Of Meisner and Men

So for almost the last two years, I have been taking a Meisner Technique class down in the West Village on Saturday afternoons with a great, no BS teacher named Alan Gordon.  For those unfamiliar with the Meisner Technique, it is so named for Sanford Meisner, one of the preeminent American acting teachers.  Meisner came out of the Group Theatre alongside people like Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, and Elia Kazan and eventually created his own approach to acting, which became known as the Meisner Technique.  The main points of the Meisner Technique are about not doing anything until something happens to you, doing something because of how you feel, and doing whatever you do fully.  Get that?  It’s all about DOING.  No thinking.  No trying.  It involves a LOT of repetition, which most people would assume is boring, but it disciplines you to listen, focus on your partner, and get out of your own head.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s basically a magic sedative for your neurotic tendencies. 

Well, at least it is for me.  I can’t speak for the OTHER 8,999,999 people in New York City.

Anyway, in Things That Never Happen To Twentysomething Female Actresses in New York (which will probably be the title of a chapter in my memoirs), my acting class happens to have quite a few straight men. 

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This is a vision board I made this past summer while drinking a glass of white wine, and yes, features a Beyonce quote. #hypocrite

Yes, you read that 100% correctly.  I am just as baffled as you.  I spent four
years at an artsy university where our unofficial slogan was “gay by May or your money back.” (That is a real thing. #goStars)  I haven’t been around so many straight men in a creative scenario for so long, it feels like being in a foreign country.  The best part is I didn’t even have to make a vision board (which, if I understand correctly, is where women drink white wine and cut pictures of yachts and six-pack abs and Beyonce quotes out of magazines?) or use the Secret to manifest this, it simply happened!

I am at an unusual stage in my development as an adult woman, I think.  My last relationship ended over three years ago, and I really haven’t dated anyone seriously since.  Yet, 75-85% of my closest friends are all in serious relationships now.  I’m 28, and I’ve basically had all of about two actual boyfriends in my life.  I realize I shouldn’t really compare myself to other people, but sometimes I look around and think, am I doing something wrong?  Even my ex is dating someone else (and honestly, I don’t even want to get into THAT right now).

And did I mention that I pretty much work with all men, the majority of whom are straight?  I am surrounded day in and day out by single, eligible men, and I didn’t even have to subject myself to being on the Bachelorette to do it.  No roses to give out.  No weird hot tub conversations.  No fantasy suites.  I wouldn’t mind chatting with Chris Harrison, because we went to the same university, but I don’t want to do it while I’m also trying to court twenty-five dudes with appallingly preppy names like Chad or Geoff (apologies to all non-douchey Chads and Geoffs).

chris-harrison

Chris Harrison, fellow OCU Star, and red rose/love advocate

ANYWAY…College Emmy would excitedly down half a Four Loko (the original version with caffeine, because those still existed in my day, sorry body) and proceed to try to get one of these dudes at work or in her class to be interested in her.  She’d try way too hard and get very drunk and force her best friend to drive her to get cheeseburgers from Whataburger at 3:30am and help her take her pants off before going to bed (which may or may not have happened…several times.  Sorry/Thank you, Caitlin.).

But Current Day Emmy can’t be bothered.  It’s not that I’m not interested, exactly; it’s that I’m less interested in TRYING.  Why should I TRY to make any of these men like me?  Why should I TRY to force my way into a relationship I’m maybe not enthusiastic about for the sake of saying I’m in a relationship?  I tried very hard to make my last relationship work, but truthfully, his heart wasn’t fully invested in it or in me.  Trying just isn’t good enough; it isn’t active enough.  Trying isn’t enough.  It is because of my Meisner class that I have become less interested in trying and more interested in DOING.  In FEELING.  In BEING.   I believe it was Yoda who said, “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  I subscribe to that more than ever these days.  It’s like carrying my OWN little Yoda on back through my personal Dagobah training ground (i.e. New York City…which CAN actually get quite swampy in the summer heat).  And that is why I just DO my work and don’t try to make men like me anymore, and you know what?  I have noticed interesting things have started to happen to me.

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I carry my Meisner Technique training on my back like it’s Yoda…except my sweaty hair never looks as good as Luke’s.

The more I have focused on my work and doing the things I want to do, the more opportunities have started to come my way.  Better creative jobs.  People wanting to collaborate with me.  Money is flowing in.  I’m happier (other than the deep worry over the spectre of fascism associated with this dumpster fire of a presidential election).  It feels as if the universe is conspiring on my behalf (I know, Amy Schumer; I’m the worst.) the more I DO my own thing, the more I DO my work.  And that has also led me to feeling a lot more comfortable in my own skin and worrying less about whether or not dudes are into me.  It’s actually really freeing.  And when you’re comfortable in your own skin, I think it also makes you more attractive to others.  It’s amazing how when you let yourself be seen for who you really are without apologizing for it (which is a major struggle for women, because we always think we have to be someone else in order to please everyone in a way men never do), the right people start making their way into your life.  You are far more interesting when you’re really being yourself.  And some of the gentlemen around me these days are noticing that confidence and noticing me…if you know what I mean.

