Oh GAWD… Am I One of THOSE Girls?

I took another subbing gig with my 4th graders this week.

This time, instead of teaching math and science (Which was brutal, by the way because I am neither mathematically nor scientifically-minded, and trying to teach some of the math concepts to these kids was… well… awkwaaaaard. Good thing I could distract them with my brilliant humor, and encourage them to “work together”. That always comes in handy…) I get to teach language arts, health, and social studies, which I’m much more suited to.

But as soon as I took the gig, I started freaking out because in a couple of these classroom scenarios I may have to do some co-teaching.

There are two major problems with this:

  1. I hate when other teachers can watch me teach. It’s horrifying. I have this irrational fear that any senior teacher can at any moment yank my license from me for no other reason than the fact that the lesson didn’t “go so well”. I feel like I’m still student teaching, trying to earn approval from my cooperating teacher and snag that “A” I’m so desperate for.
  2. The other teacher in the 4th grade… is a guy.

That second point, shouldn’t even be an issue. And yet it is. Because somewhere in these 30 years of existence I have developed this aversion to working with members of the opposite sex.

Yes, you read that correctly. And yes, I am totally horrified that I just admitted that.

This aversion is completely ridiculous because I adore men and I think they’re funny and brilliant and awesome and I totally appreciate them…

It’s just that…

I get all…

Scared.

There. I said it. Scared. I get scared and nervous and freaked out…

AND I DON’T KNOW WHY.

I never used to be like this.

Ever.

NEV-ER.

In high school, college and grad school the majority of my classmates and professors were men… and they loved me. Most of my bosses have been men… and they loved me.

Also, just to clarify, I’m not trying to be all…

“Oh… people love me… I’m so awesome…” I just mean that typically I had a great working relationship and rapport with the guys I worked with.

But somewhere, between then and now, things have changed… and not for the better.

I could blame it on the divorce and the fact that my whole life and everything I knew to be true about it were ripped out from under me in such a malicious fashion that perhaps my aversion to working with men was understandable, but this started before the divorce. Even when I was married, I started to avoid interactions with men, and totally freak out and clamp up anytime I was around them. I mean… what the hell?!

What I do know is this: While I was married, my husband liked to argue… about everything. I don’t know why, and I don’t know that he did it on purpose. However, I do know that no matter what came out of my mouth it would be contradicted. If I said it was cold outside, he’d say it wasn’t. If I laughed about the absurdity of a situation, he’d tell me it wasn’t that unusual and probably wasn’t something I should laugh about. If I told him how I felt about an issue as a woman, he’d counter it with how other women felt about the issue, thus nullifying my opinion. It was exhausting. It got to the point that I was censoring everything that came out of my mouth because I no longer trusted my own thoughts and opinions. If my own thoughts and opinions were constantly being contradicted, I was obviously wrong… right?

I also know that my husband loooooooved to be the center of attention. And he loved to hear himself talk. And he loved being adored and flattered. So, as was my natural tendency as an introvert, I let him be the center of attention and do all the talking while I just sat back and only spoke when spoken to. I didn’t realize this was happening at the time, but looking back, I may as well have put on a burqa and called it a day, because I was slowly allowing myself and my personality to be diminished because of my husband’s natural proclivities.

Annie, you were such a dumbass… (The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?)

I don’t know. Could being in that kind of relationship have caused my current aversion to working with males? I don’t know. I’m just asking questions here, peeps. Be cool. I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with me, honestly. Because I don’t like it. I hate it. And quite frankly, it’s just stupid. I know it’s unreasonable and silly, but it happens without me realizing it. I just get all… weird.

……………………………………………………………………………………

Oh, good gawd… Am I irretrievably screwed up? Am I like… a girl with baggage?

Oh, GROSS.

(Insert full body shiver here.)

Gif Sources: www.reddit.com, realitytvgifs.tumblr.com

Things That Made Me Go, “Hmm…” – Week 19

(Insert hilarious, insightful and pithy introduction here.)

  • I know I asked you all on Twitter to PLEASE stop talking about Hillary because… well… what more is there to say about her e-mail? Are we discussing anything new or just re-hashing the same criticisms over and over and over and over and… Seriously. MAKE IT STOP. But just because I asked YOU all to stop talking about it, doesn’t mean that I should. Especially when SNL makes hilarious skits about it like the following:

The claw hand wave? The laugh? The following: “There will be no mistakes on my rise to the top! …If I decide to run! Who knows?!”  Oh, the Hilarity. (See what I did there?) Kate McKinnon is brilliant. God bless ya, Hillary.

