Boss Girl

I believe there’s a big difference between being a “boss” and a “leader.” You’ll hear people call themselves “the boss” but very rarely does anyone call themselves “the leader.” To me, declaring yourself “the boss” is similar to screaming “I’M IMPORTANT” out the window of your apartment to random passer-byers on the street. Someone who is capable and focused on climbing the ladder, someone who works hard, mainly for themselves and who believes that the people underneath them owe them their time and hard work. Leaders seem to possess a sense of keen self awareness that allows them to be a quieter type of person. Someone focused on a bigger goal which is bigger than themselves, and someone who views the people working for them as valuable assets, a team of dedicated individuals whom without, their dream or company would be unmanageable. The difference is one way of thinking is simple and easy and the other way is harder and much more work. And this is why: Leaders know their people. People are complex, they aren’t just what is listed on a resume, or recommended by a professional reference. People have dreams, passions, skills, talents, they grow, they change, they need, they want. Leaders not only understand this, but they take the time to really understand the people on their team- discover who they are, which is a lot of hard work. It involves a lot of asking, and a lot of listening.  Leaders know that taking the time to devote to understanding the other people they are working with is important because life is not just work.

Leaders see the “big picture.” The big picture always involves more than just a single person. The big picture is that life is not just your one self, or your own personal work. The big picture is life- which includes many many other people. Life is family, it’s relationships, friendships, love, it’s exploration, it’s experiences, it’s a roller coaster, and work is just a part of it. A leader understands that each person they are accountable for is living their own unique, complex life- full of their own unique struggles, passions, disappointments, successes and hopes. This is important because when you lose sight of the big picture you end up shrinking your world when in actuality you want to expand.

Leaders lead by example. Leading by example doesn’t mean that everyday at work you are flawless, it means that everyday you are at work you are honest, you try your best, you are sincere, and never give up. A good leader can have a bad day, but won’t let those bad days get them down in the long haul, they never lose hope. A good leader admits mistakes, takes accountability, honors their word, and respects others.

Respect is something that bosses seem to believe their employees owe them instantly, just based off some hierarchy put in place to create a sense of structure. But leaders know that respect is not only a two way street and something that every person is owed, but also something that is earned and can be lost. Leaders don’t talk down, or shut down people working with them- they don’t use their authority to belittle others to build themselves up. They don’t see value in silencing people they may disagree with. Because the rare, intelligent, and talented people won’t follow a leader who breaks them down or disrespects them forever. People of value won’t stick around and let you beat them down, they will leave. And true leaders know that no one can accomplish anything alone.

Leaders know how to communicate. They can do this because they know their people, they see the big picture, they respect others and therefore they can easily communicate their thoughts and feelings to others who are looking to them for answers or advice. They don’t manipulate. They can explain things clearly. They know how to actively listen, they can make tough decisions, they can handle problems or concerns with sensitivity and awareness. They are direct, they are positive, they are firm and they are never all-knowing. They are thoughtful and they are honest when speaking to others.

Leaders have imagination and can laugh.

Leaders have swept the floor, they aren’t above anything.

Leaders say thank you.

Leaders are FAIR.

Leaders reward hard work.

Leaders call bullshit.

Leaders take action.

Leaders appreciate.

Leaders observe and learn.

Leaders can be anyone and everyone.

My generation is an entrepreneurial generation. We have a lot at our fingertips and plenty of ideas but that’s not enough, we have to learn how to lead. It’s inevitable that if you aren’t working towards your own dream you will spend your time and energy tirelessly working to make someone else’s dream come true. I think no matter what, we all need to resolve to learn as much as we can from people in power, really put thought behind what we experience and see, so when the time comes, we can get it right.

How To Be Beautiful

My co-worker Chance is a Tinderella. He will sit on the porch of our store flipping through picture after picture of girls, assessing and rating them all. I will perch above him, bursting, full of questions. “How can you tell if someone is prettier than someone else?” “You just can,” he said. “I don’t know, can’t you tell if a guy is better looking than another guy?” I thought about all the men in the world. How does one compare Ryan Gosling to David Beckham? It’s like comparing a sunflower to a rose. They both are so beautiful. But then I have always been strangely attracted to Adrian Brody, he would be like a cactus, which is also beautiful in a unique and mystical way. “Yeah ok, but who has the better butt?” Chance said, in all seriousness. “I mean David Beckham is a pro athlete…can you google Ryan Gosling’s butt? I’m having a hard time picturing it.” After I said it, silence settled all around Chance and I, the kind of eerie, calm silence that happens in movies where natural disasters are about to strike. “No, just forget about i-” Chance said quickly but I cut him off. I had stood up and begun to pace back and forth in front of him..yammering away. “You know, if you exclude the fact that attraction is an important factor in mating-” “NO NO NO,” Chance looked pained as I carried on, “And you just think about the concept of beauty in general, I mean in such an image obsessed world, being beautiful seems to carry a lot of clout. But why? And women just seem so much more forgiving. A woman will look past a crooked tooth or wonky eye and go on and on about a man’s character, or how he bought her flowers, or their sense of humor. But men are so visual.” “I do have eyes,” Chance now seemed like he himself had aged forty years, agitated and crotchety and set in his old man ways. “Please stop, just forget about it.” I was going femme fatal on him. Shut up neanderthal MAN, listen to me, to prohibition sally-girl-boss-hilary-clinton-spice-girls-and-all-other-things-that-men-wince-at-girl-power-things. Chance was looking for exit routes, his eyes scanning all around before focusing on the horizon.