And as great and flattering as it is, I realized I actually like having my skills and work validated more than my relationship status on Facebook.  It’s taken me awhile to get there, and I could very well change my mind tomorrow, but if I’m really being true to myself, I’ve always cared more about what I’m doing and putting out into the world my whole life than whether I’m attached to somebody else.  I KNOW.  That’s a pretty big life realization, but it’s the truth.  I never really remember dreaming about my wedding as a kid; it was always about what I was going to DO with my life.  But you all know that if Benedict Cumberbatch or Oscar Isaac or Tom Hiddleston or Michael Fassbender (or any of my other Dream Internet Boyfriends) came knocking on my door, there’s no way I’d be turning THAT down. Honestly, if I feel a strong attraction to a dude now (and maybe I currently do to one one of the fellows around me…which I will neither confirm nor deny at this moment in time), and I feel it’s worth doing something about, then I will (okay, fine, I’m currently doing something about it; I’ll confirm it).  But gone are the days of TRYING; that only led to me feeling unhappy and like I was less than others.  I may not have all the same things in my life right now as many of my friends, but that doesn’t mean anyone is better or more fulfilled than anyone else.  It’s just different is all.

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Oscar Isaac: deserving recipient of my pancakes, $12 maple syrup, and my undying love/devotion

Do I get lonely sometimes?  Sure.  I’m a really supportive, smart, funny person who makes awesome pancakes that I think an intelligent, funny guy would enjoy eating for breakfast, but I’d rather the RIGHT intelligent, funny guy get those pancakes than waste my precious time and energy and maple syrup on a string of wrong guys (Hey, real maple syrup from Vermont or our Canadian neighbors is like, $12 a bottle. Not giving that liquid gold to just ANY Chad or Geoff.  Chris Harrison, you may have some.  Also Oscar Isaac.).

And it’s only natural that so much of what I’ve learned in nearly two years of studying the Meisner Technique has begun infiltrating my personal life.  If art truly imitates life and vice versa, then how could I possibly avoid speaking my mind/feelings honestly with others both onstage and off?  I’ve always been a confident person, but having grown up in the Midwest where politeness is prized above plainspoken candor, I haven’t always felt comfortable communicating my wants/needs out of fear of insulting others or being a burden.  But you reach a point where that repression is unbearable and you have a choice: wallow in it or DO something about it.  So now I DO something about it.  And that has made all the difference, because when you are clear about what you want and/or how you feel, it makes it easier to deal with others and for others to deal with you.  You can’t control how others will respond, but you eliminate the guesswork.  Honesty is still, most of the time, the best policy.  DO something because of how you feel.  DO it fully.  Meisner’s mantras are now MY mantras.   They should be all of our mantras.

So DO your work.  DO things that make you happy.  Don’t worry about the other stuff.

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Nothing says “I’m a confident, independent Millennial woman” like a hipster filter-y Instagram selfie on a mountaintop (that probably has a caption like #wanderlust)

“We know what we got, and we don’t care whether you know it or not.”

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

The Day My Facebook (& My Life) Went From Bacchanals to Bridal Showers: A Modern Tale of Growing Up

A few days ago, I had a conversation with a male friend about the weird transitional time we both are finding ourselves in: the time in life when everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is getting engaged, married, and procreating. At 27, he seemed astonished that I, at 24, already had so many friends entering into the everlasting bonds of holy matrimony. “I mean, I understand it at my age since I’ve been out of school longer and a little closer to thirty,” he said, “but this is already happening to you?” I gave a solemn nod. He replied with what I can only describe as a mixture of sympathy and horror.

Bluto's fb page would have been legendary

Bluto’s fb page would have been legendary

There was a time when my Facebook newsfeed was a hive of raucous, questionable behavior; everywhere I looked, friends were hoisting high their red solo cups of glory, chugging their lives away as if there was no tomorrow. Outrageous costumes and blurry photos dominated my networks. It was like ancient Rome or something.

I don’t know exactly how it happened, but one day, my newsfeed turned from bacchanals to bridal showers. Singles nights to sonograms. My world has gone completely topsy-turvy, and I’m not sure I like it.  I suppose it’s the natural order of things, but what, anymore, really IS “natural”? Am I missing something? At 24, I’m being left in the dust of everyone’s mad dash to the altar. In New York, this is not such a big deal, but back where I come from, my being single is a point of conversation and sometimes condescension (mostly amongst the older generations; people my age couldn’t care less).

I never cared much about dating in high school (though my journals and correspondence with some of my BFFs might contest that), and the few boyfriend/relationship-y situations I got myself into during those mixed up teen years were…well, teenaged.  I certainly didn’t date anyone in college due to a slim selection of heterosexual boys in my department (and on campus period).  I was the straight-A student, the overachiever, always working hard and dreaming of being a successful actress.  I’ve never planned my “dream wedding,” choosing colors or thinking about where I’d have it.  I always planned out my dream career: choosing roles to play and directors/actors I’d want to work with. I never thought that wasn’t normal…until now.