  • This little tidbit from Greg Gutfeld on “Benevolent Sexism”.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4110216915001/gutfeld-when-did-chivalry-become-benevolent-sexism/?#sp=show-clips

(I know, I couldn’t get the video posted on here, but click the link, because it is fantastic.) First of all, how awesome is Greg Gutfeld? I love how he calls bullshit on all political correctness. And secondly, I’m supposed to be offended because a man behaves like a gentleman towards me? And men are supposed to feel guilty for behaving like gentlemen? SERIOUSLY?! I kind of want to punch the feminist who came up with this theory right in the face. There’s feminism, and then there’s just plain stupidity. OH MY GAWD… I can’t even see straight.

*Deep Breath*

Moving on…

  • This Brutally Honest “Cinderella” Trailer…”Where girls are taught that their problems will disappear if they’re hot enough to land a rich husband.” Bwahahahahahaha!  (I’m nothing if not a paradox wrapped in a contradiction…)
  • This tweet from Jamie Otis from “Married at First Sight”:

Because… divorce makes you re-think some things.

  • And lastly, this new “Boyfriend Shirt” trend. First, we had boyfriend jeans and now we have boyfriend shirts? Um… if there was a box of kittens at the end of a rainbow in a flowery meadow filled with dancing butterflies and frolicking unicorns… I would still love this trend more than that. That’s how much I love it.

boyfriend shirts

Whew! Okay… that was one big ol’ messy conglomeration of random crap, huh? (I know that’s redundant. I don’t care.) I aim to please. And you’re welcome… (You people are so ungrateful.)

That’s all I have this week. Over n’ out, good buddies.

The Secret Lives of Boys – Part 4

I swear I intend to wrap up the series in this installment. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. Do I plan on it? Not so much.

And If you’ve missed the first installments, you can find them below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Obviously, throughout the course of my life, my perceptions of men have changed – from being woefully naive and sometimes outrageously unrealistic to having a better understanding of the expectations women put on men and just how unrealistic those expectations can be.

Looking back on my marriage, I can honestly say I didn’t have unrealistic expectations for my husband. Were there things I had to learn to let go of? Absolutely. Had I learned to let a lot of things go and let him be himself? Yes. It was a constant learning process, a continual give and take. Was I always successful? Of course not, but the point is, I was trying and giving it my best. But it becomes difficult when the world has expectations of what men should and shouldn’t be, and when your mate suddenly doesn’t meet those expectations… it becomes an awkward dance for the woman to “make” her mate more… “presentable”.

Let’s face it. Society expects men to be everything a woman needs wrapped up in a fashionably dressed package. They should be sensitive, but not too sensitive. Manly, but not brutish. Funny, but not overly sarcastic or off-color. Professional, but personable. Present and engaged, but not meddlesome. Able to lead, but not bossy or demanding. Responsible, but adventurous. Adventurous, but not unnecessary risk-takers. Helpful, courteous, kind and compassionate, but not so much so that you begin to confuse them with your closest girlfriend.

Are you picking up what I’m laying down? We want men to be everything, but not too much of something. It’s no wonder so many men are commitment phobic and wary of women. What the hell do we want from them, anyway?! (On the flip-side, of course, men’s expectations of women are oftentimes just as confusing and unrealistic, but that’s a whole ‘nother box of worms for another time.)

After the terrible, harrible, no good, very bad event, I began to build up more expectations, higher expectations, and unreasonable expectations for men in order to avoid being screwed over by anyone ever again. And these expectations were beginning to look a lot like the unreasonable expectations I had started out with in the first place. I was right back where I started from. Which was insane, because after my experiences with both my husband and my brother, I knew no guy was perfect, nor was it reasonable or fair to expect that of him. Furthermore, after seeing what some guys managed to morph into after nagged into submission by their significant others, I knew I didn’t want that. But… I didn’t want to get hurt again either. So, how was I going to find a perfect man that was still… a man?

I wasn’t. There is not such thing as a perfect man. There are good guys, honorable guys, and loyal guys, but there are no perfect men. Even the best, most gentlemanly and honorable guys are going to have a penchant for driving too fast, telling off-color jokes, taking risks, and occasionally behaving like adolescent hoodlums. Why? Because they’re men. They’re not women. They’re men. No matter how much we try to “polish them up” or make them more “presentable” to society, a man is a man is a man. What exactly is wrong with that?

Apparently there’s enough wrong with that that men feel the need to keep portions of their lives hidden from their female counterparts (much like my brother did) out of guilt and not “measuring up”. They’re not trying to be idiots, but they have to be men, and that means sometimes being stupid, blowing off steam, getting angry, telling dirty jokes, laughing at dirty jokes, driving too fast and sometimes taking some risks.