“Everyone wants to be beautiful, but in a strange obsessive way, a way that suggests we all suddenly drop dead at the age of 40, at the first sign of a forehead wrinkle or pound of weight gained, leaving behind nothing but an Instagram full of beautiful filtered selfies of us at our best angles and in our prime. But hey hi hello, life isn’t over, your twenties are ten years, that’s it! One day we will be sixty and our twenties will be a distant memory.” Chance groaned, but I had said something that made him pause and he was now staring at me, listening. “If we spend all our time trying to be beautiful on the outside, or being dazzled by physical beauty, what are we going to do when we all get saggy and old?” I could tell I had baited him but immediately lost him once I uttered the word ‘saggy.’ “I don’t like old people..or babies,” he said cringing at the thought of birth and death. I narrowed my eyes at him and he shrugged. “It’s a biological fact that you get saggy as you age, our bodies break down on us. But your soul never grows old and saggy, we should all be spending time developing that so we can emulate beauty all our lives.” Chance rolled his eyes, “Ok Thoreau. And how should we develop our souls?” After he asked it, he closed his eyes in immediate regret, similar to how people look after they take that final last shot of whiskey at a bar- the shot the takes you down.

In no particular order:

Sense of humor (especially regarding yourself). Nothing is more beautiful than a man or woman who can laugh at themselves. It’s a sign of confidence. Life is fragile yes, but it should be enjoyed, and that means you can’t spend it taking yourself so seriously that you never have a good laugh at yourself. Humor can save you, if you can laugh or see the humor in any situation, you can survive anything. Humor also attracts people to you, everyone wants to be around someone who can make a seemingly dull or challenging or even stimulating situation fun and interesting.

Sense of adventure. You want to be a person who can’t wait to trek up a mountain in Nepal to visit ancient temples and monkeys, or sail around the world, but you also want to be the person who can see the adventure in the everyday boring things, like going to the grocery store, or making a trip to the DMV. You wouldn’t think this is possible but I have had some wild times at the department of motor vehicles- you just need to be observant and have a wicked imagination.

Dope Style. This does not mean you are decked out in designer everything. This means you have developed your own sense of style and you rock it, with confidence, no matter what it is. Fashion and trends are bullshit, wear what you like, mix and match things, feel comfortable in developing your own personal style. I saw a Grammie the other day having brunch in Malibu wearing a neon red sweatsuit, flip flops, black rimmed glasses and drinking a mimosa on a Wednesday at eleven in the morning. And Grammie looked doooooope. She outshone all the young giltteraties who were all wearing different versions of big rimmed hats, drinking green juice and picking at egg whites.

Compassion. When you get old and saggy, shit hits the fan and compassion becomes a big asset. But compassion is a learned skill, it requires empathy and experience, it’s a higher level of thinking that most people sadly never really develop or reach. It’s a skill we all should be working on perfecting- constantly. Nothing is more beautiful or strong than someone who can extend kindness to everyone they encounter. Or someone who can see all sides to a story, or someone who is tolerant and open minded.

Sense of Wonder. I’m sure we have all been on a date where we sat in silence and listened to someone’s life story. These blabber-ers are not beautiful, they are annoying. Beautiful people do not think the world revolves around their own beautiful face, they are curious about others, about life, about everything they encounter on a daily basis. They wonder. The sense of wonder will keep you young forever.

Independence. We are all different. The ability to come to terms with yourself, to be self aware and  embrace your own being allows other people to embrace who they are. An independent person is someone who has blossomed, and therefore makes it easy for others to blossom around them as well. Independent people can celebrate others because they do not fear what is different than them. They can stand outside of a group as themselves happily.

Intelligence. To me, this means having the ability to challenge someone or something at an appropriate time. To think and then speak, to give voice to an opinion shows guts, and to be able to do it with grace shows incredible power. I mean, a nice pair of boobs will never be able to do that. Ever.

Going To Bars In Your Twenties

The Bungalow in Santa Monica is full of men. If you are a straight male who owns a blue pinstriped button down you are probably at the Bungalow drinking mojitos with your friends on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. In LA on any given night bars are packed with people but for some reason, Santa Monica’s The Bungalow attracts more straight males in their twenties and early thirties than women. It’s designed to feel like you are at your richest friend’s house, a breezy Baja-style beach house surrounded by lushly landscaped gardens. There are various different rooms you can walk through, all with high soaring ceilings and wood rafters- a game room, a study, a great room with a wood burning fireplace, all of which lead out to outdoor patios covered in twinkling lights and comfy couches and tables.  I went there with my girlfriend Kristen one night after work and we were completely overwhelmed by….all of the men. I was more overwhelmed and slightly enchanted by all of the blue pinstriped button downs. “This place is packed with dudes,” Kristen whispered to me as we squirmed our way through the crowd. “Do you think they all get these shirts at the same store? They all look the same how do you pick one? Maybe I’ll ask each one how much they paid for their shirt, and whoever paid the least is the one I’ll talk to.” Kristen and I had made our way to the bar and instead of ordering mojitos we ordered shots of whiskey. In an outdoor space with hummingbird feeders hanging from the trees and full of primly groomed men holding drinks with lime wedges floating in them, I felt like a wench at a bocce ball party.

