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Grow a Pair

It’s all fine and dandy for advice columnists to write about “putting yourself out there” romantically, or “staying positive” on the job hunt. That’d be just peachy, if I had picked up your article to save on a psychiatric bill– but I’m not here for my mental health, I’m here to figure how to get results. I don’t need your feel-good platitudes, I need a damn job.

What I realize more and more each day is that, for most people in this world, you only get what you want if you barrel into an obstacle with the bull-headed determination to refuse anything other than success. [Trust fund babies can politely bite me.] You might smash half the china shop, but at least it’s progress– right? You sure as hell won’t get anywhere sitting on your ass, unless you’re looking for obesity and a cardiac trip to the ER. So walk up to the cute person at the party, introduce yourself, and show some damn initiative.

College: one educational step forward, two financial steps backwards, and a professional step upside-down.

Clearly, I’m in a feisty mood this week. [Or maybe it’s just frustration? I’ll go with both; they tend to go hand-in-hand with me.] My restaurant is closed for the next few months for renovations, and I’m left not only looking for a real job, but without the measly paycheck I’ve subsisted on the past year to support my fanatic career hunt. This is a terrifying time, folks. I have a three-digit bank balance and bills due in two weeks. My conclusion: I need to up my game, pronto. Evidently, the 100+ applications I send out a week aren’t cutting it, and the two staffing agencies I’m a candidate for haven’t helped. At most, they get my hopes up for a day or two a week, only to promptly smash them with a “the client chose someone with more relevant experience”. Which, to me, only says: “Hey, Jules, another employer thinks you’re irrelevant!” Well, fuck you kindly, too. I didn’t want to process your advertising information anyway.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. A friend told me that one of his buddies got a job last year by walking her resume straight in to HR. The ad only specified no calls. So I’m compiling a list today of places to drop in for mild harassment next week! Hey, it’ll be lovely: “You asked for no calls, but said nothing about walk-ins, so I thought I would hand it in personally and say hello.” That’s charming, right? Right??

The moment I realize I like someone:
when I get these bad enough to blush.

Which bring me to this week’s problème d’amour: if I need to up my game professionally, a large majority of this city needs to step up personally. Washington needs to take its professional motivation and translate it into social life. Grow a pair, initiate, and follow through. Why doesn’t anyone walk up to the guy/ girl they’re into and say, “Hi, I think your cute/ interesting/ cooler than dinosaurs, want to go out/ dance/ jump in a fountain with me sometime?” Because honestly, those sort of straightforward shenanigans are just about all that I want. Chalk it up to being a budding adrenaline junkie. Nothing makes me smile like those butterfly whirlwinds that speed out of your stomach and overwhelm the whole body. What can I say? That’s what I want. To feel like crazed little butterflies are electrocuting my nervous system.

But hell, it seems like no one does it anymore– walk right up to someone pretty and say hello. So, to chase down the possibility of this idea, I went to the Offline Society’s inaugural event for DC singles last week, and was blown away. It was a remarkable collection of incredibly attractive, active, and interesting individuals. The ladies of the Society put together a superior event of classy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and first-rate characters. I saw some sparks fly, and later recognized several connections made at the party continuing their night together at Wonderland Bar. Success? I think so. Common for DC? I think not. What made the event– and concept as a whole– so wonderful is the sad rarity of such behavior. Men and women were walking right up to each other to introduce themselves and take a leap. The Offline ladies did a fantastic job of getting everyone pumped up for putting themselves out there, and there was constant evidence of their skill in each stranger’s approach. But how is this sad?

LIES. Real men grow a pair and do it, Boromir.
No wonder Tolkien killed you off.

Because it just doesn’t happen like that often. Sure, guys approach hot girls at the bar, maybe to offer a drink, though more often than not it’s just a solicitation to rub bodies on the dance floor. And of course, at house parties, new people meet and talk. But while clubs are meant for the carnal alcohol, parties are more platonic social. We go to parties with either someone [or two] in mind for the end-goal, or for a night out with a crew of friends. Even if you meet someone new and interesting, you’re out with a group and it’s a bit difficult– or sometimes embarrassing– to throw out some game with friends looking on. So we pull back and act more reserved under the limelight. [Yes, even me. For the most part, I’ve no problem with it, but we all have shy days!]