I'm an outsider just like Ponyboy.  We're both just trying to stay gold.

I’m an outsider just like Ponyboy. We’re both blonde, pensive people who enjoy staring off into the distance while quoting poetry.

I’ve probably been an outsider (just call me Ponyboy!) my whole life in that way and didn’t realize it until I started seeing large, sparkly diamonds on all the left hands of my female classmates and friends.

Now, I’m not begrudging any of these people their happiness; I’m truly excited for them. They’re starting a whole new journey in their lives, and that’s something awesome for sure. I welcome any chance to celebrate more love being brought to the world.  And I definitely have a blast at weddings!  I’ve yet to find myself feeling miserable and sullen during one just because I’m single; on the contrary, I see weddings as a chance to have fun, drink free liquor (if you have a cash bar at your wedding, I’m not coming; shell out the extra dough for an open bar please), eat cake, dance, and hang out with my friends.  I just have never thought about MY life the way some of my friends think about theirs.  To each their own, you know?  I suppose my priorities are different, and I also haven’t met someone with whom I desire to share all my precious time.  I can’t imagine being married right now; I still feel like a kid a lot of the time, and my finances are all over the place, and I’m not even sure I’m the person I’m supposed to be yet.  How could I possibly devote my life to someone when I don’t even know what I’m doing with it yet?  And don’t even bring up the idea of me having a child before I’m in my thirties.

(I have nightmares of being the kind of parent who’s forever immortalized in all my kid’s Spielberg-ian films as the inspiration for their characters’ “mommy-issues.” In reality, I don’t think I’d actually be like that, but indulge me, please.)

Somewhere, I read the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy,” and it is.  I’m the worst.  I have a competitive streak and self-worth issues, and if I think for a second I’m behind the rest of the world somehow or not doing enough to be seen as “worthy” or “valuable,” I try to do everything I can to catch up and change how I think people perceive me.  It’s not healthy, and I know it, but it’s always going to be something with which I struggle.  And while I use self-deprecating humor as a cover for a lot of my darker, more maligned feelings, I can’t always convince myself that there isn’t something wrong with me somehow because the rest of the world is pairing off, and I’m here on my own (cue Les Mis moment).

I'm not crying because I'm single; I'm crying because Russell Crowe's voice is le miserable.

I’m not crying because I’m single; I’m crying because Russell Crowe’s voice is le miserable.

This is, of course, just my raging Woody Allen-esque neuroses coming out.  In Hannah and Her Sisters, he’s a hypochondriac who thinks he’s dying of various things.  I, on the other hand, am a hypochondriac about love. “Am I gonna catch it?  What do I do if I catch it?  Why haven’t I caught it?  What’s wrong with me? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!  I should have had it by now, right?  What does it feel like?  How do I know when I’ve got it?” I guess I think that if I fret about it enough, I’ll catch love like you do a cold; in my head, it has become a psychosomatic syndrome.

And I do hope you don’t think I’m complaining because in all actuality, I’m not.  Not to mention it’s horribly unoriginal to be a twenty-something female living in New York complaining about her lack of significant other.  I suppose what all this nonsense boils down to is I’m just not used to the idea of aging yet.  As I see so many friends starting to plant roots and seeds for new phases of their lives, I’m realizing I will never be this young again; life changes you.  You think you know that, but until you start experiencing those changes, you don’t…not really.  Someday, I’m going to put down my own roots, and it’s going to be scary and exciting and will make some of my younger friends feel the way I do right now about my older friends.  And there is nothing wrong with you if you’re in your twenties and still single.  Conversely, there is nothing wrong with you if you are in your twenties and married/engaged/with child.  Live your life, because the fact is, it’s YOUR life.  Judge not lest ye be judged, people.  You’re the one who has to live your life, so don’t let anyone make you think for a second that however you choose to live it is not valuable or worthwhile just because it’s not how THEY chose to live theirs.

So my Facebook newsfeed no longer looks like a hive of alcohol-soaked debauchery.  So what?  The Roman Empire didn’t last forever.  I can’t promise MY posts will be any tamer for a while, but that’s where I am in my life, and I won’t apologize for it.  The beauty of life is that it can change in a second; it’s dealing with the change that’s the hardest (but most rewarding) part.

How to Enjoy the Museum of Natural History On a Date

I caught up with one of my best friends last week who just returned to the City from a summer spent playing bassoon in a music festival upstate. We’ve known each other since we were children, so ours is a storied friendship. We love going to museums here in the City to catch up (because they’re so walking-and-talking friendly!), so we decided to engage our scientific/anthropological side and went to the Museum of Natural History. Though I had been before, he hadn’t, so we made a plan to hit the Upper West Side of Central Park one sunny afternoon (it also helped he had free passes). As we strolled through the countless exhibit cases of animals, caveman tools, and space rocks, I realized we were creating a template for a fun date*.