As I scoped out my surroundings I made eye contact with a pinstripe, who promptly made his way over to me. “I’m Conrad,” he said. “I’m Louisa,” I responded without even thinking. “That’s a pretty name.”  I nodded, “Louisa May Alcott.”  “Beautiful name,” he said and added, “And what do you do?” I sighed. The real Louisa May Alcott died in 1888 and is the author of Little Women. This is my favorite fake name to give to pinstripes because they one hundred percent never know that. If anything they just remark on what an old timey name you have. “Louisa? That’s like a grandma name.” I don’t know what I expect, for some boy to say, “Wait a minute, you just gave me the name of a dead feminist author!” More than half them men I meet don’t read books, or even know what feminism means, let alone support it. And why should they, they are men, they are strong, they have no feelings to express, they are just looking for a pretty, docile, quiet women to stand next to them. An empowered women with thoughts and ideas who is always yammering away is alarming, and not in the good way a long lean pair of legs with a nice butt is alarming to them.  “I’m a… hostess,” I told him. “At a restaurant?” he asked. “A restaurant on a golf course,” I smiled coyly. “I love to cook,” he told me, a half smile spilling across his face. He was very attractive. “I’m from L.A.,” he went on without me asking. “I love it here, I just moved from Downtown L.A. to Santa Monica, it is so much prettier by the beach let me tell you.” “Downtown LA has some charming places,” I commented positively. A flashback of a very scary looking homeless man I had seen the last time I was in Downtown LA filled my head. He had been wearing some sort of cloak with no shoes and was hobbling across the street to the public toilet at the corner of an intersection and I remember I couldn’t look away, I just kept watching him like he was in the zoo, it was such a haunting image. I realized that while I had drifted off, thinking all this, pinstripe had just been talking. “I’m a producer, it’s a really high stress job.”

“What is your favorite thing to cook?” I asked him. If I ever have a daughter I’m going to tell her that she should genuinely be interested in others. I’m going to encourage her to be engaged in other human beings on the planet. Get to know others you encounter through being empathetic and interested, ask them questions about themselves! But I’m also going to tell her that if she ever finds people who not only ask her questions about herself but who also listen to her responses sincerely, those are the people to keep around you. Like when you are walking down the beach and you stumble upon beautiful shells amongst all the grey rocks and seaweed. Collect those shells and put them in your pocket. My pinstriped chef was staring at me, he had gone quiet, thinking, and then finally said, “Salad.” My eyes lit up. “Salad!” I said excitedly. “Salad!” he repeated again but more enthusiastically. “I love salad!” I exclaimed. “What kind of salad do you make?” I asked. He paused again. “Lettuce and herbs.”

Even though he was handsome, this guy was clearly a Daryl who had me confused for a girl who would throw herself at him because he was tall and attractive. After awhile if you are boring, which lets face it, producers who make salads, and the way this conversation was going was not very promising- I stop caring about how dreamy your eyes are. Good looking people are everywhere in LA, if that’s the reason why you hold yourself in high esteem, good luck out there amongst all the glitter. I had begun to eat the olives out of the bar tender’s mason jar, the one next to all the cut up limes and lemons. The bar tender was busy and not paying attention and the olives were in perfect reach from where I was standing. As I popped two in my mouth, I was just at a loss at where to go with this. “Do you ever put olives in your salad?” I asked, holding one up to my face like I was in an infomercial. Kristen appeared with two old-fashioneds. “Kristen, this is Conrad, he enjoys making salads,” I introduced them, remembering my manners- introduce people using thoughtful and interesting details! Conrad shook Kristen’s hand, “I’m a producer,” he told her. As I nonchalantly reached across the bar to pluck another olive out of the jar my eyes met the bartenders. I coughed. The bartender stood across from me firmly, his eyes locked on mine as he took a lid out from under the bar and promptly screwed it onto the olive jar. I took Kristen’s arm and looked at Conrad. “It was a pleasure meeting you, good luck producing your lettuce dishes,” I said with genuine good will, and whisked Kristen off into the crowd.