Once you get past that first hello, first date, or even first kiss, people around here still seem to have a problem with courage. I know the whole world isn’t keen on actual communication, especially when it involves emotion– but grow up. I’m very clear with what I want out of life, relationships, and even simple hook-ups. So figure out what you want [even if it’s that you don’t know], and be up-front about it. At the very least, it’ll earn you less social confusion. I was talking with a friend recently, and he agrees. If he likes someone, he asks her out and he doesn’t waffle over the details. It’s a question of “this-day-this-time-this-place, you in?” Cole’s definitely on to something there, because it shows both initiative and follow through. It’s honest, assertive, and endearing; what could be better?

Right now, I want something real. I want to have an affair of uninhibited passion, where it’s no one’s damn business what’s going on but our own. I want to stop wanting to do something, and having to tell myself ‘no’ because it’ll come off as too intense. We’re all comfortable with publicly showing our driven ambition here in DC, so why not allow that same freedom in our dating world? I’m tired of restraining myself for fear of scaring a guy into thinking I want to settle down and be exclusive. That’s not on my mind right now. I just want the freedom to feel what I’m feeling, and that involves a heaping dose of passion. I want the freedom to be me.

Next to any definition of ‘classy as fuck’, notice her lovely portrait.

When someone kisses me and tells me they’re interested, after I tell them when I want, this is what I DON’T expect to happen: not hearing from them again until the next time we’re out with mutual friends. It happens to the best of us—and we all know the best includes me! Apparently I need to make myself even clearer: I don’t play those games, so don’t fuck with me. Each time something like this happens, Sally and I discuss the many ways that people suck over a bottle of wine [it’s wonderfully cliché, you should try it]. What constantly happens is her exasperated, “What is wrong with men?”, and my immediate, “These aren’t men—they’re boys.” When this weak or wishy-washy behavior happens, you’re clearly dealing with a Peter Pan of some sort who needs to grow a pair. So move on, Wendy, and find a man who knows what he wants, or at least wants to figure it out.

So if I tell this to someone I’ve sparked with, and he says he wants it, that communicates a green light to me. Because when other people talk, I actually listen. If you tell me something, I’m going to take you at your word. Being genuine might come naturally, but honesty takes some serious backbone. Saying what you mean isn’t always easy, or comfortable, or expedient. This isn’t naïveté, it’s a solid expectation. An expectation that you aren’t a liar with your fingers crossed behind your back, or a wimp that will later bitch out on the follow-through.  I don’t use my words just because they feel right in that moment, or because it’ll get me what I want for the night– I speak because it’s true.

expect better from the people I spend my time with. It isn’t a standard I will ever lower; it’s a deal-breaker. It might come off as the cause of many-a-sticky-situation, but really it’s very straightforward. Say what you mean, mean what you say– or get the hell out of my way. It’s that simple. Whether it’s balls or ovaries, we all need to man- and woman-up and grow a pair.

I have the audacity to go for what I want. Do you?

And because the lyrics crack me up so perfectly, I have to include your Ke$ha dose for the month. It’s true– when you grow a pair, you can call me back.

Singles’ Mixers, and Jules Joins the Pink Line Project

These girls are wicked classy; tomorrow will be a gas, without a doubt.

“Once upon a time, offline wasn’t even a word… You caught someone’s eye across a room. Your stomach leapt. There was chemistry. This was back in the time of romance. Back in the real world.” –The Offline Society

Hello, world! So I’ve joined on with the Pink Line Project as a society-and-dating writer– three hips and a hooray for me! Below is a teaser of my article, found in their Noise section, “The Offline Society: Bringing Romance to the Real World”

Our generation doesn’t live in the real world often anymore—we live online. With all the social media sites “you just have to join!” popping up, it’s tough enough to keep up with your evidently-crucial internet life, let alone an actual one. So many of us, craving that fabled romance of times gone by, search in the only place we know: the internet.

