Archive for the 'Conversations' Category

Strong Independent Woman of the Nineties

In the fall of 1993 I entered Oberlin as a freshman.  Like most good Oberlin newbies, I fancied myself quite the little radical.  Upon entering the student body, as is every freshperson’s rite of passage, I promptly stopped shaving my legs and promptly started using expressions like "the dominant male paradigm".  In truth, I was never a very good radical, and neither were my friends.  Our forays into angry-feminism pretty much started and stopped with the expression "strong independent woman of the nineties".

I can’t remember who first used the expression, "I’m a strong independent woman of the nineties", but it became a rallying cry amongst my female friends.  Part empowering slogan, part tongue-in-cheek silliness, "strong independent woman of the nineties" was destined to become a lifelong fixture of our lexicon.  Even as 18-year-olds we delighted in the fact that eventually our slogan would be hideously outdated, and dare we even predict, ironic.  (Do not forget, this was 1993; Alanis Morissette was our Angry Woman Queen.)

1993:

Courtney: I dunno.  I keep making him mix tapes and he keeps trying to make out with me, but every time I ask him about his supposedly ex-girlfriend, he gets all cagey.  I’m really confused.
Kate: Toss him in the dumper!  You don’t need this kind of hassle.  You’re a strong independent woman of the nineties!
Courtney: Good point.

2007:

Kate: So then this asshole tries to tell me that it’s gonna cost $600 to fix my car door, and I tell him he can eat shit, and then I storm out of the garage all huffy-like.
Ashley: Oooh.  You are such a strong independent woman of the nineties!
Kate: No doubt, sister.

Now, on the dawn of my 32nd birthday, I find myself evaluating my Strong Independent Woman of the Nineties status.  Non-reliance on a man for personal and financial security?  Check.  Preference for being single rather than dealing with guys I’m not really into just for the sake of having a boyfriend?  Check.  General bad-assery and fierceness?  Check, and check.  Sophisticated tastes, and grown-up approach to fanciful crushes?  Er…um…weeell.  Not so much.

My status as a strong independent woman of the nineties has been severely handicapped by my new obsession with hockey.  A big part of the problem is that although my obsession with hockey continues unabated, the hockey season ended weeks ago.  Now trust me, I have ravenously devoured all legitimate hockey news I can get my hands on (as such, I am now practically an expert on the National Hockey Leauge’s CBA.  Seriously.  Ask me anything), but there is only so much a gal can read about hockey players before she has no conclusion available other than, "Dang. He’s a dish."  Hockey has made a fool of me, and my long tenure as a strong independent woman of the nineties is now in jeopardy.

Also, Posh and Becks?  I love them.

Posh and Becks

Posh and Becks are just wrong by strong independent women of the nineties standards, and yet, I love them so. Look at them there all hot and disgustingly sleazy.   Admit it, you love them too.

Conclusion:  Not only am I a strong independent woman of the nineties, I am also a giggling teenager of the naughty-aughties.

(Note: in a googling effort to find any sort of term for the first decade of our current century, I discover that no such term exists.  This decade has no convenient counterpart to "the nineties".  I have taken a fancy to the expression "the naughty-aughties" and will proceed to promote its usage.)

We’re So Awesome

Courtney and I have a routine to ease ourselves through auditions. We go to the audition, we get knocked out in the first round, and then we have some version of the following conversation:

Kate: I didn’t advance
Courtney: What?! That’s insane. How did you play?
Kate: Well, I thought it was pretty good. I suppose my Haffner could have been a bit less spazzy, but other than that, I thought did well.
Courtney: Did you play pretty?
Kate: Hell yeah I did.
Courtney: They just couldn’t handle your rocking viola soul.
Kate: Yeah. I probably wasn’t tidy enough.
Courtney: They are clearly looking for some sort of robot.
Kate: I am so not a robot.
Courtney: No. You are too awesome for them. You play with balls…I mean ovaries.
Kate: I did play with some serious ovaries.
Courtney: They are going to hire some sort of robot, probably a child robot.
Kate: They are looking for a three-year-old robot.
Courtney: You are a wise viola sage. You are too good for them.
Kate: Thanks.
Courtney: What did they ask for in the first round?
Kate: It was totally strange. The list was really long, and they asked for the third page of Mendelssohn Scherzo.
Courtney: That’s so lame.
Kate: I know. Totally lame.
Courtney: You are so lucky you didn’t win that job.
Kate: Seriously! I don’t even want to move to *insert name of red state city* anyway.
Courtney: Good Lord, who would? You’re too awesome!
Kate: Thanks, Courtney. You’re awesome too!
Courtney: Hell yeah I am!
Kate: We’re so awesome!
Courtney: …Dave thinks it’s really weird how we tell each other how awesome we are after losing auditions.
Kate: Oh, Dave. How else are we going to know that we’re awesome?!
Courtney: I know!

I Don’t Want To Be Right

I’ve always liked the expression, "If doing X is wrong, then I don’t want to be right".

As in,

"If loving him is wrong, then I don’t want to be right."

Or,

"If heading to the bar at 3pm after work with the brass players is wrong, then I don’t want to be right."

Something I Don’t Already Know

I’ve always thought it would be very sassy to say, "Tell me something I don’t already know", with a flirtatious smile when complimented.