Please understand. This is not a free pass for men to engage in total asinine behavior. Men can still be responsible, loyal, faithful, kind and patient without giving up their manhood. But if a man is all of those things, is it really necessary to tame him to the point of demanding he give up his motorcycle, his affinity for cigars, and his appreciation for dirty jokes all in the name of making him more “polished”?

Ladies, we need to learn to pick our battles. We need to recognize that men are supposed to be a little wild and untamed; they’re supposed to be risk-takers; they’re supposed to be “men”. And if we’re not okay with that, then maybe we need to re-evaluate some of our expectations. I know once I did, I found myself appreciating men a whole lot more for who they are, not for what they had the potential to be.

The Secret Lives of Boys – Part 3

See? I told all ya’ll that I would get around to the 3rd installment. And all ya’ll were like, “Psh. OKAY. I’ll believe it when I see it, Annie…” Well, believe it, oh ye of little faith. BELIEVE it.

Okay…where was I? Something about men… or boys. Or some combination of the two. Hang on, let me get my notes…

Okay, so we covered how I had all these ridiculous expectations for the men in my life, but how those expectations didn’t apply to my brother. And after the terrible, harrible, no good, very bad event in my life, I realized that women’s efforts to “polish” up the men in their lives was having a very bad effect on men.

And… I think that’s where we left off, right?

Which brings me to now… and the most important part of this series: The Secret Lives of Boys.

I mentioned how after the terrible, harrible, no good, very bad event in my life, I had become a lot closer with my brother. And suddenly, we were doing a lot more talking, and a lot more confiding . And he was doing a lot of confiding about his past. At first, his revelations and confessions were enough to make me plug my ears while singing at the top of my lungs, because quite frankly, living in ignorance about the saint that was my brother, was just easier. And the idea that my brother was anything less than perfect was… well, it made me lose faith in men. My big brother had always been on this pedestal, against which I measured all men. He was honest, and kind, and brave, and honorable, and he did everything that was good and right and pure.

Except, that he didn’t.

You see, he had a secret life of his own that no one knew about… especially not his mother, his sisters, and his wife. This “secret life” wasn’t something scandalous or terrible. It just consisted of all those things he had done as a stupid youth that he had never divulged to anyone for fear of being judged, condemned and sent to hell for.

Things like… playing with fire, driving recklessly, not behaving like a perfect gentlemen, swearing, drinking, smoking, carousing, pushing boundaries, breaking rules and behaving like… well… like a man.

When I found this out, I was all…

And then I was all…

Because, I’m sorry but… What the hell?!

Here’s this dude against which I measure the worth of all men, and he’s full of it like the rest of them? So, in the aftermath of my terrible, harrible, no good, very bad event, I was pretty much convinced that all men sucked, and weren’t deserving of anything good in life.

Once I stopped being angry and went back to being awesome, it occurred to me that… my brother wasn’t perfect. He was human like anyone else. Likewise, all men are human. Therefore, no men are perfect. And I realized, I had been trying so hard to convince myself that somewhere out there was a perfect Mormon Eagle Scout, that I was forgetting that perfect people don’t exist… and the more you try to polish men to fit into your idea of perfection, the more you rob them of the personalities they were born with. I was doing precisely the same thing my sister-in-law was doing to my brother – the very thing I hated. I had been looking for a perfect robot void of personality, void of history, void of life-experience, void of any imperfection that made them interesting and worthwhile and awesome. I wanted a man without a secret life. Apparently, I wanted a man who wasn’t a man at all… but just a blob of compliance, obedience and perfection. I basically wanted a monk.


Stay tuned for Part 4. Because I will wrap it up… I plomise. (Yes, I see that typo. But it makes me laugh. Because plomise sounds way more awesome than promise, so I’m leaving it as is. Maybe I’ll add it to my vernacular.)

For Part 1, click here.

For Part 2, click here.

Gif Sources: http://lifesucksthenyouregenerate.tumblr.com/post/4711623921, www.thenug.com

The Secret Lives of Boys – Part 2

Missed the first part? Find it here: The Secret Lives of Boys – Part 1


So, basically, I had these unrealistic and completely unreasonable expectations for the men in my life.

And then I got married.

