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This past Friday the good Dr. Uke and Mama Rose came in for a very special twelve minutes: Dr. Uke and Daughters’ very own teensy tiny set at Ukulele Cabaret! Jacq was feeling icky and I’m very sorry I dragged her 90% against her will…but I know she made some weird ukulele people very happy! And me, too. Just…wanted…to sing…BAY MIR BISTU SHEYN.
And then I went a little Cockney:
And we all went a little sixties!
My absence from Favorite Store has been inexcusable, but you guys, I’ve had a lot of stuff to do. I’ve learned this month that garbage day is the worst kind of day; that you can make anything cuter by bookending its name with “Mc”- and “-pants,” and that Thai rights to American erotica aren’t going to sell themselves!
Also, it’s super nice out these days so I’ve been taking lots of pictures.
I’M BACK, BABY.
What a way to start the new year! Check out, below, the long-awaited and edited video of me and Jacq singing Janis Ian and Phoebe Snow’s “Hymn” with fellow Glastonburian Mike Cabral at Uke Mansion. Next time with Dr. Uke!
I have a rocky history when it comes to doctors. My stomach and I haven’t gotten along since fifth grade, and as a result I’ve spent a good deal of time visiting different docs, hoping that one of them will solve the unsolvable. What I don’t have is a diagnosis, but what I do have are stories.
Greenwich Village, Gastroenterologist
Crazy Doctor Lady’s office was in an apartment building close to campus. When I arrived, a minute or two late, she was nowhere to be found. After fifteen minutes spent hanging out with the doorman, the doctor arrived, flustered. She led me into the office, sat down behind the desk, and handed me paperwork. It was then I realized that this would be no normal appointment: she was her own secretary. While it wasn’t odd that a doctor with a small practice would also act as receptionist, it was odd that when I booked the appointment on the phone, she pretended to be one. I believe her exact words had been “The doctor is pretty busy on Wednesday but there’s a possibility she can squeeze you in. Let me check with her and I will get back to you.” It suddenly made sense why she had called me back so quickly. “Checking with the doctor” simply meant hanging up the phone, thinking to herself “I guess I can squeeze this girl in at 3:30,” picking up the phone, and dialing my number.
She praised her excellent record as a medical detective. When a man walked into her office complaining of stomach pains that had remained undiagnosed, she sent him away with news that he had a tapeworm. I obviously felt very comfortable. And even more comfortable when my seemingly normal tabletop examine turned into my being hooked up to an EKG machine. Suddenly I was covered in electrodes connected to a screen she was monitoring. And then came the questioning. But this was not normal EKG questioning, whatever that might be. No, the first question she posed was the most inappropriate one possible.
“Jacqueline, do you like my sweater? I was going to go with a yellow one but then I thought, this baby blue shade goes better with my eye color.” Her craziness was no longer camouflaged. She was insane, and I was hooked up to a machine.
I managed to survive the rest of the appointment, after validating several more of her fashion choices, of course. Not surprisingly, no other patients ever entered her office that afternoon.
Union Square, Psychiatrist
Next I tried a different approach for my stomach, a psychiatrist. Because, well, why not?
This doctor’s office was also in an apartment building. And while I guess that’s very common for a city doctor, after my experience with Crazy Doctor Lady, this should have been a sign. The appointment started out well enough. We slugged through my laundry list of symptoms and my medical history. And then I apparently made a huge mistake: I confided in the doctor my observations regarding effective treatment. I told her my stomach likes wine− it calms it down. She was suddenly very interested, squinting her eyes and asking, “How often do you drink this… this wine?” I responded with “A glass every other day? I’m not a heavy drinker. I just enjoy a glass of wine and it seems to calm down my stomach.”
And now her pen was down.
“Does alcoholism run in your family?” “No, not at all.”
And then came the kicker. “You, young lady, are on an extremely dangerous path. A path that ends with you injuring your body with alcohol. You need to get on the right track before this gets out of hand. I’m going to give you some pamphlets.”
No wonder so many people aren’t honest with their doctors. Tell the truth and you’re diagnosed with alcoholism.
I thought it made sense to see the gastroenterologist at a university hospital. I hoped he might have a new perspective on my situation, seeing as a majority of his patients were twentysomething students.
It turns out that his vast experience with college students made him adept at critiquing their academic choices. My stomach wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I believed creative writing, urban studies, and food studies comprised an acceptable concentration. According to Dr. Academic, one should only study history. And if not history, than economics. It seemed that in his opinion, my stomach problems were most likely the result of my inappropriate scholarly interests.
No, he had no brilliant ideas regarding my physical ailments, just a strong conviction that I was walking down the wrong academic path by taking mindless courses. And his opinionated diatribe went on so long that I was late to my next (pointless) class.
So what have I learned from these doctors? Well, nothing relating to my stomach. But I did learn the following: I’m well on my way down two dangerous paths, one toward substance abuse and another toward fruitless career goals, and you should never let a stranger in a blue sweater hook you up to electrodes.
MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” is clearly an adaptation of the birthday concept I personally created: It’s my fucking birthday so if I say you’re going to play your clarinet and attempt break dancing, that’s what you’re going to do. But I’ll let MTV take credit for the elephants and custom designer duds.
When I was in third grade, I decided that my birthday party had to be in the form of a talent show. Guests could choose from a limitless list of talents; all musical genres were fair game, and all dance moves were possibilities so long as they could fit on the mini “stage” in my basement.
I can see now how this party theme could have been interpreted as incredibly cruel. For those who fear the spotlight, an invitation announcing that a performance of some sort was the only ticket to a slice of cake and the highly anticipated goody bag—come on, why else did we ever go to parties? —is better left unopened.