After we finished the old-fashioneds, we went to use the bathroom. The girls restroom at any given nightclub or bar is full of your new found sistas. These are girls who, if you saw them on the street wouldn’t even smile at you, but once they are drunk and in a bathroom they only want to shower you with love. “You are SO pretty! I LUHVE your skirt! The lock doesn’t work in that stall let me hold the door for you!” I am reassured as a female with very few girlfriends, that the night before my wedding I will be able to round up bridesmaids by going and hanging around a women’s bathroom at a bar. I can only imagine- “You’re getting married! Oh my God! You want ME to be in the wedding! Oh my God, of course, I LUHVE you!” As we wandered back outside, Kristen’s phone began to ring. It was a cute boy who she had been out with and who was absolutely smitten with her. “Answer!” I reassured her. “I’ll be over there..” I said pointing to a nearby bush. As she was on the phone, I realized I had begun to feel slightly drunk. I looked around, the whole room stripes of blue with splashes of brown and blond swished back hair. “I like your hat,” a passing pinstripe said to me. “Thank you…it’s my adventure hat,” I whispered. These people are scary. I don’t want to meet them. Strangers. People I know, where are they? I know where! They live in my phone. I pulled out my phone from my motorcycle boot and began to fire off texts:

“Let’s raise a rabbit together!” I’m pretty sure the person I sent this to blocked my phone number the next day.

“Our love is forever and ever and ever.” That one got sent out to both an ex-boyfriend and a boy I went on exactly one date with.

“This tavern is full of city men. I wish I was at a saloon with sailors, or cowboys…wait who goes to saloons? Not Indians, they party in teepees. Eskimos party in Igloos.” This was sent to my best friend Breck. He responded, “Mam, don’t be weird. My good ho, get yourself an Uber and get the fuck out of that gambling den!” Breck is one of the shells I found on the beach.

“I can’t find pizza.” That was a mass text I sent to everyone I know, I think in hopes that someone would help me.

I pity Louisa May Alcott for being alive in a time period where you were unable to reach out, with ease, and in a drunken state, to people who were not physically with you. What did Louisa do when she was standing around in an idle moment in a ballroom waiting for some man who had asked her father months in advance if he could have the honor of a dance with his daughter, to approach and bow in front of her? If she was thinking about pizza she just had to keep that thought to herself. There was no way to alert anyone who wasn’t physically and geographically near her that she is craving piping hot cheese and dough. And what about the ability to pop into a past lovers life like a manic ghost they can’t get rid of unless they call their cell phone provider and blacklist your phone number? Louisa just had to let her lovers go and die on their own, she didn’t get to monitor their social media activity and lust after the good times. She didn’t have the ability to live in both the past and present simultaniously. No wonder she had the time to be an abolitionist.

Suddenly I felt my hat leave my head. I turned around and there it was, floating through the crowd. Who is holding it?  I squinted and saw that it was now being adorned by a tiny furry man. He was easy to spot not only because he was so short but also because he wasn’t wearing a pinstripe shirt. When I looked closer I noticed he had a beard and very fury arms, the kind of arms that were coated with a thick batch of dark hair, arms that suggested he also possessed hairy knuckles and probably a very hairy big toe. “Kristen!” I said, my eyes wild, “That hobbit took my,…me, I, the Louisa May Alcott’s hat!” Kristen hung up the phone and we went following the hobbit through the crowd. We cornered him by the outdoor bar and when I approached him I realized I towered over him. I plucked the hat off his head and he peered up at me. “Sorry,” he shrugged. “Lil buddy you can’t just-” I was ready to take out my life’s frustration on this small stranger when I noticed his T-shirt. It was a black crew neck with a graphic of a smiling taco underneath the words I love tacos.   “Your taco is so cute,” I said, admiring it’s tiny eyes and big grin. “I love tacos too,” I told him. “You do?” he asked meekly. “I love tacos too!” Kristen joined in. As we all shared a moment, I reveled in the fact that it is fun to go to bars in your twenties, not to meet your future husband or wife, or anyone who will be of great significance to your life really- they aren’t there, they are in a supermarket or library, mine is probably working hard as a character on a Disney cruise ship (we will meet off the coast of Florida after I have given up and decided to sell all of my belongings and float away at sea on a makeshift raft built out of various different Ikea furniture parts. He will see me, bony and exhausted from my journey and I will see him, wearing a teeny tiny hat with a tassel and dressed as Aladdin, and I will just know I finally found him, the struggle will be over and well worth the fight).  Anyways, it must just be fun to go out in your twenties because life can be so confusing and difficult that sometimes it’s nice to just blow off steam with your friends, or be in a space decorated to look like someone’s backyard, in an altered state of mind, where you can just love tacos with other people, strangers and friends, together, as one. I often reference this in troubled times- we may be at odds now, but we probably both love tacos, or salad. Let us let bygones be bygones like we do after a large bouncer named Boris cards us. Cheers! 

The Top Five Best Worst Dates I Have Been On

My 25th year of life has been a year of job interviews and dates. Basically a year of me sitting across from some stranger trying to convince them that I am fun/sexy/cool and incredibly punctual, reliable and a good candidate to grow with the company. And, not to be overly dramatic, but at this point, I don’t know if I will make it to 26.