Obviously, I didn’t carry all of these unreasonable expectations into marriage with me (because, let’s be honest… if I had, there would have been a blood bath after the first month), but male behavior still bewildered and baffled me. It didn’t help matters that my husband hadn’t grown up with any sisters, but instead 4 overgrown babies of brothers who couldn’t handle much social interaction outside of scratching, farting, burping and making poop jokes. Basically, my in laws were the cast of “Alaskan Bush People” (and that’s only a slight exaggeration). This did not bode well for a girly girl who thought men were already weird in the first place.

Despite this, I never tried to all-out change my husband. (Note to all women everywhere: You cannot, should not and will not ever change your husband/boyfriend/fiance. Stop trying.) Sure, I rolled my eyes at his gross jokes, and showed my disdain when he’d fart in public, and I tried to get him to dress more nicely… but, I never tried to change him. Polish him up a little bit, sure. But change him? Not so much.

At least I didn’t think so…

The funny thing was, when I was around my brother and he would show these same “male” traits, I would just laugh, and then roll my eyes at his wife when she would get mad at him. With my brother, it was funny. With my husband, it was  unacceptable. I realized the disconnect there, but I could never pinpoint the reason for it, nor change it. Why were the same “boy” things okay for my brother to do, but not okay for my husband to do?

In recent years (and especially in the months after my divorce), my brother and I have become quite close. So, it bothered me when I began to notice that the weirdo freak of a brother I had grown up with was turning into a brow-beaten stump of a husband who was supposed to behave properly at all times. In a word, he was whipped. Suddenly the things that my sister-in-law and I would commiserate over (why can’t men pick up after themselves, what’s with their obsession over cars, why do they think it’s funny to tell dirty jokes in mixed company, WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BE NORMAL?!) became reasons to suck the life and personality out of the men in our lives. Suddenly, as a single woman, I wasn’t okay with that. In an attempt to be “normal” and more “acceptable”, my brother was losing the personality that had made him so funny and awesome in the first place.

Had I done the same thing to my husband? Were women doing the same things to their husbands? How long had we been doing this? “Where have all the cowboys gone?” I DON’T KNOW… MAYBE WE “POLISHED” THEM TO DEATH?!

As a single woman, I was suddenly seeing things from a new perspective. And I didn’t like what I was seeing…

The Secret Lives of Boys – Part 1

I grew up in a household overrun with women. With 3 older sisters and a take-charge mother who ran the household, it was very much a matriarchal set up. Despite having 1 brother and an emotionally unavailable and wholly uninvolved father, the men were outnumbered and out-ruled – not by design, but simply by happenstance. So, because of the situation I grew up in, boys were always a bit of a mystery to me.

They just didn’t make sense. Poop and fart jokes? Cars and trucks and loud machinery? Taunting, teasing and pulling pigtails? What was with this weird hoodlums? And why, for the love of all that was holy, could they not just sit quietly and color like the rest of the “normal” people in class? I didn’t understand who had allowed these psychos out of their cages to run freely about while destroying everything in sight? Isn’t that the definition of anarchy? What was wrong with these strange creatures?

Because of this fundamental misunderstanding of the male species, I grew up with the misleading notion that boys were “okay” if they could just be tamed, trained and gotten under control. If boys represented anarchy, then girls represented civilized society. Boys were savage, barbaric and primitive. Girls were polished, sophisticated and refined. If boys could be taught how to behave properly and respectably, they were acceptable. If not, they were not worth my time or energy. (Oddly enough, these “rules” applied only to men outside of my family. They did not apply to my brother, and any woman who dared try to “tame” my brother was wholly unacceptable and unwelcome. But I’ll delve into that later on…)

I had nothing but the highest expectations for the men I spent time with: They didn’t drink, they didn’t swear, (They didn’t rat their hair. They got ill from one cigarette. *cough-cough-cough*  Grease? Anyone? Anyone?) they didn’t tell dirty jokes, they didn’t smoke, they respected their father and mother, they excelled in school, they were kind to all animals, they didn’t spit, they opened doors for women, they waited until marriage for sex, they appreciated Chick Flicks, they didn’t look at women lustfully, they didn’t tell women what to do, they loved Jesus, they were patient, they had never tried a single, solitary drug aside of Tylenol or Advil, they didn’t listen to rap or hip hop, they dressed well, always smelled nice and never got their dress clothes dirty. Basically, I expected men to be Jesus. And in my adolescent stupor, I thought these expectations were not only totally reasonable, but also quite necessary, in order to protect myself from scary, farting, swearing men. (Oh, the horrors…)

Clearly, I had all the makings of a cloistered nun.

Basically, I expected men to be perfect. Especially any man I chose to spend my time with. I didn’t see it that way, of course. I saw nothing wrong with wanting a “good guy”… or basically a Mormon Eagle Scout. Because if I had grown up being Miss Lily White, what was wrong with looking for Mr. Lily White?

