My life is glamorous and noble and true
I would like to take Target to task for placing their maternity clothes so close to their regular women’s clothes. There is no line of demarcation, no sign or anything, just bam, they’re right there, practically mixed in together, fraternizing. More than once I’ve fallen prey to the “hey, that’s a cute skirt, why does it have that funny waistband panel ohhhhhhh” trick. I mean, I applaud you, Target, for carrying such an attractive line of maternity clothes, and huzzah to you, Liz Lange, whomever you may be. But I think it’s sneaky to put them right in with the regular non-pregnant women’s clothes. I mean, come on! Can we make the pregnant ladies feel like pariahs just a little bit? They already get to eat for two and wear elastic pants for like a year; I’m not feeling too bad for them.
The other day I spent an hour or two at the Atlantic Center Target, which is an experience as draining and soul-sucking as can be, like trying to break up with a guy for an entire afternoon, only he keeps saying, “No, I don’t get it: why?”, and also he has a dozen screaming toddlers who are coated in scarlet fever. I’d spent a fair amount of time buying sensible and necessary items like toilet bowl cleaner and breakfast cereal and shower gel, and of course I’d had to smell all the shower gels, and that right there took a lot out of me, screaming people aside. So I can almost see how what happened next happened: my defenses were down and my instincts were shot. Which is how I ended up in the dressing room with a maternity top.
I was about to get in the checkout line, which is located right next to the women’s clothes, and a shiny red satin empire-waist tank top, hanging out of place with a bunch of sweaters, caught my eye. I glanced at it and thought, “huh, that’s kind of cute, could be good for New Year’s or something, I should try it on.” So I parallel-parked my cart, spoke to the dressing room attendant, received a number, locked myself into the room, took off my T-shirt, and had the satin tank suspended over my head, about to slide down it my arms, before I looked up and realized it had a pink maternity tag.
The following is the totally real thought process that ran through my head at that moment, standing half-naked under the fluorescent lights, the dressy maternity tank top dangling over my torso but not actually on my body:
-Oh, man. I’m an idiot.
-That’s such bullshit! How come the only cute thing out there is a maternity thing? Pregnant women don’t need to look cute; they’re pregnant!
-That’s not very nice.
-Oh, you know what I meant.
-No, hold on a second. Does the tag say how far along in a pregnancy you have to be to wear this? Maybe maternity clothes are sized by month, like baby clothes, and this one is like, first trimester! I mean, it’s smallish, and empire waisted, and who am I kidding, I have a serious rack. Maybe, maybe…
-How do you know it’s smallish? It’s not even on you yet.
-It looks smallish.
-Just look at the tag, for chrisakes.
-I can’t believe I’m even having this conversation.
-The tag is completely unhelpful and makes no mention of months. Oh well. Off with it.
-Wait. Wait. Why not just pull it on and see? What could it hurt?
-Uh, because how awful would it be if it fit?
-Ouch. True. Good point.
-But even worse than that would be that, if it fit, and it looked okay, or even just almost fit, even worse would be that I know myself, and I WOULD BUY IT.
-Oh my god. I totally would.
-But maybe I could pull it off! Maybe I could like, take in the sides, or wear a little cardigan over it?
-Nah, that’s a lot of work for a $12 tank top. I hate sewing.
-Plus, what if someone was like, Oh, that’s so cute, where did you get it? And then I said, Oh, thanks, I got it at Target, and then a week later they walked by and saw it on the maternity rack and were like OH MY GOD IS SARAH PREGNANT?
-Dude, knock on wood right now for even stringing those words together.
-Shit! I’m probably tempting fate just by holding this thing in my hands.
-Jesus, woman! Knock on wood! Knock on the dressing room door, right now!
-Sarah. This is the dark depths of your soul. Not that a maternity top might fit you, and not that you would buy it if it did, but that what’s keeping you from doing so, from even pulling it down over your head and finding out, is sloth. You would not buy it because it would take too much trouble to alter it with a needle and thread.
-And also fear of jinxing myself.
-Yes, and also fear of jinxing yourself.
-I am a horrible person.
I was also going to tell you this story about how I had the most horrible nightmare of my entire life last night, and actually had to call my mother on the phone at 3:30 in the morning and make her talk to me, but I think I should save my humiliating stories up, spread ‘em around a little. God knows I might run out someday.