The Top Five Best Worst Dates I Have Been On:

1. The guy had the flu. I kind of only want to go out with men who are experiencing both a fever and the chills from now on because in their weakened state, they are kinder, softer, more open to being vulnerable, and interesting conversation just flows with ease. Sitting in a booth with a tall sick man crumpled up next to you and force feeding him soup fulfilled my feminine desire to care for another, while also giving me the ability to tell stories about my favorite childhood pet to someone too weak to do anything but listen and engage me. “Your cat Fred sounds like such a fun pet,” the guy told me, his face twisted in pain. “I can’t believe he ran away as a kitten and came back months later obese, who was feeding him?” I put my fork down, “I know! No one knows!” As soup dribbled down his face, I wiped it off with a napkin. He took his napkin and wiped cheese off my face, “you have Mac and Cheese in your hair too,” he said. I picked pasta out of my locks as he put his head down on the table, “I’m going to die,” he moaned. I rested my head on my hand and twirled my hair, “Me too…we all are, we just don’t know when..” Afterwards, I texted my best friend: “Omg, had such a good time, I think we really have a connection. Like, I think I’ve met the one.

2. The guy turned out to be incredibly old. I didn’t know he was old at the time he asked me out, he looked around twenty-eight or twenty-nine but he turned out to be thirty-six. I found this out by accident, we had been casually talking about siblings while browsing the menu and when I asked how old his sister was he said, “Oh me? I am thirty-six.” In the moment, I didn’t really think anything about it but later on when I started doing the math I realized that when I was zero, he was eleven, and when I was eleven, he was twenty-two. I know age ain’t nothing but a number, but you’ve got to question the man with age defying pores who is still asking out twenty somethings. The main question being what is his skin regime because he looks incredibly youthful and glowy. It made me think of my future self, me at the end of my thirties- where will I be? I really have no idea but if I am still single, not even a divorce to my name, I will absolutely be living amongst a colony of mute nuns on top of a remote hill in the Netherlands because at that point, I am just one of the unlucky ones meant to share their life with no one except The Lord.

3. The guy is best friends with someone I’ve previously dated the week before. L.A. is actually quite small and I’ve decided that when you’re on the third or fourth date where you meet a guy’s group of friends, instead of trying to impress them by being the hot fun girl all the bros are jealous their friend gets to date, just pick their cutest bro friend and start dating them as well. This is effective, especially for those women commonly dismissed as sweet and timid, because no one sees it coming and it gives you an air of danger. I think Stevie Nicks tried something along these lines and the result was the end of Fleetwood Mac, but all I conclude from that is that it’s not a good idea to solidify all your conquests in the form of a musical group who shake tambourines and sing together. Baffle the bros. They won’t turn on each other- because without their bro who are they? They will just be confused together, essentially strengthening their bond while, if you go about it with class and sincerity, they won’t turn on you either and you surpass the crazy ho category, and get placed in the one just above it, the one where all the beautiful mysterious creatures who can’t be tamed go. If I were an animal in the wild, my defense mechanism to escape predetors would not be camaflouge, or the ability to turn my ribs into spikes, it would be my ability to confuse my enemy in such an intense and volatile way that all they can think of to do is run away as fast as they can.

4. The guy is/was/has been/ an underwear model. I’ve dated two men who, when you Google their name, fill your browser with pictures of them in tight, low rise white briefs and let me just say there are two types of attractive guys: those that pose with their arm over their head while a stylist greases their abs, and those who don’t, but who can run five miles shirtless without any shame. I can tell them apart now when they approach me. Men on the Google in their underoos have an air of confidence that regular muscley men just don’t possess, I think it might even be classified as a type of insanity, but I’m not sure.

5. The guy who isn’t scared away by your Instagram handle and still takes you out to dinner. I guess it’s a thing now, for people you meet to show their interest in you by following you on Instagram. This is wildly unfortunate for me because in the past few months my Instagram handle has changed from:

Aloha_Big Jenny to Hamburger_Jenny to Big_HambergJenny to Regular_Old_Jenny1973.

I already have my next handle picked out: Sad_Flat Chested _Jenny but I’m still deciding if I should throw an 88 on the end or not. There is nothing more thrilling to me than having a man with perfect hair and teeth ask me if I’m on Instagram. “I am, I’m Regular Old Jenny 1973.” The silence that ensues could cut glass, and if you’re lucky they ask you to repeat it and you get to introduce yourself as Regular Old Jenny 1973 again. It’s an excellent way to weed out people early on because for some frail and unadventerous men, that’s all they need to hear to know that Big Hamburg Jenny is a huge red flag, a ticking time bomb, stay away. I need a strong, creative man, one with a heart of gold, one who isn’t going to question why 1973? 