(Oh, Annie… you were so stupid.) It never occurred to me that men are simply not made that way. They are the raging bulls to our peaceable little lambs. And no amount of taming, training or civilizing is going to change that. Attempting to do so only robs them of their identity and basic humanness. And who wants that?

Apparently, I did…

And… This is Why I Am Single.

Valentine’s Day used to be my second favorite holiday behind Christmas. As a kid, I loved making the stupid Valentine’s boxes, doing heart-shaped art projects (even though I couldn’t cut out a heart for the life of me and most heart-shaped art projects resulted in a pile of shredded paper, mangled scissors and me laying in the fetal position sucking my thumb…), wearing cool clothes and accessories in various shades of reds, pinks and purples for the special day, and exchanging some kick-ass treats and cards with classmates. I mean… what’s not to love?

Even as an adult I loved Valentine’s Day. Even when I was single. There was just something exciting and anticipatory about it. You never knew if your secret crush might just give you a Valentine or ask you out, and that excitement and anticipation lasted most of the day until later that evening when you realized you had no secret crush, no one was going to give you a Valentine or ask you out, and you would clearly die alone with no one to love you. And thus an evening of eating an entire package of Double Stuf Oreos while watching Friday the 13th (or some other equally gory, definitely un-romantic film) would ensue.

So, when I was married, Valentine’s Day was a HUGE deal. Flowers were gotten, cards and gifts were exchanged, a romantic evening was planned… except for last year when we literally did nothing except go out to dinner because he didn’t want to “spend the money” on a bunch of frivolous things since he was too busy fantasizing about a romantic evening with someone else.

Wait…

Why do I love this holiday again?

Anyway, the point is… I pretty much love everything about Valentine’s Day despite the disappointment and heartache and inevitable devastation it carries with it.

What’s funny about my affinity for this holiday is the fact that I am just about the most un-romantic girl on the planet, hands down. As much as I appreciate being appreciated and acknowledged on this holiday, I find grand, romantic gestures uncomfortable. The romantic scenes in movies that every girl dreams about, are the scenes I have to leave the room for because I cannot handle the level of corny schmaltz involved. When I see couples who constantly hold hands and touch each other, I have to look away and roll my eyes because… seriously? What are they trying to prove? Plus, it’s just uncomfortable. And most of the time I eschew romantic gestures by screwing up my face, laughing uncontrollably and telling the giver of the romantic gesture to “shut up”. (Note to self: This could be a big part of why you are single.)

For instance, one time while on a romantic moonlit walk with my new husband, he picked a nearby flower and stuck it in my hair. Rather than swooning at the romantic gesture, I immediately jerked away from him fearing for the condition of my hair and demanded to know what he was doing. And once he explained himself, I gave a little pout, lamenting the fact that now the flower would now die because he picked it. (Looking back, this probably wasn’t the best route to take, and was possibly embarrassing and humiliating for him.)

In another instance in college, I was enjoying lunch with some friends and a new potential love interest when the new love interest reached across the table, clasped my hand, and tried to explain to me how special and wonderful I was despite the fact that I had just received a “D” grade on one of my recent exams. However, because I am me, I screwed up my face and spent the next few minutes obsessing about how to get my hand out of his grasp because there were other people at the table, we were in the student union, everyone was probably staring, this was so incredibly awkward and OH MY GAAAAAAWWWWWWSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHH.

And in one final instance for your consideration, I present to you the case of the thwarted kiss, in which a new boyfriend wanted to kiss me but rather than just going in for the kiss he began to trace the outline of my mouth in what I can only assume was his attempt at a romantic gesture, and again, because I am me, I burst out laughing and asked what he was doing. Again… emasculation complete. (WOW. I am really good at this whole humiliation thing…)

Good grief, I am a terrible human being.

So, you see… I SUCK at any and all kinds of romance mainly because I am WAY too socially awkward to participate in this strange little dance known as “love”. And clearly, looking back at my horribly awkward interactions with men, the whole “being single” thing totally makes sense. Because, albeit unintentionally, I may be the meanest, most horrible woman on the planet. (I obviously need someone with a good sense of humor and self-confidence who is unphased by my awkwardness.)

*sigh*

However, even though I may never, ever, EVER celebrate another Valentine’s Day with someone special (Because I’m not exactly selling myself well with this post…) I still love it. Because love and hearts and special gifts showing appreciation is good… even if we don’t deserve it.

Gif Sources: www.tumblr.com, imgur.com, www.reddit.com