What’s in a name… Druscilla? For Real?

My friend Gina recently posted something along these lines on her facebook page: “I just want an older lady who will give me millions of compliments, cook me fabulous healthy meals, and clean my house. –Feeling like I want a grandma. “

This does sound quite lovely. However, it brought me to thoughts of my own grandmother, who would have done absolutely none of those things… unless she was being held at gunpoint by Martha Stewart.  

My maternal grandparents both died before I was 10, which is sad because they were definitely the more normal of the grandparents. My grandma Sally would have loved doing my blond hair like she wore it in the fifties (she was the only other blond in my family) and made me cookies. And despite that I didn’t know him long, I do remember my grandfather giving me bear hugs and snuggling with me while we watched the sound of music.

My paternal grandfather died before I was born, so that left me with only one grandparent to really get to know: my maternal grandmother. Here is a brief bio:

Maiden Name: Druscilla Eileen Roach (that shit is for real). Not much improved when she married my grandfather to become Druscilla Eileen Roach Bernard.

Nickname: Dru

Occupation: Socks and Sandal wearing ex-Californian and retired secretary.

Height: 5’ on a good day.

Weight: 85 pounds… maybe.

Vehicles: 1969  red Jaguar, which was purchased with cash most likely hidden underneath a mattress for 30 years. Once in Colorado, Subaru legacy was purchased.

Drink of choice: Greyhound

When I was about nine years old, Grandma Dru moved to Colorado from California so that she could be closer to my father/her son in her older age. Although, I think she would have much rather stayed in her ancient ranch style home in L.A. that smelled so permanently of dog that even the entire world’s stock of febreeze could not solve it. But she made a fortune off her house, which was promptly demolished and a small mansion was built upon the desirable Arcadia site during the reurbanization of LA in the early 90’s. Hopefully they were able to get the dog smell out of the land too.

I only have one or two early memories of Grandma Dru (I don’t think I even knew her full name until I was in high school… I once told someone her real name while she was in another room and when she found out she grabbed me by the wrist and told me she would never speak to me again if I ever told someone her real name) in California. And each person could have a different account of a single person… but there are some pretty interesting things that made my grandma unique.

Like most old people, she had the most ridiculous eating/sleeping schedule. She woke promptly at 4:00 a.m. and drank coffee. She most likely had to wait for the newspaper to get there because NOTHING… not even a raccoon on a post-rabies high from the night before… is up that early in the morning. She usually ate lunch around 10:45 a.m. and dinner at 4:30 p.m. She watched Golden girls in bed from about 6:00 p.m until she fell asleep at 8:00 p.m. Like a lot of people… I watched the golden girls with her in my youth and had no clue why it was so funny until I watched it again in my 20’s.  Oh Blanche… you saucy whore.

She was one of the least maternal human beings on the planet. I was obviously in school during the day (and we didn’t live with her except every other weekend) so I am not quite sure what she did for the hours between the two bites of food she ate at each meal… but there was certainly no baking of cookies going on. She could cook approximately one meal… and it was some sort of goulash with spinach soaked in mayonnaise on the side.  I think she only made it one time… and that is probably for the best.

For a while I thought she was a lesbian, because she had issues of playboy in a weird magazine stand in her bedroom. My mom thinks she probably “had them around for the articles,” but regardless it is good to know that my crazy grandma would have voted for Obama.  This however, comes into strict contrast with the occasional visits from her California “boyfriend” named Bud… who largely stayed smoking cigarettes indoors and rested the cigarettes between drags on an extremely loud electric ashtray that actually sucked the smoky air back into itself. Where did the air go grandma… where did it go? Rumor has it Bud asked Dru to marry him, so that they could be part of the three-letter first name club (fine… that’s not true). She apparently told him no, and they (Bud, Dru, and her independence) dated until she miraculously outlived him.

One thing we Bernards are really quite adept at is drinking wine. And while she drank wine at night with dinner, she also drank a lot of grapefruit juice… often at 3:30 in the afternoon… which is not really juice/breakfast time. So while I wouldn’t technically classify her as an alcoholic… it is entirely possible. Largely because when you weigh 79 pounds one strongly poured greyhound could get you through a large majority of the day with a good buzz. They don’t even have alcohol consumption guidelines for people that small because people that small are usually under the age of 12.

She was someone who truly did what she wanted… when she wanted. She was an avid member of a terrier rescue organization, and dearly loved her Scottie named Freeway (because he was rescued from an interstate) and her terrier named Sweet Pea. She wore her retainers at night… well into her 80’s. She had what I like to call, “Pirate Hair.” At 83, she still refused to cut her hair, which at that point had never fully grayed and fell halfway down her back. She looked kind of like a grayed version of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, but without the beads. She drove a manual transmission Subaru legacy until the day she died. She frequented a bar called Shipwrecks… which for your reference is nowhere near an ocean. And she went along day to day doing her thing like a woman two decades younger than her actuality.