“Hi, my name is Jules, and I am an online dater.”

Yes, you all better chorus a dull “hiiii, Juuulllless…”

The Offline Society has an answer for this generational dilemma:

The three lovely ladies of the rising Offline Society have witnessed—and experienced—this struggle they call “internet-dating fatigue”. They’re offering a solution. In a strange mix of futuristic innovation and historic throwback, they have created a novel concept. According to their press release, “the Offline Society is a carefully curated club of ladies and gentlemen who could all be described as ‘quite the catch’. We gather in a private row home over old -fashioned cocktails and lively conversation. The mood is relaxed and there’s a hint of magic in the air.”

Again, read the full article here with Pink Line Project, and maybe step up your game with me tomorrow night? They’re bringing DC to ‘an era of people, not profiles’, and I sure as hell want to be a part of it.

Don’t you?

Booze, Brilliance, and Birthday Bonanza!

It’s Friday the 13th, and the day before France’s and my birthday– oh lordy, Washington, you’re in for a whole mess of trouble!

As I rattled off a list of increasingly elaborate specialty cocktails and hot-weather treats the other night that I’ve planned for Saturday, my friend Theon’s expression grew more and more amused. With a mildly sardonic grin, he sassed back, “So, you really like birthdays, huh?”

Every year, I imagine that the entire nation of France is celebrating the glorious anniversary of my grand birth– July 14th is a special time.

Well, sort of. I really like celebrations. Commemorating anything from anniversaries and birthdays to a promotion or new house: they all deserve parties. I see them as a way to show karma that I’m grateful for not being beaten up for once. Everyone should be thankful for the sweet things in life. I enjoy throwing parties just because it’s Thursday and I’m bored– but something legitimate, like a birthday? Oh, it’s going down.

Anyone from my pre-DC life is well acquainted with the legendary parties. Theme parties were a huge thing (Sally can attest to this; her Sexual Fetish Party was my favorite), but our celebrations were just as killer. But I haven’t actually thrown a party here yet. Potlucks, yes. Little 25-people soirees, sure. but parties? Not as I understand the definition. My own birthday has fallen through the cracks many-a-year. Last year, I’d just moved to DC and didn’t know many folks. My good friends on Team United Nations definitely made it a wonderful night, but it made it clear that I was no longer in my home of two decades, where I’d be instantly surrounded by 50+ friends and funnies the second I set foot outside my door.

This year, I plan to change that. And since I’m one of the best party planners I know, I’m taking the reigns for my own parade! So we’re going to have all sorts of fun yummies. There will be firecrackers/works. There may be a water balloon fight in the back alley. I also just bought a punch container from Target, which I plan to keep full all night.

If you know/meet me in real life, there is one thing you should know: I love whiskey. No, not in a “yay, whiskey sours are yummy, let’s make it sugar-rimmed!” way. I mean in a drink-neat-because-ice-dilutes-it way. [Though I do drink certain ones on the rocks.] I’ll hold back before I write a full post on whiskey instead of parties, like I planned, but that’s the bottom line: it isn’t a party without whiskey. And I’m not a happy birthday girl without my favorite, the ultimate whiskey drink:

He will be mine… Oh, yes… He will be mine…

the Old Fashioned:

2 oz bourbon whiskey
2 dashes Angostura® bitters
1 splash water
1 tsp sugar
maraschino cherry
orange wedge

Melt sugar in dash of water and bitters. Drop in cherry and orange; muddle [i.e. smash together with blunt object]. Pour in bourbon, fill with ice, and stir. Enjoy that you are now classy as fuck, and more likely to be friends with me. I just might have one for breakfast, to start my birthday off perfectly. Hey! There’s fruit in, so it’s healthy… right?

[Some add a splash of club soda; I am not one of those people. If I see you pour soda, grenadine, cherry juice, or any other contaminates into my Old Fashioned, I will smack you into next Tuesday. Don’t argue.]

Anyway, on to the really exciting treats prepared for tomorrow:

It’s all the alcohol and sugar, with none of the “digging around a shot with your finger and looking like a moron” embarrassment.

