansas' Jayhawks.  Apparently, a "jayhawk" is a mythical cross between a bluejay and a sparrow hawk.  But Panthers are the obvious winner against a bird hybrid, mythical or not.

In New York, the Ivy League was represented by 12th-seed Cornell.  Although Cornell has no official mascot, potentially causing confusion amongst mascot bracketologists, it is known as the "Big Red."  Perhaps it was this divine entity, an unknown primary color, much like the "monster" in Lost,  that defeated Temple's Owls (5) and Wisconsin's Badgers (4), in the first and second rounds respectively.

In the South, we watched as the Richmond Spiders (7) were squashed by St. Mary's Gaels (10), followed by another huge win for the Gaels against bracket-favorite, the Villanova University Wildcats.  Wildcats versus Irish people?  How does that work?  Obviously, St. Mary's unofficial mascot is Jesus, and God's right-hand man always makes a worthy adversary.

Mascots entering the Sweet 16 include various cats and dogs (Panthers, Huskies, a hound dog, Bulldogs, two sets of Wildcats), colors (an Orange [seriously?], Big Red and Blue Blob), Blue Devils, Spartans, Boilermakers, Gaels, Mountaineers, Bears and Buckeyes.

Ultimate match-ups single girls would love to see are the Blue Blob versus Big Red (a battle of the primary colors!) or a Wildcat-Wildcat challenge.  This coming weekend, will the Spartans rule over the Panthers?  Does Otto the Orange stand a chance against Butler's Bulldogs?  Will Smokey the Hound Dog sniff out Brutus Buckeye?

May the better mascot win.

Friday, March 19, 2010

#40 Faking Enthusiasm Over Engagement Announcements

Upon hearing of a friend's impending nuptials, society deems it appropriate for single girls to squeal ecstatically, marvel at the engagement ring and squeal some more.  And so, when we receive news of an engagement to marry, single girls are obligated to play along with these social norms. 

Truth be told, this performance is done with a heavy heart and some questionable integrity.

But our friend is getting married!  She has found the man of her dreams!  Why the false cheer and forced smiles?  Are we not happy for her?  Why do we feel as if we've just been told our car insurance rates are increasing?

Frankly, we want to be happy for her and we believe we are happy for her, but this news of her engagement really isn't about her. No, quite the contrary.  This is about us.  Leave it to us narcissistic single girls, upon hearing the biggest news of a girlfriend's life, to focus on what's really important: ourselves.

Obviously, there is some jealousy involved.  Our friend has found a guy who will accept her for better or for worse.  This means she can stop counting calories and throw those Spanx away!  Plus, she's sporting a new piece of jewelry on her left hand worth more than some people's vehicles.

While she's prattling on about venues, save-the-dates, flowers and gowns, we're silently resenting the situation - and not just because she can afford the Vera Wang at Saks.

We were curious to see the initial wave of our girlfriends get married immediately in their early 20s to their college sweethearts - we were all barely legal enough to purchase alcohol.  This was followed by a tolerable smattering of espousals here and there.  Eventually, engagement announcements started to spread like the swine flu and we realized that our single friends were slowly being overtaken by married friends. 

When a girlfriend is married off, she becomes a unit with her husband.  I becomes a we.  When making plans with her, it's always "Let me check with the husband, WE may have his boss' dinner that night."  Worse, couples LOVE making plans with other couples.  It starts off with weekend wine tastings in Santa Barbara and turns into playdates with their toddlers.

And so, as the feigned congratulations increased, so did our fear of abandonment. We are ultimately mourning the loss of a friend to an institution that isolates single people.  How is it possible to be genuinely thrilled by this prospect?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

#39: Trashing His New Girlfriend

Much like our unbridled affection for bad "reality" drama series such as The Hills, one thing that single girls like to partake in but don't particularly like to admit to is trashing his new girlfriend.  If, for whatever God-given reason, we manage to stay civil/cordial/friendly/friends/Facebook friends with him after a break-up, we will undoubtedly have something disparaging to say about his latest female interest.