As in:

Friend: Kate, your Don Quixote solos sound great.
Kate: Tell me something I don’t already know. (winks)

or,

Boy: You are looking quite fetching today.
Kate: (with dazzling smile) Tell me something I don’t already know.

This is probably one of those whimsies that sound much better in my head than they do out loud.

On The Phone With Mike

Mike: Kitty, you should go see 300.

Kate: Eww.  No.  That movie is for boys.  It looks horrible.

Mike: Yeah, it might be the most offensive movie I have ever seen.

Kate: I actually don’t know much about it. 

Mike: It’s both homophobic and homo-erotic. 

Kate: Hmm, that sounds intrigui-

Mike: Also, it’s totally racist.  I was rooting for the bad guys the whole time.

Kate: It looks pretty violent.  I’m not much into extreme violence these days.

Mike: No, Kitty you’ll love it.  Just approach it like you approached Stargate.  If you can love Stargate, you can love 300.

Kate: I don’t know, I was pretty high when we went to see Stargate.  Plus that was like, ten years ago.  I don’t smoke weed anymore.

Mike: Yeah, that’s good.  You really should not see 300 on drugs.  It is so incredibly offensive.  You HAVE to see it.

Kate: Well, if it’s not too violent….

Mike: Oh, at least half of the movie is decapitations.  It’s super violent.

Kate: ………

Mike: Maybe you should wait until it comes out on DVD so that you don’t end up hating me for recommending this movie. 

Kate: Or maybe I should just never see it?

Mike: Yeah, maybe. 

Good Design

There is a great line in the movie Grosse Point Blank that I love to recite on days when I am feeling unappreciated.  John Cusack plays a hit man who is in therapy.  His therapist, played by Alan Arkin, is afraid of him and constantly trying to get rid of him as a client.  At some point John Cusack menacingly drops into conversation that he knows where Alan Arkin lives.  The two men verbally spar about the threatening nature of the comment, which John Cusack insists is not a threat.  Finally, Alan Arkin says this;

"Well, that statement was not designed to make me feel good."

Ha!

I say this all the time, particularly in conversation with Courtney and Ashley.

Kate: So then he said that he adores everything about me, but that he can’t commit to any one woman until he’s had a three-way.
Ashley: Oh.  My.  God.
Kate: I know.  That was sure not designed to make me feel good.

Or,

Courtney:  I taught a lesson this afternoon, and when the mom dropped her kid off she said to him, "Make sure you tell Ms. Courtney if you start to feel sick."  Then she turned to me and said, "He’s been a bit nauseous today.  I’m sure he’ll be fine."
Kate: Good God. That’s like your worst nightmare.  Puking children.
Courtney:  I know.  Comments like that are not designed to make me feel good.
Kate: Did he puke?
Courtney: No, but I almost did.

Almost every day something occurs that could make me mutter under my breath "that was not designed to make me feel good."  I love this expression because it almost always replaces my annoyance with amusement.  If I can laugh at the offending thing/person/sentence, then I can carry on with my day.  There are very few things in life that actually are designed to make me feel good, but laughing is one of them. 

Remember the Alamo

One thing you should understand about me and Courtney is that we don’t really do anything when we hang out together.  What I mean by this is that we are not the type of people who enjoy running around doing touristy things.  I didn’t come to San Antonio to see San Antonio, I came here to see Courtney and Dave.  Call me a lazy pile of poo, but I am perfectly happy to sit around knitting with Courtney.

Most people would agree that when you are in San Antonio you should at least consider visiting the Alamo.  I did consider visiting the Alamo, but then I realized that I didn’t want to go to the Alamo.  A simple drive-by could fulfill all of my Alamo needs.  On Friday, Courtney and I drove past the Alamo in her car and had the following conversation:

Kitty: So, this is a little embarrassing, but what exactly happened at the Alamo?

Courtney: I’m not entirely sure, but I do know that we should Remember the Alamo.

Kitty: Well, yes, I know that.  But why?  Why do we Remember the Alamo?

Courtney:  Many brave Texans died at the Alamo.

Kitty: But why?  Why were they fighting?

Courtney: The Alamo was under attack and the Texans valiantly defended her sacred borders.

Kitty: Who was attacking and why?

Courtney: Well, they were trying to steal The Alamo from the Texans.

Kitty: So, what you are saying is that you don’t know anything about The Alamo either?

Courtney: Yeah, uh-hmm.  I don’t exactly know why we Remember the Alamo.   

Kitty: Well, I know it didn’t turn out very well for the Texans, and that is why we have to Remember the Alamo.

Courtney: You know, when I first moved to Texas I didn’t understand that the Texans lost the battle at The Alamo.

Kitty: Well of course!  Even I know that.  Why else would we Remember the Alamo?

Courtney:  Well, I thought maybe it was a good sort of remembering.  You know like "Hey Kitty, remember that time I was obsessed with Starbursts and then when we got to our Juilliard auditions the vending machine was full of Starbursts and I was convinced that it was a good omen?  Remember?"

Kitty: So you thought it was like, "Hey!  Remember the Alamo?  That was awesome."

Courtney:  Yeah, uh-hmm.  That’s what I thought.

Kitty: We are so retarded. 

Courtney: Yeah.  Let’s not tell Dave about this conversation.

Kitty: Agreed.  How about I write all about it on the internet?

Courtney:  Well yes, obviously.