Orange Slice Jello Shots

Hands-down the coolest idea I’ve heard since home-brewed beer. Alright, maybe not that baller, but still pretty nifty.

STEP 1: make your vodka jello [or non-adult jello]. For two packets of jello, I did four cups boiling water, two cups cold, and two cups vodka.

STEP 2: You take large oranges and cut them in half. [I’m talking softball-sized.]

STEP 3: Scoop out the yummy parts– I used a thin spoon– and consume. Or save for later to make a rum bucket. [I swear I’m not an alcoholic.]

STEP 4: Now, don’t make the mistake I did and think that your jello-filled orange halves will stand up and not spill; you will be covered in jello. So fill a pyrex or cookie sheet with something to prop them up [I used uncooked lentils], fill the halves, nestle them into the dish, and pop into the fridge.

STEP 5: 4-5 hours later, take out, cut like a cantaloupe, and marvel at the brilliance of orange peel jello shots.

Picture of my actual ones coming soon: but those look delicious.

Strawberry Rum Popsicles

That’s right, kids: we can take every childhood memory and turn it into a fun, drunk party throwback!

STEP 1: Mix together your juice of choice, rum: two parts juice, one part rum.

STEP 2: Pour into freezable containers. I used these Dixie-type little plastic shot glasses. Rule of thumb: when debating which to get, remember it has to fit in your mouth. No showing off– make it enjoyable for everyone.

STEP 3: Put into freezer and forget about them; set alarm for 4+ hours later.

STEP 4: Check the freezing process. When there’s a substantial 1.4 inch slushy frost along the top, take out and shove sticks in. I found colorful drink stirrers at Target, instead of the wooden classics, but there are loads of options.

STEP 5: Return to freezer and actually forget about them until the next day, when you can bring guests melting from the heat to the fridge and surprise with icey goodness.

The classic “Funnel Method”, and my traditional process.

Wodkamelon

Use your head: it’s exactly what you think it is. That’s right! Vodka watermelon, everyone’s favorite! Not everyone? Well, more for me!

I’m not always a serious vodka-lover, but this is a case where it is absolutely called for. I keep passing the fruit vendors around Columbia Heights with naturally-impossible, gargantuan melons piled high in the back of their trucks. Every time I do, I imagine what a bitch they must be to carry home, or have the strong urge to insist on the massive one right at the bottom of the pile. Either way, the sight fills me with mischief, and I’m inspired to purchase and fill one with alcoholic glory.

It’s an easy process.

The “Risky Technique” that makes me nervous.

STEP 1: Purchase a plain-old-watermelon [preferably from one of those sketchy fruit-pushers on the street corner.]

STEP 2: Carve a hole in the top like a Jack-o-lantern. Make sure it cuts a few inches down into the red fruity bits. Keep plug for later.

STEP 3: This is where the time-consuming aspect comes in. Prop a funnel into the hole, and fill with vodka. Leave for awhile. Come back, and repeat.

STEP 4: Continue process until your melon is suitably intoxicated. For the giant one I’m going to buy today, I will likely use a good 2/3+ of a handle. And I chose a flavored vodka– you have to guess which one.

STEP 5: After a full night fermenting in inebriated wonder, bust it out mid-party and share the wealth.

Controversy: The marinating-process is a debated affair. Some people, like I was taught, use the “Funnel Method” [i.e. gradually returning to pour more into the funnel over a series of hours]. Others will cut the hole deep enough and upturn the entire bottle over the melon. This concept makes me nervous; I don’t want to return to a kitchen covered in vodka. I understand the physics of it, but still don’t trust it. I welcome feedback on the debate, though.

Jungle Juice: ginger ale, vodka, V8 Splash, possibly fruit and/or sorbet.

Skippy: beer, vodka, lemonade. As I like to keep regular drinks about for non-alcoholic friends, lemonade is always in the house. But with all the vodka around for a party, that also means one of my favorite summer beer-tails! And with a full keg [Yuengling, I think?], there will be plenty of beer.

In short: tomorrow will be a very long, spectacular show of intoxication, love, and magnificence. How will YOU be celebrating my birthday?