This was her life… which even in my youth I found comical. Tune in next week to find out how I learned the most important things about her… which was actually in death. And it’s pretty damn hilarious. 

There is no whining in dating (or baseball).

Let me set the scene for you:  It is a random Thursday night and you are on your first date with someone. You spent hours obsessing over your hair, your clothes, and whether to wear lipstick or not. And it must have worked because the date is going really well. You are in a coffee shop, perched on a stool next to your date… laughing and smiling and drinking your chai seductively. You have moved to the coffee shop after having dinner for hours… and your chatting about life continues. And then inevitably, the dreaded question comes up:

“So why are you still single?”

I feel like whenever anyone asks that question they are playing a game of chicken. “Are you going to give me the real answer?” or “Are you going to give me the stylized and socially acceptable version?” But in the end, everyone loses because even the real answer is often something we are unaware.  For me, I have often used the “I haven’t found the right person,” which really means… I am afraid to get married. And while one could suggest this stems from being hurt in the past… I am actually more evolved than that.

I am a self-professed commitment-phobe.  For example, when I can’t decide between two handbags… I just buy both. I can’t lease anything for longer than a year. Buy a house? No way. To cut my hair or keep it long? Keep it brown or go back to blond? Decision-making can be quite the fucking mess.

 Women being afraid to get married is a newer phenomenon. In the past (like 1900), getting married for women meant a lifetime of security, largely because your gender roles were set. You would stay home wearing uncomfortable corsets while you bore children as the result of having sex only in the missionary position, while not enjoying it (this might not be entirely true, but this is how the Victorian times come across to me). If you didn’t choose option A, option B was to become the spinster Aunt who lived in the attic with several cats and extremely dour clothing (because being a true cat lady is never out of style).

Men in the Victorian era, didn’t have to give up as much. Men still got to galavant around town wearing top hats, smoking cigars, and many had affairs where they were lucky enough to have sex not in the missionary position (because being a loose woman also never goes out of style… and option C, prostitution, is the oldest recorded profession).

Nowadays, women have so many more options. But they still fit in between lines or categories…. Even if the lines are a bit blurred. Here is how I see it rolling out for me personally:

If I were to choose a modern version of option A, here are my fears:

I am afraid that I too, will become a mom who posts on facebook about every gross bowel movement that their child has. That’s right friends, I said it. I know how hard every mom works to raise their child, but let’s get real here: We may have gone to high school or college together, but I don’t know your middle name, or even what street you live on. But I know when your kid’s diahrrhea was “OMG soooo gross. Had to change Hunter’s clothing three times today because of so much poop.” I know that we all want to share our lives, it would be quite hypocritical of me to say otherwise. But let’s hope that things stay interesting enough that I don’t have to write about bowel movements.

I can’t choose option B because I hate cats.

Most men think women’s minds and romantic inclinations have been hijacked by romantic comedies and chick lit novels. Not true. You think I want a romantic comedy? You think I want you to show up outside my house in the rain and profess your undying love for me? Guess what, I don’t. I had a fairytale, and it too went up in flames. Like NASCAR fucking flames. Also, if you show up in the rain to profess your undying love, be sure to bring a taser… since I don’t live in the nicest of neighborhoods. Nothing says I love you like a good mugging.

Pretty much every single woman over the age of 27 has had some sort of fairytale or deep romantic love that went south (and I don’t mean that he moved to Australia). And while what most women want is varied by lifestyle, sexual preference, and varying levels of “daddy issues,” there are a couple of common themes:

*We want someone who is not a sociopath. Because I don’t want to find out in five years that you are hoarding weird dolls in a secret basement closet or have some strange anger issue (because after I read “Gone Girl,” I literally called all my close family and friends to make sure they weren’t sociopaths). I get that everyone has their baggage… just talk to someone about it. Like a licensed professional who can report you to the police if you are really nuts.

*I want someone who has normal addictions… not fucked up weird ones that will end up on the Jerry Springer show one day.

-Acceptable addictions are as follows: Coffee, microbrews, exercise, reading national geographic, being pathological about buying large textbooks, crosswords, cars, nice Gucci loafers, etc. Normal things that you can talk about with your friends that won’t prompt them to call the police and have your family and pets removed from your home.

-Non-acceptable addictions: porn, gambling, kinky sex practices that require any sort of protective gear or electrical current, hoarding of any type, alcohol or drug issues,  obsessive discussions about your mother or third grade teacher, etc.