*date = a meeting of two people who have an interest in each other whether romantically or just friends

NOTE TO READERS: My friend, Taylor, and I are fairly outgoing and both artists, so not everything we attempted necessarily will be a fun activity for those who are introverted and/or afraid of looking ridiculous. But if you want to walk on the wild side and give all the tourists something to talk about to their friends and family at home, this list, my friends, is for you! We actually did all the following items.

HOW TO ENJOY THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

TIP #1: Read every placard in an exaggerated British or Australian accent.

It’s been scientifically proven that you have more fun and sound smarter when you use a British accent (okay I made that part up). Personally, it makes me feel like I’m on a wildlife show or narrating a semi-boring educational video (unless it was about space or volcanos. That shit is cool.) I was forced to watch in seventh grade science. If you read all the exhibit stuff in an accent, it will instantly be less boring and a lot funnier. If you’re really adventurous, I’d suggest also trying the following accents: SCOTTISH, IRISH, RUSSIAN, AUSTRIAN, MIDWESTERN, and SOUTHERN. I can’t promise the last two will make you sound smarter though (I say this as a Midwesterner myself).  We kept trying South African all day, which wound up sounding like our Australian accents.

TIP #2: Pretend you’re shopping in a luxury vintage boutique for furniture/decor.

Taylor and I both picked out multiple items we wanted including 19th century Buddha statues, giant stuffed elephants, kabuki masks, and instruments to ward off evil spirits. Yes, none of these items are for sale, but I’m sure we can find knock-off versions at Pottery Barn, Pier 1 Imports, and Crate & Barrel.  I suggest you talk pretentiously about adding to your “extensive collection” and then ask each other whether you’d prefer to vacation in Majorca or St. Barts this Christmas.

TIP #3: Re-enact your favorite Forbidden Forest scenes from Harry Potter or Lothlorien scenes from Lord of the Rings in the darkened Dzanga-Sangha Rainforest exhibit in the Hall of Biodiversity.

May I suggest…

It’s a classic. And just imagine the screams of the children when you pretend to drink unicorn’s blood.

Or

Because who doesn’t want to be ethereal and mystical like Cate Blanchett?

I also should mention that if you’re on an actual, legitimate date, this is the perfect spot for a quick, quiet makeout sesh.  A lot of kids don’t love this room because it’s a bit creepy being all dark and forest-y and full of a looped soundtrack of forest noises.  Taylor and I didn’t makeout because he’s gay, and I think of him like a brother, but we decided that we’d definitely makeout with Ryan Gosling if we were there on a date with him.

TIP #4: Lie on the floor beneath the giant whale, stare up at the ceiling, and:

Not quite as cute as Willy from the classic 90s film Free Willy

a)Ponder if this is what it feels like to be on acid

b)Debate the possibility of whether or not said giant whale falling from the ceiling would kill you

c)Unsuccessfully try to tell each other the story of Pinocchio and/or Jonah & the Whale

d)Take a short nap

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

TIP #5: Watch the Big Bang presentation narrated by Liam Neeson and then see who can name the most Liam Neeson movies.

I think you’re awesome too, Liam. Please don’t kill me.

You can phone a friend. And by “phone a friend,” I mean it’s more fun when you ask a tourist! Bonus points if you actually do an impression of Liam Neeson.  Also, this movie is short, really cool, and will basically blow your mind with the knowledge of how completely insignificant Earth is in the grand scheme of the universe.  Did I mention Liam Neeson?

TIP #6: Don’t use a map.

I probably should have started with this one, but if you live in the City, you can visit the museum anytime, so be spontaneous and fly by the seat of your pants. I was wearing a skirt, but whatever. Taylor and I didn’t go to every exhibit, we just drifted through places that looked interesting. And if you get lost, by all means ASK the lovely museum security guards. They’re all so friendly and would much rather talk to people than stand up against a wall monitoring patrons’ behavior like they’re elementary school teachers on recess duty.

TIP #7: Stare at the dinosaurs and quote Jurassic Park.

“They DO move in herds.”

TIP #8: Finish the day with coffee and a long stroll through Central Park.

This one is for all of you too scared to do #1-7.  If you did #1-7, this is a good way to maybe share a slightly more serious moment with that special someone and transition back to acting like the semi-responsible adult you want everyone to think you are.  Walking promotes conversation, at least that’s what I’ve learned from watching too many Aaron Sorkin shows and Sex & the City where people walk and talk super fast with each other.

Central Park is classic New York.  You just feel a certain romance in the air whenever you enter its shady, languid presence.

***

As I said earlier, Taylor and I didn’t visit all of the exhibits inside the museum, so the possibilities for future date activities in the American Museum of Natural History are truly endless (and probably endlessly immature)!  Someday, I will write a follow-up date guide to this fantastic, educational spot when we visit it again, because I have some great ideas for the Planetarium (all of them involving either Star Trek, Star Wars, or Ridley Scott movies).

Taylor and I had a wonderful, fun afternoon and managed to catch up in the process.  We also genuinely learned a lot despite all our shenanigans.  I’m looking forward to our next NYC adventure, which I’ll be sure to chronicle so all of you brave-hearted people can actually have real fun on your dates instead of just talking about your likes/dislikes and desperately trying to seem cool while you nibble on sushi at some generic Japanese restaurant in midtown.