Timing’s a Bitch in Limbo

DC in a nutshell: The Waiting Place. Where people are waiting for things like a Yes or No, the fish to bite, a Better Break, or Another Chance.

No, seriously: she really is.

In love, as much as the rest of life, Timing is a bitch. Nothing fun happens when she isn’t there, it’s all about her, and we all love to hate her. But we also need her. Because, without Timing, your efforts are futile and will likely land you in some sort of purgatory.

If you had sent in your resume right at 9am Monday, instead of dicking around with the semantics of your cover letter, then you might have had a chance to be in the first 50 applicants for that new job in a Hill office. Instead, you agonized over the perfect wording to properly present just how fantastic you would be for the grunt-position of constituent correspondent, or whatever dirt-level job is open. Congratulations, you are the 300th applicant! As a wonderful prize, you will receive an automated rejection e-mail in 2-6 weeks, long after you have forgotten you even applied, and will only serve to remind you about just how pointless job hunting is! [Related: job hunting is also a bitch.]

Correction: This is a gender-neutral message, my Brobi-Wan Kenobi. Evidence: Ted and Robin. #HIMYM

If you had leaned in to kiss the girl even an hour earlier in the night, she would have realized it wasn’t just a late-night decision based on alcohol and hormones, but something you’d wanted to do the entire day you spent with her. But instead, because you waited until too late (and we all know nothing good happens after 2am), your night ended with a “we should probably go sleep it off” tragic dive-bomb into the Friend Zone.

This is not a discussion of the Friend Zone– that will have to do for another day. But I will say this: I don’t do well with ambiguity. I strive for a fair equilibrium in my life, and manage to juggle pretty well on my own two feet. I prefer knowing where I stand in the world, so I’m intensely unsettled when outcomes hang in the balance. Uncertainty is a part of life, and I accept it, but the whole point of life is to take change and push that uncertainty in a specific direction. Namely: forward. Only you can decide which way is the right forward for you, but don’t be a wishy-washy bitch about it, Charlie Brown. [More on Charlie Brown and life in the Friend Zone in my next article.]

So for me, those are the moments when Timing is the Ultimate Bitch. We’ve all been there. [If you haven’t, then you clearly haven’t lived, possess all the luck stolen from Ireland, or are possibly a-sexual.] Timing blows enough as it is for those of us on the job hunt, but being the bitchy busybody she is, she has to go and stick her nose into our love lives as well. And here in DC? People rarely give the Time of Day, let alone giving away their Free Time, because Time is Money. And there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so the same goes for Time. Right? That seems to be the attitude here, myself included.

I’m nowhere close to an exception to the rule. I use the excuse “I just don’t have the time” for everything from dates I’m just not feeling or parties too far out in suburbia to visiting family and friends or going to job fairs. Sure, sometimes we really are too busy– but most of the time we’re just posturing. Whether it’s for propriety’s sake or procrastination, Timing is the butt-end of countless excuses. So is she really a bitch, or simply the universe’s scapegoat?

In this case, I’d say Timing’s being more than just a scapegoat– she’s a Grade-A Bitch.

If you need good timing to find a job or date, why not adopt a make-your-own-destiny mentality? Yes, both the professional and romantic worlds have a multitude of levels, each with their own factors influencing the outcome. But at least with this mindset, you can eliminate a few of them. Don’t go for the guy/girl who is clearly recently single and burdened with baggage, or contact HR for a company that is downsizing and obviously not hiring. Timing gets blamed for what are actually a lot of failures in common sense. The true Timing situations, like  crushing on your roommate/boss/best friend/etc are genuinely sticky situations. More than Timing, those are issues of social taboo. We have protocols to follow, and most people toe the company line. But it isn’t Timing’s fault, it’s your decision. So fess up and take responsibility for your life; and if you want to change it, take charge.

At the end of the day, you can cave to the concept of fate and surrender. Or you can woman-[or man]-up and show Timing who’s boss. If she’s going to be a bitch either way, scapegoat or not, then I’m going out to make Timing my bitch, and use her help any way I can.

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