And here is the truth about option C: Women can now have sex outside of the missionary position and they are allowed to enjoy it! And we don’t have to be labeled as prostitutes! So guess what guys… we too are scared to give up the freedom of sleeping with several people.  We are scared of giving up an eternally clean space that will become dirty once you enter it. We are afraid to give up our designer floral print chair cushions, and our well furnished homes so that you can hang a lighted Budweiser sign in the fucking living room.  I have style, good taste, and I respect myself enough to admit that to myself and to you.

Believe it or not, this was supposed to be a pro-marriage  post… but it sounds everything but that. I guess what I am trying to say is… Guys, get over yourselves. These days, women are giving up just as much as you when choosing to enter into a marriage. A relationship with someone should be about gaining something you lack. Being with someone who makes you laugh.  And realizing that you will have to sacrifice a part of yourself/your life to be with someone. But you should be gaining something in return.

Go forth and love people!

The Hazards of Blogging

To all my readers, I apologize for my absence of posts as of late… life has been hectic. And despite that my friends and family may have stopped reading my blog regularly, I would like to thank a devoted group of folks who keep my daily blog post reads usually in the 5 to 10 range.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with modern day blogging, most blog sites not only tell you the number of reads your blog gets per day, but it can also tell you the following:

*The number of reads each post gets per day and week.

*What search engines were used to find the blog.

*What search terms you put into google that made you click on said blog.

*What country you are in when you read my blog.

*And if you clicked on any of the photos in said blog.

This excess of knowledge about the people reading my blog leads me to:

Hazard # 1:  If you use the words “teen” and “tube top” in a blog title, an obscene number of perverts will be reading your blog daily (approximately 5 to 10 perverts per day).

That’s right folks… I get a pretty regular amount of hits from people plugging some variation of “teens wearing tube tops as skirts” into google and then clicking on this post: Me making fun of fashion for teens. I also get, less frequently however, young girls hoping for a tutorial on “how to wear a tube top as a skirt.” Ugh. Oh the downfall of society.

So thank you to all the devoted perverts out there, and all of the idiot teen girls bored on the internet: You are making the internet porn industry go round. The only thing satisfying for me about this entire ordeal is that everyone is leaving my blog post sorely disappointed as it only contains photos of mannequins.

So now that everyone is busy erasing their web browser histories we can move onto:

Hazard # 2: You will mock people, and they will say it is ok, but it turns out it really isn’t.

So I was on the phone with my Mom yesterday just chatting like normal. We catch up once or twice a week, but it has been on the less frequent side since she and my sister were both here a mere two weeks ago for a wedding. So it was kind of surprising when about 15 minutes into the conversation she pops up with “So I am moving to another apartment upstairs. The movers are coming tomorrow.” In case you are wondering why this is surprising or otherwise, please read this post…. which highlights the moving debacles of my mother.

So now I just feel bad because my 65 year-old mom is moving without my help (or my sister’s help… who only lives 45 minutes from my mom)… all because I needed the world to know that she owns too much shit.

As a manager, I know there are tons of ways to motivate people to do things. You can reward someone with words, with prizes, you can coach, or possibly inspire. But it turns out, that the most effective way to get anything done is through public shaming… even it if is unintentional. (It’s ok mom… I wouldn’t have told me either).  So now that you are thinking what a horrible human being I am… we can move onto:

Hazard # 3: To censor or not to censor.. that is the question.

So this may seem like a ridiculous thought to you all… but it turns out… people actually read my blog. I started writing as a cathartic way to get rid of some emotional baggage, and it turned into a funny thing that people wanted to read. So I have found myself doing a lot of writing and not posting because I am afraid of offending someone. I think with most humor writers this is always a conundrum (it is also the reason most famous people hate Chelsea Handler). And quite frankly, some of the most offensive stuff out there is the most hilarious. If we all sat around being polite all the time we would be like…the Amish.

And then there are the surprising messages/facebook requests from former flames (not even a phone call) regarding whether you kept writing (because they have apparently been google stalking you but can’t find anything because they aren’t adept at this whole new fangled thing called the internet). I politely told them all to fuck off.  You didn’t deserve me then and you don’t deserve me now.

If you want to know some things about me now… here it is:

I bike to work everyday like a bat out of hell. I am in a healthy relationship. At 31, “keeping it tight” takes longer than it used to… and now it involves heat rash. My current favorite form of exercise in drunk bicycling. I am far from perfect and it is a beautiful thing. I still don’t have any tattoos. I live in a safer neighborhood now so I am thinking about going blond again. I was recently told by a customer that I have nice gums (he later admitted he was an oral surgeon and then it made a lot more sense).  My beloved dog has a fatty tumor and will soon be having obscenely expensive doggy liposuction since the fat is in her armpit and getting large enough to impede her movement. After being involved with a lot of weddings this summer, if I ever get married it will be at a courthouse.  I am not too old to have friendship bracelets. I could go on for hours but will spare you all the gritty details… this week.

Thanks for reading. I promise to write each week. Namaste.