Just pretend that’s me instead of Michelle Williams. We’ll always laugh this hard if I’m your lady, Ryan. ALWAYS.

Oh and Ryan Gosling, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be waiting for you in the darkened Hall of Biodiversity with my eyes closed…

Loves Labours Lost Part II or How I Fell Victim to the When Harry Met Sally Dilemma

I didn’t mention one pretty major thing in Part I, but I felt, in serving
the story properly, it needed to be discussed here.  One huge portion of my
life has been spent in the dating purgatory (well, the other besides
“She’s One of The Guys”-iosis) known as Are-We-a-Thing-Maybe-We-Are-But-Not-But-Kind-Of which leads to lots of Kind-of-But-Not-Really-But-It-Feels-Like-It Dates.  You’re thinking, oh big surprise, guys with commitment issues.  Imagine that!  It really goes beyond that, though.  These aren’t necessarily guys with commitment issues; these are guys who are so enigmatic for whatever reason (be it chivalry, shyness, or god forbid something else), they never tell you what they’re really thinking or feeling.  These are guys who give you just enough of those stupid “expert-tested” body language cues you read about in Cosmo magazine (believe me, I’ve read like, ALL of those godforsaken articles) to leave you utterly perplexed as to whether they like you or not, but it’s usually not on purpose.  A lot of times, the whole Are-We-Aren’t-We thing goes hand in hand with “She’s One of The Guys”-iosis, but really it goes back to the When Harry Met Sally dilemma: can men and women be just friends?

And you know what?  I don’t think it’s possible.  If you asked me a few years ago, I probably would have answered differently.  But that was before.  That was before I started on the treacherous path of Are-We-Aren’t-We with someone.  It’s one thing for gay men and straight women to be friends, but it’s an entirely different scenario when the man is also straight.  You know why, don’t you?  Because at some point you’re both thinking about sex with the other person; it may not be at the same time, but at one time or another you’ve both at least considered what the other person looks like naked.  Don’t pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about.  With a gay male-straight female relationship, sex is immediately out of the equation, which allows for deep bonding without the worry of giving off signals or developing some sort of sexual attraction.  This is not the case with straight men and women; it doesn’t really matter what you do, there’s always going to be some sort of attraction there, even if it’s for five
seconds.  Until physical action has been taken, the tension can’t and won’t
subside.

I have been embroiled in this situation for over a year and a half, so you can imagine how horrible the tension has become.

For a while, I thought maybe I was making it up.  Initially, I thought perhaps I was exaggerating tiny little details in the hope that he was reciprocating.  We’ve known each other for four years and counting, so our friendship had been steadily building.  I didn’t really start feeling an attraction until about two years into the friendship when he and I started spending more time together and having more in-depth conversations.  As time and our conversations progressed, we became close confidantes, sharing sensitive personal information.  I could feel myself starting to wonder where this was going, especially since I’d had lots of guy friends over the years but none I’d talked to like this (except, naturally, gay friends).  This is where the trouble started.

I’d notice glances in my direction, the touching of knees underneath a table, random text messages, and bits of conversation I’d analyze to pieces.  It’s funny how attuned I became to the minutiae of his movements, speech, and overall interactions with me; it was like I was Daniel Day-Lewis doing some super Method Actor-y observations for a role.  THAT’S how attuned I was.  I’d spend hours talking with friends, trying to dissect him.  Some days, I’d purposely do something to try to coax him into making a move or saying something that would give him away all to no avail.  He’d give some small indication one day, and the next, there’d be none.  Finally I decided to be done with the whole thing.  The mental turmoil just wasn’t worth it.

Ha.  As if I could just give him up that easily.

To quote that fine singer of club songs (I use the term “singer” loosely here), Ke$ha, “Your love is my drug.”

So maybe it wasn’t or isn’t love, but it’s DEFINITELY a drug.  I’ve tried to quit cold turkey, but like the Millennium Falcon caught in the Death Star’s tractor beam (again, sorry), I keep being pulled back.  He has this hold over me, and I’m powerless to stop it.  It’s the Great What-If that keeps pulling me back.  The Great What-If can be a very powerful thing if you let it, and I’ve let it control me for a year and a half, though there have been a few times when I’ve ignored it altogether because I was in one of my I-quit phases.  Somehow though, like Luke Skywalker with a tie fighter on his tail (I really apologize for all these references.  I have Nerd Turretts.), “I can’t shake him!”  I keep coming back to it.  Back to him.

It’s when we’re alone together that slays me.  He says something that burrows itself deep within my soul and subconscious, and I don’t know how to react.  Then he just LOOKS at me for far too long for a normal conversational exchange, and I know that with any normal person, these are opportune moments for a kiss…which still hasn’t come.  It’s some weird, self-imposed barrier that we’re both too afraid to break.

BUT WE HAVE TO BREAK IT OR I’LL GO CHARLIE SHEEN CRAZY.