For the most part, nobody loses more friends or raises more eyebrows (in a bad way) than those girls who make overtly catty comments about someone in public, especially among strangers.  (Save that for a reality show.)  But put us in a room with our closest friends, and after a couple of vodka martinis, we will eventually confess all of those nasty, resentful thoughts we've been harboring about the new girl our ex-boyfriend is dating.

Where does all this animosity stem from?  Whatever happened to sisterhood?  Sisterhood!  Ha!  Have you SEEN the way sorority sisters treat each other?  I know from firsthand experience (eating disorder rumors, anyone?) that being a girl, let alone a "sister," is not always sugar and spice and everything nice.  (There was also one summer a long, long time ago when I was at WAR with my actual blood sister over a stolen diary.  Bitch.  To this day, I still have no idea what she did with it.)

Anyway, where were we?  Right.  Back to the source of hostility towards the new girlfriend.  Basically, with any ex-boyfriend, we ultimately failed as a couple.  And there is nothing more a single girl hates than FAILING.  The new girlfriend?  She is our "replacement."

So it is with great despair that we come to terms with the notion that we are dispensable.  After hours spent on self-examination and running various masochistic "what-if" scenarios through our pretty heads, we turn our attentions to the new girl.  After all, the best way to pick a girl up (us) is to put another girl down (her).

Single girls are VICIOUS when it comes to judging and criticizing other girls - and we will especially NOT hold back when the new girl he is dating could potentially be "the one."  This results from a cocktail of jealousy, bitterness and resentment.  After all, it might not have been that long ago when we thought we were "the one" for him.

Thus begins the comparison study.  If the new girlfriend is stupid enough to have lenient security settings on her Facebook profile, we have a social-networking field day.  Every bit of information is extracted from her "Wall," "Info" and "Photos" tabs to such a degree, we could be FBI profilers.  There is some intial satisfaction in discovering that she could be older, fatter and definitely NOT as attractive as we are.  But this eventually brings us to question, "Well, what was wrong with me?"  This silly idea can be quickly and easily buried in the nether regions of our minds by clicking on a terrible photo of new girlfriend in a shitty outfit.

Okay, but what if she is younger, skinnier, maybe prettier than us with an Ivy League degree, working on her MBA and training for a marathon?  We can (and will) find something repulsive about her.  Like how her right ear seems slightly lower than her left ear.  That is WEIRD, right?

We hypothesize about all the bad sex they're probably having and all the diseases she's probably carrying (and sharing).  We discuss the cosmetic surgeries she should invest in or have probably invested in.  Spiteful?  Yes.  Therapeutic?  YES!

Admittedly, at some point of our single girl lives, we have all been the "new girlfriend," replacing an ex-girlfriend who may or may not be older, younger, thinner, fatter or prettier.  And while we smugly wrapped our arms around this new boyfriend, his ex-girlfriend was somewhere in the city with her friends trashing us and wondering if our boobs are real.

Karma is a bitch.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

#38 Awards Shows

This past Sunday, single girls around the world set up camp in front of our television sets in anticipation for the celebrity-saturated night that is the Academy Awards.  And much like other single girls, I was personally invited to an "Oscar viewing party" at a girlfriend's house.  Suggested dress code?  Fat pants.  (I, of course, arrived in leggings.)

The Academy Awards have often been considered "the Superbowl for women."  If such is the case, the "post-season" also includes the Grammy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Independent Spirit Awards.

Much like the Superbowl, a viewing party starts hours before the main event.  Our "pre-game" show is the red carpet show.  While dudes sit on the couch with tortilla chips and a big bowl of queso listening to commentators discuss football statistics, we're sitting on the couch with tortilla chips and a big bowl of queso (and goat cheese and crackers and fondue and bread and mushroom turnovers and brownies) listening to commentators discuss couture gowns.