You Will Learn

The other day I was writing in Starbucks, like I always am, and I couldn’t help but overhear two teenage girls talking about boys. “I’ll text him and three hours later he will respond,” one girl was telling her friend. “And you can see that he totally read the text!” her friend exclaimed, disgusted. I started to sweat. This was one of those moments. A moment where I, an old woman, or an older woman than these sixteen year olds, can now bestow my hard earned wisdom to a pair of souls on Earth. “Ladies,” I began, butting my head in between the two of them, causing the brunette to let out a scream in alarm. “As an… elder,” I continued, “I can give you some knowledge….some very hard earned knowledge, knowledge only gained through painful, horrifying mistakes.” They looked at me in equal parts alarm, suspicion and awe, and I felt like Ursula in The Little Mermaid- a terrifying overweight old octopus woman, who if existed in real life would most likely be a participant on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, about to tell these girls that the only way to find true love is to surrender their voices to me, the evil drag octopus queen. “Send one and only one text,” I instructed, their eyes growing big. “What?” they asked. I paused dramatically. “Text, ‘hey’ at 2 am…..and then just turn your phone off.” They stared at me. “Then what?” one of them asked. My brow furrowed. “You just go to sleep,” I said in a tone that suggested, look at me, I clearly get all of the menI could sense from their silence, I was losing some, if not all my credibility. “Men today are slobs,” I declared in a hushed tone. One girl sighed like she just figured out that I was not a person to take any advice from ever. I was losing them. “Give your voices to me or else Prince Eric will never love you…” I trailed off. As they both ran away, I was left sitting there to stew, in shame.

As I watched them from the window I realized they would most likely go home to their parents overwhelmingly disturbed by the scary woman in Starbucks. “I’m sorry…” I called after them. In retrospect, I would have just told those girls that if he doesn’t text you back don’t worry. As you grow up life is going to throw so many more obstacles in front of you, boys will be the least of your concerns. I started to think about myself as a sixteen year old- I looked like a stick bug and I spoke to no one- and myself now- I still look like a stick bug and I talk to like, three people,  but there have been so many things I have learned since being sixteen, valuable things I could share with someone younger than I.

I would have admitted that the hardest part about growing up will be not becoming that scary woman who has let all the painful lessons and failures of her life leave her jaded and bitter. Because there will be boys who don’t text you back sure, but sometimes you won’t text boys back, and there will also be boys that tell you they love you but don’t really know how to, and you will tell someone you love them but end up not knowing how, and there will be boys who use you, and you will use boys, and you will make and lose friends, succeed and fail at jobs, fall down over and over and have to get back up. And you will always have to get back up and keep going.

You will go out into the world, and nothing will be fair. It will shock you. You will have to figure out which battles are worth fighting for and you will realize everything in your life will be a choice. You will have the choice to fight or not to fight. You will have the choice to blend in or stand out. There will be moments when you will need to be brave. Moments when you will need to listen instead of speak, and moments when you will need to speak instead of listen- and you will need to know the difference. You will need to figure out how to love yourself, others and the world- in that order. Your heart will get blasted into a million pieces and, this will be one of those moments you will need to be brave, you will need to put it back together using yourself, others and the world- the very same things that shattered your heart to pieces in the first place. You will have the choice to let your defeats, embarrassments and failures define and weaken you, or make you a more empathetic and courageous human being.

You will have to face a media shitstorm. Everywhere you look there will be someone to compare yourself to, something to live up to, some person making you feel inadequate, threatened or afraid. And you will have to be smarter. You will have to investigate for yourself, you will have to form your own opinions and ideals and it will seem impossible and lonely at times, but it’s a struggle worth embracing- and it may take a lifetime, so don’t ever surrender. You will want to be beautiful. You will see beautiful women everywhere. You will hear men talk about beautiful women. You will have to define beauty for yourself because one day you will hopefully be a wrinkly old woman, and you will have to look at yourself in the mirror. You will be disappointed by how the world is presented to you. You will need to be more than creative, you will need to be innovative and take what’s given to you and recreate it. You will have to learn to seek- to really hunt for the good, and you will realize you have to be the good in the world, and you will have to figure out how. You will have to follow through. You won’t always follow through or honor your word- and you will learn how detrimental that will be.

You will lose things- innocence, dignity, pride, friends, lovers, family members. Your parents will get older- their hair will turn grey, they will get sick, you will need to be there for them. You will need to suck it up and be strong for others. You will have to prioritize your time and energy. You will have to determine what and who is important. You will have to be dependable for the people you love. You will need to stop thinking of only yourself. You will need to take responsibility. You will need to care. You will need to connect. You will need to be able to recognize those who are toxic to your wellbeing and you will need to learn to forgive them and let them go- because, you will learn, that sometimes you too, are toxic and worthy of being forgiven and let go.

You will feel sad. There will be some days where you won’t want to get out of bed and try. But there will also be some days where you can’t sleep because you are so excited about something, there will be moments when life will feel perfect. You will learn to remember the good days on the bad days and you will get out of bed and keep trying.

You will learn how complex you are.  You will surprise yourself. You will disappoint yourself. You will be proud of yourself. You will hate yourself. You will love yourself.  You will realize others are as complex as you are. You will learn not to fear different people, or opinions, or lifestyles. You will learn to embrace everything foreign to you with open arms. You will learn to be tolerant. You will become more interested in people, more forgiving, and more loving because of this.

You will learn that people in power are sometimes cruel. There will be people who have authority over you who will abuse you. You will have to learn to stand up for yourself. You will have to remind yourself that you are powerful too, even if they don’t think you are. You will learn how to help others see their own power- you will learn that breaking others down is a sign of weakness, not strength. You will learn how to be a leader and not a dictator.