We’re stuck in a rut, and there has to be a natural progression to this, otherwise this cycle will continue, and he and I will keep coming back to each other, unable to move past this chemistry we never explored.  I keep wondering why we keep coming back.  I wonder why I’m not more upset that I haven’t heard back from a guy I had a little fling with over a month ago.  I wonder why I had such a hard time trying to tell my guy friend about that guy.  I wonder why he seemed a tiny bit jealous about it.  I wonder why he texted ME at 3 am one night from 1500 miles away instead of trying to get lucky with three girls he found cute at the bar he was in.  I wonder why he and I always seem to wind up sitting together at parties and bars and in the park.

My best friend, patient listener that she is, has told me on more than one occasion (including last night) that I have to break this vicious cycle.  I’m well aware of it.  I know I have feelings, I won’t deny that, but I also haven’t figured out what I want to do with them.  I don’t know what I want, and I sure as hell better know if he and I ever talk about the giant LOTR-ish elephant in the room (I think those are actually called Mumakil in Return of the King.  I had to look it up on Wikipedia.).  I know a huge part of me is just curious to see if he and I could work in that way, curious to see if we could work together physically too.  I won’t pretend that I think he also hasn’t considered it before.  He’s not stupid; I know he’s probably at least once noticed what’s going on between us, but he’s never done anything about it.

Well, kiddo, you can’t have it both ways.  Either you’re just a supportive friend or you want to be my boyfriend, but you can’t be jealous when I pay attention to another guy that isn’t you.  If that bothers you, then fucking DO something about it.  I can’t wait on you forever.  I won’t wait on you forever.

One of my favorite moments of When Harry Met Sally is when Harry, after years of are-we-aren’t-we moments, realizes on New Years Eve he loves Sally so he runs through Manhattan and finds her at a party to tell her, even though she is angry with him.  He tells her that “I love that you get cold when it’s seventy one degrees out, I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich, I love that you get a little crinkle above you nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts, I love that after I spend a day with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Years Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible.”  It takes her by surprise, and she says “You see, that is just like you Harry. You say things like that and you make it impossible for me to hate you. And I hate you Harry…I really hate you.”  Then, of course, they kiss.

And while I know romantic comedies all have some sort of semi-cliched moment like this, I can’t help thinking that maybe THIS is what I want.  I want someone to know me that well and find all those weird little quirks about me wonderful; I want that sudden realization they can’t do without them.  They can’t do without ME.  And I don’t want them to be afraid to just tell me…even in the middle of an awesome late 1980s New Year’s Eve party.

I don’t know how all this will turn out.  I know I have to do something about this.  I am tired of indecision.  I am tired of being one of the guys.  I am tired of not being taken seriously as a woman.  I am tired of the glances and the missed opportunities and the soulful conversations that make me feel special but never really lead anywhere.  And as tired as I am where I should quit, there he will be to say that he would be lost without me or that I have a way of knowing exactly what he needs to hear and I just understand him better than anyone else.

You see?  That is JUST like you.  You say things like that, and you make it impossible for me to hate you.

Loves Labours Lost Part I

I’ve been doing a lot of examining lately on the part of my feelings, specifically for another person.  I promise I’m not delving into any sort of territory close to that of a teenage blog riddled with sob-stories of unreturned crushes and OMG!-worthy love declarations.   However, to get an accurate picture of a person, you have to observe all facets; otherwise, you’re going to get a very one-dimensional impression.  That being said, please allow me to indulge myself today.  This blog comes in two parts.  This is obviously part one.

First, some facts:

1) I am not a serial dater.  I’ve had like, one actual boyfriend in my life, and lots of sort-of-almost-but-not-really boyfriends.  No, I’m not a lesbian; I’m just picky, awkward, busy, and a whole host of other excuses that don’t really completely explain my lack of romantic male companions.  My brother, on the other hand, has dated numerous girls, been engaged once, and now is dating a girl younger than me.  I wouldn’t necessarily say this bothers me (okay, it bothers me a little), but I don’t understand why my brother is such a serial dater, and I am not.  It’s weird because we balance each other out in a way: he is never alone, and I am always alone; well, independent, which leads me to number two…

2) I have always been an independently minded person.  My mother, for a woman who got married at a fairly young age (uh, nineteen to be exact), has always sort of instilled in me this feminist view of being self-sufficient and strong.  I am the baby of the family, so I’ve always been a little more outgoing than my brother who is the stereotypical protective first-born.  I’ve always been more opinionated; I’m more liberal.  I grew up thinking I could do anything and be anything I wanted to, because my mother told me I shouldn’t limit myself.  My mother never has wanted me to feel I had to rely on a man for happiness, and because of her, I don’t.  I rely on myself to get things done and make my own way, and I’ve never tied my personal happiness to whether or not I had a boyfriend or garnered attention from the male species.  Though I am, by birth (and of course, occupation…actor.  DUH.), a bit of an attention-seeker, I try not to base my personal worth on someone else’s approval of me, especially men.

