I am not going to recap the whole Jon Finkel/Alyssa Bereznak story because I’m exhausted and who has the time? Do I think this woman is shallow for not continuing to date a guy because she finds how he makes his living impossibly geeky? Yeah, probably. Do I think that writing a mean-spirited, link-bait blog post about it is ill-advised, stupid, unfair and a violation of his privacy? Yes. But let’s stop treating this like the crime of the century, shall we?
The Internet has its collective panties in a knot over this one and why not? It’s a clear cut case of Geek Boy = good and Evil Bitch = bad; the Internet was practically invented to tell this story. But where is the same outrage when every jackass you went to high school with posts one of his hilarious, “Woman, get back in the kitchen!” Facebook status updates? Do you know how many online dating profiles I’ve read that have ended with the caveat, “There’s a difference between fat and curvy. Stop lying to yourselves, ladies. If you won’t take care of yourself, why would I date you?” What of the woman who goes on the Two X Chromosomes Community on Reddit and asks, “I finally got the courage to cut my hair short, what do you think?” and the dude who replies, unsolicited, “hair is okay but you’d look better if you dropped a few lbs.” When the guy sitting next to you in the bar, or in my case, some agricultural machinery convention at Opryland, says, “Who cares what Sarah Palin says, she’s hot! Total MILF!” do you start a Twitter campaign complete with hashtag? And when anonymous people on the Internet start calling Bereznak a cow, a virgin and use Twitter to proclaim they’d like to “shit in [her] mouth" and label her with everyone’s favorite C-word, am I supposed to stand around and cheer with geek pride?
I engage in a fair amount of online dating which, admittedly, is a bit like diving into a swimming pool that may or may not have any water in it. I have been out with nerds of every stripe and color. Muppet nerd. Comic book nerd. Doctor Who nerd. Polymer Chemistry nerd. Yiddish folk studies nerd. Perhaps some of you are reading this now. (Hi, Ryan!) I think it’s fair to say that I’m willing to give almost anyone a shot. That doesn’t mean I don’t have ‘deal breakers’ - we all do. You’re rude to my friends? You’re out. I have to babysit you at social gatherings because you can’t be counted upon to engage with other human beings with out supervision? It’s probably not going to work out between us. I secretly suspect you’re a furry and I’m waiting to see how many dates we go before you mention it? Fine. Let’s see how this plays out. You condescend to the waitress? No second date for you. Dem’s the rules.
Not too long ago I asked a friend of mine, a bit of a dating guru herself, to look at my OkCupid profile and provide some suggestions for how to make it more attractive. Her advice? Show more boob, don’t use so many big words, and don’t be quite so clever - you’re intimidating men. I halfheartedly made some of these changes but stopped well short of beating my breast and cursing the heavens about the unfairness of life. Life is unfair. It hurts when people judge each other. But only on days that end with -y.
Jon Finkel, I’m sorry you were outed by this shitty experience and I hope you’re enjoying the outpouring of support. Alyssa Bereznak, I’d like to think that if you were just a few years older you would never have wanted your name to be associated with this kind of vapid content. Geeks of the world, call me. But pretending that men don’t engage in the same kind of behavior, or worse, every day? Sorry boys, that’s a deal breaker.
I know that it’s probably time to take these old brainstorming notes down from the wall of my office, but I enjoy spending my days staring at the words, “America’s Biggest Mama’s Boy.” With God as my witness, someday I will execute that PR campaign.
“6. Personal safety: residents riding out the storm should not tape windows; it does more harm than good, federal officials say. Removing window air-conditioning units can be more dangerous than leaving them in place, Mayor Bloomberg says. The safer option: take shelter in interior rooms.”—
Today is my one year anniversary with my dog, Mirabella. [I’ve never had an anniversary, but I think this is the part where you cue the Shania Twain music.] Because she is a rescue dog, I’m also calling this her birthday - three years old-ish.
Yesterday I was home sick, and I spent practically the whole day in bed. In a rare bout of permissiveness, I let Mira climb into my bed. It was pretty awesome. I don’t think I want her sleeping with me every day, but nothing beats taking a tap with your dog.
Anna T. reminded me that the first anniversary is the paper anniversary, and I think tonight I shall go home and, instead of presenting Mira with some monogrammed stationary, I will read to her from St. Lucy’s Home for Girl’s Raised by Wolves, the short story by Karen Russell wherefrom Mira got her name.
The nuns were worried about Mirabella, too. To correct a failing, you must first be aware of it as a failing. And there was Mirabella, shucking her plaid jumper in plain view of the visiting Cardinal. Mirabella, battling a raccoon under the dinner table while the rest of us took dainty bites of peas and borscht. Mirabella doing belly flops into compost.
'You have to pull your weight around here,' we overheard Sister Josephine saying one night. We paused below the vestry window and peered inside.
'Does Mirabella try to earn Skill Points by shelling walnuts and polishing Saint-in-the-Box? No. Does Mirabella even know how to say the word walnut? Has she learned to say anything besides a sinful ‘HraaaHA!’ as she commits frottage against the organ pipes? No.’
There was a long silence.
'Something must be done,' said Sister Ignatius firmly.
I purchased the audiobook edition of Bossypants for the express purpose of listening to it on a road trip with my friend KJ. And boy, did it get the job done.
Tina Fey is having a moment as a national darling. This comes as a surprise to many people, especially Fey who still sees herself as the soccer nerd with a facial scar, a shag-sporting kid who spent her adolescence eating nachos with some colorful gays in various stages of coming out. Fey has decided to user her moment in the spotlight to share with us everything she has learned about the rules of improv, managing people and breastfeeding. Tina Fey - she’s just like us, whether she’s spending a weekend simultaneously lampooning the most famous woman in politics, making sure the toilet is clean in Oprah Winfrey’s guest dressing room and planning a Peter Pan-themed 3rd birthday party or climbing a mountain in the dark, vaguely lured on by the promise of some dry-humping at the summit. I, too, have climbed that mountain - figuratively.
Along the way, Fey also espouses her point of view on things like dealing with sexism in the workplace, why Photoshop’ing magazine covers isn’t a crime against humanity, and the collective delusions we all submit to upon entering a nail salon in Manhattan. I did a lot of nodding of my head; I was the passenger on this road trip so I could nod with reckless abandon.
A highly entertaining way to pass time on the Merrit Parkway; I’ll actually carry lessons from this book into my professional life. Bossypants, c’est moi.
“Attendees at a nationalist, right-wing concert in Germany were duped into wearing souvenir T-shirts that at first bared a pro-nationalist stance and symbology but later revealed an anti-far right message offering assistance after they had been washed.”—
“The next time I meet someone and have a hard time talking to them, I’m going to ask them all of the security questions I can think of. “Where were you born?” “What is your father’s middle name?” “What was the name of your first pet?” “What is your mother’s maiden name?” “Who was your first roommate?” “What was your childhood nickname?” “What street did you live on in third grade?” I will keep this up until they realize that I am going to rob them blind. And then I will say, “Get better at talking or I’ll empty your accounts!”—