You will learn to laugh. Laughter will be your saving grace, and you will realize it’s the only weapon you will need in any battle. You will learn that people who can laugh at themselves always win.

You will learn it’s worth it to pay attention to everything and everyone, even though everything you see, experience or encounter will most likely leave you completely bewildered and confused. Be conscious. Don’t ignore things just because it’s easier.

You will find soul mates. People who, in a crowded room, you can make eye contact with and just know what they are thinking. You will know who these people are because they will be around for all of it, they will endure your messy life with you. This doesn’t mean they will be physically with you all the time. Your soul mates will be traveling along on their own path, fighting their own journey, but along the way you both will be each others teachers and safety net. They will let you go out into the world and be there in some form when you come back completely fucked up from whatever happened to you out there. You will exchange stories with them. They will challenge you, they will see the best in you, they will bring out the best. They will remind you of all your strengths when you are downtrodden and they will call you out when you are being an idiot. They will protect you, sometimes from yourself. You will learn that being someone else’s soul mate is even better than having one.

You will love and lose. And love and lose. And love and lose. Each love will be different, and awesome, and horrifying. And you will learn to always be brave enough and willing to love again. And when you find that love you can’t live without, you will learn to fight for it every. single. day.

But most of all, you will learn to keep learning and re-learning. You will learn that your mistakes make you a good teacher, a more empathetic member of humanity. You will learn that throughout the different stages of your life you will make new mistakes, and that you will be ever evolving and in flux. And you will hopefully learn to make peace with this and accept your own humanness. And I hope you will, at the end of it all, have enjoyed being alive.

At this point, I had begun to weep- in the middle of Starbucks. As I blew my nose into paper napkins and rubbed my gigantic red watery eyes, one of the baristas stopped wiping down a table nearby and put her hand on my shoulder. “Uh, are you ok?” she asked. “Life is so crazy, but so beautiful…..so sorrowful.  I just didn’t want to be Ursula, I wanted to be Grandmother Willow,” I told her. She nodded kindly and said, “There’s always tomorrow.”

Malibu is for Lovers and Skinning Deer

“In Missouri, we hunt deer and after you shoot them you drill holes in their hooves and hang their bodies by trees-” I interrupted Chance, my co-worker, a tall, tan, surfer with broad shoulders and long sandy blonde hair. “You hang dead Bambies in trees?” my eyes were spinning around and around in my head and I felt like I suddenly had to pee, that frantic type of urge when you are nervous and your body compensates by forcing you to urinate every few minutes. “Deers, not Bambies,” Chance said and continued. “Then we skin them and take their guts out. I don’t even wear gloves when I do it.” “HOLD ON,” I said, sweat dripping down my forehead. “You reach inside a dead Bambi, that is hanging from a tree, and you pull out it’s organs with your bear hands?” Chance nodded, his blue eyes looked worried. “People in LA think I’m a barbarian,” he said nodding. “But in Missouri, thats what you do. You hunt.” From first glance, Chance looks like he was born and bread in California, but the second he opens his mouth, everything comes out dripping in the dirty dirty South and you realize he grew up tossing deer innards over his head before untieing a dead deer from a tree and bringing its flesh home to Ma for dinner. “But just you wait, when the apocalypse comes everyone in LA will be dead and I’ll be eatin’ deer and rabbits.” “Bunnies too?” I said, “Like Jim Morrison?” Chance and I work together in Malibu, at one of the coolest stores I’ve ever been in, in one of the best locations I’ve ever worked in (minus Hawaii), right across from the pier on PCH, and our boss has a bunny named Jim Morrison. “Yeah, rabbits explode when you shoot them, just poofs of fur. I could show you how to make traps and maybe we could hunt Jim- I mean not kill and eat him obviously, but catch him in traps.”

I imagined Chance and I running around the store, which contains a teepee, rock stage and coffee bar, setting traps and releasing this tiny ball of fuzz named after the infamous Doors front man, The Lizard King, and trying to catch him for sport. Life is so ka-ooky! “Chance, do you kill cats?” Chance paused, “Now, I don’t like cats all that much, but I don’t kill them.” “What about dogs?” “No, never dogs.” “What about birds?” “Of course, crows are extremely smart by the way-” “What about other animals people domesticate..like gerbils?” “Why would you kill a gerbil?” he asked. “I feel that way about Bambies,” I said somberly. Chance rolled his eyes, “You know, y’all pay tons of money for ‘organic grass fed beef’ or whatever, but out on the farm where I grew up, we raised the cows, fed them and ate them. I mean thats as organic as you get. I actually knew where my food came from.” “Because you were raising them….to…slay…” I said slowly, my world rocked and rolledThe Lizard King. I looked at Chance standing there in his oversized tank, cameo pants, and flip flops. Strange…Alien. “Chance, I have camo crocs you know,” I told him. “Camo crocs? Now that’s ugly,” he responded. “But they would match your pants!” I pointed out. “These are my lounging pants,” Chance said. I thought about myself, getting home after a long day and kicking off my boots and slipping my feet into my crocs, footwear that. if I ever needed to blend into the wild with ease and comfort, I could wear. “But why are you wearing your lounging pants to work?”