3) I have a lot of gay male friends.  This is a double-edged sword.  I love my friends, regardless of their sexual orientation, but I admit I have sometimes relied too heavily on my asexual relationships with them instead of allowing myself to be open to sexual ones with men who are decidedly not into Youtube-ing videos of in-her-prime Whitney Houston and fawning over Jake Gyllenhaal.  My gay male friends are my soulmates.  Every woman has one who is the Will to her Grace, and I am no different.  The problem is that as great and wonderful as they make me feel, there is one thing that gay male friends cannot provide their female companions with, and unfortunately, that is a very important thing.  One friend, in particular, encompasses pretty much everything I want in guy; he’s my gay version of the straight man I want, and though our relationship is all kinds of wonderful and full of love, he can’t love me in all the ways I need to be loved.  It sucks, but I don’t fault him for who he is, because that’s precisely why I love him.  Gay friends are great…until you mistakenly date one, which leads to number four…

4) Yes, I have dated a guy who is, in fact, gay.  Every woman in the performing arts has lived this story at least one time.  I dated a guy who came out two months after we broke up.  There were tears.  There was outrage.  There was disbelief.  There was a huge fight.  There was a year and a half of silent treatment and bitter feelings.  Then there was growing up, acceptance, and reconciliation.  Now, he and I are just good friends.  Needless to say, it isn’t a pattern I really want to repeat, so I feel that in many ways, this has influenced me more than any other factor.  I am more cautious because of this situation.

5) I am more than acquainted with the tricky devil known as “unrequited love.”  I have harbored more than my fair share of crushes on people who didn’t feel the same way.  A lot of this silliness occurred in high school when all I wanted was a guy who wasn’t my gay best friend Taylor (no offense, baby boy!  I love you!) to sit next to me on the bus on the way to marching band competitions and hold my hand.  Yeah, I know, nerdy and silly, but that’s how I felt every time I saw yet another slutty flute player seducing a percussionist (the percussionists are the ultimate marching band bad boy) every Saturday in the fall.  I won’t pretend that there probably wasn’t a boy or boys who maybe had a crush on me, but if they did, I certainly didn’t know nor did they try to make a move on me.  I seemed to like guys who were unattainable in some John Hughes-ian way: Jake Ryans and Blane McDonnaghs who happened to play trombone or sing baritone next to me in choir.  Pretty much all my serious dating attempts in high school failed terribly except for when I dated the gay who I didn’t know was gay.  But let’s be honest, my unrequited love led me to date a GAY MAN.  To be fair, he was pretty straight at the time, but still.

6) I have often been the victim of a terrible syndrome called “She’s One of The Guys”-iosis.  What?  You haven’t heard of it?  Well, let me explain.  This syndrome often occurs when a guy deems a girl cool because she can hold her own at Halo multiplayer on XBOX, can quote every line of The Empire Strikes Back, enjoys watching baseball, hates Katherine Heigl rom-coms just as much as he does, idolizes the Beatles, and can hold her liquor with the best of them.  He loves “hanging out” with her because she will debate with him over who was the best captain of the Enterprise (uh, Jean-Luc Picard OBVIOUSLY) and watch multiple episodes of Family Guy without complaining.  She doesn’t talk about Ryan Gosling obsessively or wear a mile of makeup like Kim Kardashian.  She can tell a raunchy joke like the guys in the Hangover but still seem classy about it.  She’s cool.  She’s funny.  She’s “just a friend.”  THIS is “She’s One of The Guys”-iosis.  It’s THE absolute WORST, because no matter what you do, he’s become blind to the obvious observation that you are, in fact, NOT a guy.  These guys like having you around because you’re good for a laugh and aren’t annoyingly ditzy.  You don’t get grossed out by them.  Because you happen to be smart, funny, and enjoy things that aren’t necessarily “girly,” you thus become a dude and not a desired (and sexually desired) object.  Emma Stone is doing a lot for us that fall into this category right now, thankfully.  She’s proven that it’s okay for girls to like dude things but still be feminine and sexy and desirable.  I’m pretty sure every guy on the planet wouldn’t mind nailing Emma Stone.  Guess what?  Emma and I are about a week apart in age and have the same type of personality, gentlemen…except that I’m not famous and therefore, slightly more attainable.  It’s so annoying when a guy says they like Emma Stone because she’s sexy but also sort of a dude.  I’m like, well, she’s not the only one, if you’d tear your eyes away from your all-engrossing game of Madden NFL and notice me, you fucking idiot.