Because it was my party, I didn’t stress over my indecision, I went with it. Unable to settle on one musical genre, I allowed myself two performances. I chose to explore two very different fields: show tunes, and pop hits, namely “My Favorite Things” from a true classic, The Sound of Music, and another one of my favorite things, the “Macarena.” Who needs a guest appearance by Rihanna when you can choreograph your own moves to Los del Rio and save valuable time by not having to wait for an Escalade to roll in fashionably late?
There were a surprisingly high number of standout performances considering I might have been the only party girl in favor of the theme. One friend who shared my love of Broadway sang “Castle on a Cloud” from Les Miserables. My basement stage may not have housed an elaborate set of barricades, nor were there huddled masses of peasants, but there is no doubt my friend gave Cosette a run for her money. Another extremely talented friend opened our eyes to Carnatic music. I also convinced a few friends to be my backup dancers for the “Macarena,” because that song should never be performed alone. In public. Or anywhere for that matter.
My love of talent shows only continued to grow after this party. I became that girl who performs epic ballads in the middle school talent show. Sixth grade was “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” Seventh Grade I paid tribute to the late Selena with her hit “Dreaming of You.” That one got pretty emotional. And Eighth grade was the year I attempted to out-belt Christina Aguilera by performing “Reflections” from Mulan. There were none of the candles and lily pads of the Disney music video, but I found my own way to call upon nature and tranquility. I wore an obnoxious, and bright red, animal print tube dress.
I never celebrated my birthday this year. Maybe it’s time to revisit an old theme… But this time I’m going to have to call in the big guns since MTV has been trying to steal my thunder for six seasons. Has anyone ever descended a grand staircase atop an AmeriGlide stair lift?
People were urging me to join JDate. So I did. For seven minutes. What turned me off online dating in those seven minutes was not the caliber of the candidates, nor was it a personal belief that I was not yet desperate enough to go that route. Instead it was my laziness toward making a member profile. I really didn’t feel like listing the qualities I look for in a man. I’d rather be reading the “Real Estate” section of the Sunday Times. Not interested in rejoining JDate, or any other online dating service for that matter, I researched another option: Speed Dating.
The organized structure of speed dating is so awkward that, as it turns out, it isn’t awkward at all. Women sit at two-person tables and men play musical chairs, moving from table to table every four minutes. There is no fluidity, no sashaying up behind a prospective romantic interest with a pick-up line or a drink offering. Speed dating is methodical. You have a number, a nametag, and a paper for checking yes or no. Of course the decision making must be done as discreetly as possible, because the person being scored need only move his or her beer mug to see into which column the slash falls.
Matches are made online after the event ends. Each participant checks off the names of the dates with whom he or she believes a connection was made, and if there is match, the speed dating company releases each participant’s email address to the other. Then it’s up to the daters to pursue this “match,” or write off the experience as just another Wednesday night.
In my opinion, speed dating is rather cost effective. When a $30 event promises 15 dates, that’s only $2 a date. I’d say that’s a pretty cheap date. Cheaper, anyway, than the dinner my friend was invited to where her date ordered bone marrow and caviar, (two dishes my friend makes it a point to avoid) and then was displeased she didn’t offer up her credit card.
In preparation for the event, I explored the dating company’s website for tips for the first time speed dater. New York EasyDates suggests daters come prepared with several fallback conversation topics to use if things get awkward. According to the site, the weather is always a great topic. The “Guide to Speed Dating” also gives appearance-related tips: “Hair that is too long, glittered or not clean is also not a good thing.” Have they had problems with glittery-haired individuals being rejected indiscriminately in the past? I have to wonder how common this “glittered” hair is. On second thought, I myself fell victim to this look circa 1999 after insisting my hairdresser give me gold highlights. I wanted hair the color of winners.
The theme of my event was Single Professionals: vague, but one of the few categories for which I qualified. There are a surprising number of events reserved for Tall Individuals. I also had to scroll through the Cougar events as well as those designed for Ivy leaguers and singles with advanced degrees.
My date with “Eli” started painfully. I described myself as a freelance food writer. He responded: “You should do me!” We were off to a great start. Eli should have stuck to weather. Instead he launched into discussing the weight loss that followed his most recent relationship. He also slipped me his business card and invited me to be his lunch date the next day for restaurant week. It’s amusing to me that with just four minutes to find a connection with someone, either romantic or platonic, one would choose to discuss a failed relationship and a struggle with weight.
Apparently I was not the only person with whom Eli felt a connection. I attended the event with a close friend who was seated two tables from me, and after getting “Hello my name is…” out of the way, Eli declared to my friend, “You are the girl of my dreams! Where do I go from here?” She directed him to table 12.
My conversation with “Scott” turned into networking. He took pity on me after I made several comments about the difficult job market, and offered to send my resume to the human resources department of his advertising agency.
No pursuable matches were made, but I went on fifteen dates, had a few drinks, and confirmed my belief that there are some subjects better left to a fourth date. At least.
Next time I’m going to pretend to be a firefighter.
Here is a tribute to our favorite e.e. esq. Put on your prettypants; it’s gonna be a long one!
It all started two and a half years ago, when I took forty pictures of e.e. for the good of mankind. This was one of them.
Then she came to New York, and other things happened.
Good luck at law school, come back soon, and remember: NO DISPOSABLE CAMERAS. You’re prettier than that.
Look everyone, it’s a real life fox party! Courtesy of our lovely friend Brittany’s world-famous artist pop Scott Zuckerman! Go on and check him out, and why not become a fan while you’re at it? He likes foxes. He paints foxes. And we know that if you’re reading this blog, you like foxes too!
You know the L.L. Bean catalogue your parents gets? You see the forest scene on the cover there? HE PROBABLY DREW THAT.
Woo! Fox party!