This year marked my second Thanksgiving where I stayed here in New York. Although I miss my family at the holidays, I like these Brooklyn Friend Thanksgivings because they’re more relaxed, and they somehow make me feel like I’m grown up, which is 100% not true. There’s probably the same amount of alcohol consumed as at my family Thanksgiving, only more evenly dispersed, and if anyone’s shirt comes off, it’s because they lost the Jenga drinking game, not because they’re fixin’ to wrassle Travis. But my favorite thing about Brooklyn Thanksgivings is that they’re just sort of a catch-all of whoever’s left in town, so you end up sharing your holiday with people you might not ever meet otherwise. Like last year, when my friend Laura and I went to Ryan’s apartment, and I had a two-hour conversation about animal communication with this really nice vegetarian grad school couple, which I have to admit was fueled generously by turkey and some not completely legal substances. Then we all fell asleep watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I have not seen these people since, and probably never will, but hey, we sure did spend a holiday together.
This Thanksgiving, Megan and Albee and I made a whole lot of food in my kitchen and managed to get adequately sloshed and then recover before the guests arrived. The guests were some friends of Albee’s friends, two 23 year old investment bankers from Seattle named Derek and (I think) Brian. One was wearing a lot of argyle; the other told us about his morning protein shakes. They were both very nice. They brought flowers and wine and ice cream, helped clean the kitchen, took out the trash, and then cheated at Cranium just like everyone else, and hey, we sure did just spend a holiday together. I like that.
Also here are some pictures if you’re interested in that sort of thing, which obviously I am.
Last week I took a trip to San Francisco. I’d been there once, when I was seventeen, and remember thinking it was gorgeous and that I wanted to live there someday, but I’d forgotten just how beautiful it was. Everything just smelled so good. Everywhere we went, I rolled the car window down and stuck my head out to inhale, which made Aaron laugh. Also, all food tastes better in San Francisco. I think it’s the air, but even my scrambled eggs at breakfast were heavenly.
We went all over the place, and saw pretty much the entire freaking city, and my snakefish foot was definitely feeling it the next day. At one point a very nice woman recognized me on a very crowded bus, which I think freaked Aaron out a little. I was mostly just glad I wasn’t picking my nose or talking shit on anyone at that moment. Then we went home and looked her up, and it turned out that the week before, she’d been in Tulsa, to read at the Nimrod Awards. Nimrod is the literary magazine where I interned in college. So once again, way to bring it full circle right upside my head, Internet.
We also saw My Morning Jacket at the Fillmore, which was extra awesome because they were filming the show for a DVD, so everyone was dressed up like they were going to a rave in some Victorian garden. The guy next to me was dressed completely like a unicorn, and the guy next to him was wearing a top hat and tails and waving this freaky glowstick egg thing around the whole show. Okay, sure.
One day we drove out to Muir Woods, where, according to Aaron, they filmed the Ewok parts of Return of the Jedi, which made perfect sense to me, because when the full moon rose over the trees, I said, “Oh! That looks just like the poster of Endor I used to have in my bedroom at my parents’ house!” and Aaron said, “What did you just say?” so I repeated it, and then he said, “Aw, come here, baby,” and kissed me, which just reaffirmed my conviction that a lifetime steeped in Star Wars will do nothing but get you super laid.
Unofficially, my favorite part of the trip was a conversation we had about For Better or For Worse while having coffee and reading the paper in bed Saturday morning, but I think that one’s best kept under wraps. So officially, my favorite part of the whole trip was the drive up to Muir Beach Overlook, listening to old Willie Nelson songs, and then getting out of the car with the trees and the moon rising behind us and the sun setting over the Pacific in front of us, and the fog cusped on the hills to our right. It actually made me gasp, it was so beautiful. Then on our drive back we talked and listened to Summerteeth and I was like, well, if I die right now, I guess that’d be okay.
I have never been so bummed to get on a plane aimed for New York.
"But when I saw him tonight at the Science Fair... "
Here are some pictures from last week’s Cringe. And since you can’t really tell how excruciatingly funny it was from the pictures, here’s a podcast link featuring Marc Balgavy reading a letter he wrote to the writers of 90210 calling for the death of Brandon Walsh, a little something I think we all can relate to.
Thanks to Tony for supplying the prizes, thanks to Freddy’s for the space, and thanks to all the readers for completely and publicly selling out the angsty younger versions of themselves. The next Cringe is Wednesday, December 7—what better way to observe Pearl Harbor? Email me if you’re interested in reading.
Also, the Seattle incarnation of Cringe is happening soon, hosted by Ariel Stallings. Check out details here.