7) I refuse to dress slutty to attract attention.  Okay, I’ll admit I love a good see-through blouse, short skirt, or plunging neckline as much as anybody, but I don’t make it a habit of wearing that stuff regularly.  I’m more likely to be a little fashion-forward and daring if I’m going to a gay bar with friends than I am at a regular “straight” bar.  The gays make less of a deal about this kind of thing (probably because there’s usually a lot of half-naked shot boys running around and drag queens with outfits that would put Gaga to shame), only acknowledging that you look “fierce” and hot.  There’s not really a competition.  I can dress for me.  Every time I go to an every day bar, I hate looking around at all the girls dressed like they’re auditioning for an even trashier version of the Bachelor (is that even possible?), flipping their hair and guzzling drinks so they’ll seem witty and cool like the Sex and the City girls.  Of course I want to look good, but I dress for myself.  As a Scorpio, I’m all about the mystery; if you give everything away, he can’t wonder what you look like naked because he’s basically already seen it.  I pretty much just stick to something showing off my gams and some red lipstick, 60s style eyeliner, and mascara.  That’s my standard bar outfit.  Take it or leave it, gents.  Hope you’re happy with Slutty McSlutterson because I guarantee that the only thing deep about her is the deep V she’s wearing to show off her tits.

8) Like everyone else on the planet, my first kiss was terrible.  I was sixteen, and he was seventeen (Quick!  Someone find a gazebo.  It’s a Sound of Music moment.).  As I’ve mentioned, I was a little starved for male attention in high school, so when he started giving me some, I jumped on it and clutched on for dear life like I was on the sinking Titanic.  He was all involved pretty heavily in theatre.  We were in Seussical together and also the same choir.  He was nice, but I should have realized he was taking advantage of my naïveté and inexperience.  He had long-ish red hair and was rather fond of wearing a camouflage army jacket with pretty much every outfit (what a rebel).  After several long, flirtatious MSN Messenger chats (Oof.  Dating myself with THAT reference.), we decided to meet up one day to “hang out” at the park.  He didn’t have a car (batting 0-1 already there, kiddo), so I had to pick him up.  We sat underneath a tree and sort of awkwardly talked for a while, anticipating the real reason we were there.  Finally, he stopped the awkward conversation (thank god) and started kissing me (Uh, God?  I’ll take that awkward conversation back now.).  It was beyond terrible: sloppy, too fast, a lot of shoving of the tongue into my mouth.  Of course, I hadn’t really kissed anyone before, so I didn’t have much comparison, but I had watched enough soap operas, John Hughes movies, and Moulin Rouge to know this just was NOT cutting it.  I mean, I enjoyed it in a I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening-just-go-with-it-because-it’s-better-than-nothing way, but I knew then and there that this was all he wanted (well, I’m betting he wanted to “MSN Messenger” with my pants too, but LOL, that just WASN’T going to happen.  C-ya L8R!).   After about thirty minutes of pure tongue ravaging (batting 0-2 now, sir), I finally was able to pry myself away from Mr. Army Jacket and kindly suggest I needed to meet up with my parents for dinner.  After driving him to his house where he insisted on Sloppy-Joe-ing all over my lips yet again (uh, that’s 0-3), I said goodbye and drove away.  After that, I pledged to never let myself be so desperate that I make out with a guy who just throws an army jacket on over everything because he thinks it makes him look rebellious because it’s not rebellious; it’s lazy and kind of gross.  Also, he was preying on my inexperience and insecurities, and THAT is DEFINITELY not cool.  Also, I’m pretty sure he gave me mono that following summer (0-4, dude.  Your batting average sucks.), which was one of the most miserable experiences my tonsils have ever had.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I stay away from redheaded men who aren’t Ron Weasley, Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley, and well, any Weasley or actor who played a Weasley.  To this day, I can still almost feel and taste that tongue in my mouth.  (0-5, Clayton.  TKO!)

9) I have never been in love.  Of course I have experienced the familiar accelerated heartbeat, the butterflies in the stomach, the sweaty palms, and the goosebumps.  I have felt desired.  I have felt lusted after.  I myself have lusted and desired, but I have never been in love.  Yes, I love my friends, and I am completely smitten with several of my gay best friends, loving them as much as a person can love another person without romantic feelings involved.  I would take a bullet for some of them.  But I have never felt that euphoria, that overwhelming feeling of two halves making some beautiful whole.  Sure, I’ve had that sort of “first love” thing where you like someone on a pretty deep level and you know you’ll always be tied to them in an emotional way because they were the first person who made you feel a little special and prized, but that’s not love, really.  It’s more akin to admiration or something.  It’s people like me who can’t wrap their heads around what it means to be in love because we don’t know.  We’re the people who get jaded because it’s like a special country club we don’t have the membership to.  I want to play golf with love!  I want to play racquetball with love!  I want to have a pool boy bring me free drinks with love (well, who doesn’t?).  In all seriousness, though, I keep hearing this whole “you just know when you know” thing, and all I can wonder is when it’s going to happen to me.  Will it ever happen to me?  I know, I know.  This is one of those great, unanswered questions about life.  There have been so many poems and songs and great pieces of literature written about love.  So many movies.  Yet, I just find no solace in that.  These people are describing their version of love, what has happened to them, born out of their own experiences.  I just don’t think anyone can actually really tell you what being in love is like.  The famous authors can get close, but it’s still just words on a page until you’ve felt it.  I think love brings transcendence.  Add love to those words, and they transcend the page into something else; something purely mythic.

I want the mythic.  I want the transcendence.  It’s getting it that’s the hard part.

Stay tuned for part II.