Do we really care who wins the trophy?  Yes, of course.  Why else do we print up faux Oscar ballots and play eenie-meenie-minie-moe choosing what we think is Best Documentary Short?  This Sunday night, especially, we all cheered as Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director over her ex-husband, James Cameron. 

Otherwise, we mostly care about who wins on the red carpet.

This year, we joined Jay from America's Next Top Model and please-eat-a-hamburger, boobalicious Giuliana Rancic on E! as they used a telestrator (just like in the Superbowl!  I half expected John Madden to bust into the frame, no really) to literally point at various aspects of an actress' gown.  There is no shortage of commentary for a truly bizarre ensemble.  Remember Bjork's swan dress (with matching egg purse!) from 2001?  We're STILL talking about it!

Now, if we had to recognize one distinguishing asset of being a single girl, it's our ability to criticize to no end.  And we especially like to disparage women who are younger, thinner, prettier, wealthier and more successful than we.  (Predominantly, supermodels and actresses.) 

Who is wearing Spanx?  How many Botox injections has Demi Moore had at this point?  Why didn't George Clooney get his hair cut?  Who is that awful creature with him?  And what is she wearing?  (This spawned a whole flood of snarky condemnations.)  Charlize Theron, REALLY?  Miley Cyrus, is your dress too tight for you to stand up straight?  And Vera Farmiga, you look like one big tranny mess.

Does criticism burn more calories than compliments?  We certainly hope so after that cheese and carb binge.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#37 Leggings*

*a running commentary on elastic waistbands

Aside from the remake of The Parent Trap in which a young and talented Lindsay Lohan brilliantly played the role of both Hallie Parker and Annie James, perhaps the only other contribution this tabloid sensation and celebrity trainwreck has made to (wo)mankind has been the resurgence of leggings.

We all agree how socially inacceptable it is to leave the house in your "fat pants" unless you are working on your fitness at the gym or coming home from a yoga/pilates class.  Even wearing sweatpants while walking the dog around certain most neighborhoods in Los Anjealous could be considered a fashion faux pas.

Certainly, the initial months of leggings' second coming in the 21st century was met with mixed feelings from single girls around the world.  Celebrities like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Mischa Barton and Agyness Deyn could get away with wearing a t-shirt, leggings and $700 Louboutins.  But those of us in the general population have not seen nor touched a pair of leggings since the 1980s.  (Remember stirrups?) 

Leggings: Are they really pants??  The fashion world was in a tizzy over this controversial query and leggings were met with some initial resistance.  We thought the trend would past.  That was five years ago.

Since then, leggings have become a staple in a single girl's wardrobe.  American Apparel sells them in a dozen colors and differents textures.  Yes, even gold lamé.  The latest craze is currently denim leggings or jeggings (jeans+leggings).  We have come to embrace this trend (maybe not the gold lamé) for good reason: leggings are really fat pants.  And we can wear them in public.

Leggings are the perfect merger of comfort and style; they are the consummate alternative to skinny jeans.  Suddenly, we can live our lives like we've never lived before.  Hallelujah!  A single girl's secret desire has been fulfilled.  Yes, eating.  A lot.  In public.  Food babies?  Who cares?

The versatility of leggings and their elastic waistbands is also worthy of worship:
- Problem: fat day.  Solution: leggings.
- Problem: skirts and dresses during cold winters.  Solution: leggings.
- Problem: shrunken mini dress turned tunic.  Solution: leggings.

As are its merits:
- Opportunity: movie night at a boy's house. 
Suggestion: leggings.  Best for curling up on the couch and cuddling.

- Opportunity: movie night turned sleepover at a boy's house. 
Suggestion: leggings.  Pairs well with a men's collared shirt the next day.

- Opportunity: last-minute costume party. 
Suggestion: leggings.  Specifically of the black latex variety.  There's a reason why Catwoman is one of the most sexy villainesses of all time.

We never thought we would say this, but thank you, Lindsay Lohan, from the bottom of our (food babies') hearts.