Chance had wandered onto the porch where he began cutting the bushes in the front of the store. I grabbed a broom and followed him. As he chopped and I swept, the ocean mere feet away, a car drove by and some guys hollered out the window. Chance looked at me. “Why do people do that?” I asked, “I tried that once to a guy and nothing happened.” “What’s supposed to happen?” Chance asked. “When I worked in construction we used to holler at hot cats all the time, it’s just for fun. You’d be on a roof in the heat and some hot cat would walk by and you’d just be like, ‘YeeeeEEEEeeeeeeEEEEE look at that!” I stood holding the broom and staring at him in silence. “Hot cats?” I repeated. “Yeah, hot cats” he said. I put my broom down and popped my hip out, flipping one side of my hair with my hand, “Chance, let’s stand on the porch and holler at them hot cats soakin’ in them sun rays at the beach just there across the waaay.” Now it was Chance’s turn to stand there staring at me, in silence, holding gardening shears. “Look at that taaaaall drank of water! YeeeEEEeeeeEEEee!” I exclaimed as a middle aged man with a farmers tan shuffled by, pausing to squint at me in confusion. “No, no,” Chance said, “I don’t think you hollerin’ at hot cats is a good idea,” he said gently grabbing me by the shoulders and leading me back inside.

In lulls at work, I always ask Chance to tell me a story. He doesn’t even pause to think of one, he just starts going on and on about a truck rolling down a hill or a fat girl running into a barbed wire fence and I sit there listening, silently lusting after a childhood in Missouri. “What adventure,” I tell him. “I told that story about the fat girl running into the barbed wire fence in my public speaking class in high school,” he told me. “The class looooved it.” If you ever want to escape the la la land-ness of Los Angeles, all you need to do is befriend someone who grew up in the middle of the woods. The other day I noticed there was a suspicious looking jar of peanut butter on top of the fridge. The jar had a picture of cartoon Peter Pan on it under the words, Peter Pan’s Creamy Spread. “Chaaaanceee,” I yelled. “Yeah,” he appeared from around the corner. I stood holding the jar, “What’s this?” He looked confused, “Peanut butter,” he said, adding, “you’re on crack.” I never knew that peanut butter could be rachet before I met Chance. Sweet sweet Chance. 

Besides pretending I am from Missouri all day at work, I meet cute beachy couples who I both love and loathe equally. There is nothing more uplifting and soul crushing than seeing a tanned golden couple holding hands and wearing cute hats strolling around dancing to The Rolling Stones music playing from a record player in the store. Will I ever be part of a beachy couple who shop for clothes together? Where is my cute hat man who does adventurous things and fights for the woman he loves? I think to myself, perched at the coffee bar, shoving spoonfuls of Chance’s rachet peanut butter into my mouth. The other night, I was doing just that when a tall, tanned young man strolled into the store, and paused in front of the baby clothes. Oh great, he’s probably a cute young dad shopping for his newborn daughter-where’s the peter pan peanut butter. He turned around and smiled at me, a big white smile. What a hot cat, I thought, noticing his big light brown eyes. “This is a cool store,” he told me. “Yeah,” I said my head bobbing up and down like a goon. As we started to talk, I learned that this hot cat is a musician who grew up singing in church in Colorado, who in his spare time tutors special ed children. From my serial dating, I now have various lists of characteristics I would like to find in a romantic partner and a good looking musician who teaches special ed children is on the dream list, the list I gluttonously made without reservation of reality. “So will you be around here all summe-” he was asking me before being cut off by a frantic blonde haired woman barging into the store. “I need to make an exchange!” she said breathless, like she was alerting me to someone drowning across the street. “Well, I’ll let you get back to work, it was really nice to meet you,” he said and off he went out the door. I reached my arm out, nooooo, I whispered, curse the fickle finger of fate. 

I was left with this woman, this old bag, who I was now looking at with such contempt, almost wanting to ignore her completely and just begin writing my ad that I would later post to the missed connections section on Craigslist. Man who cares about children and music with great hair, please come back, sales girl trippin’. “That guy was really cute,” the woman said to me. I wanted to fling her ill fitting sweats up into the air and scream. “Alas,” was all I said. She looked at me and in my head I heard Chance’s country drawl, “Jeaaaan, you’re on crack.” I helped the woman and a few hours later, began closing the store. As I was turning off the record player,  a guy riding a vintage motorcycle pulled up in front of the store. In walked hot special ed man. He rides a vintage motorcycle? Wait, am I on crack? Is there crack in this Peter Pan Creamy Spread that’s making me hallucinate?  “Hey,” he said. “I know you were telling me that restaurant on the pier is good and you’ve never been..I thought I’d come back and see if you’d be here next Sunday, and if you’d want to get dinner there with me.” I stood there baffled. “A date? Next Sunday?” He smiled. “Yeah, a date. Next Sunday.” I felt like I had to pee. He came baaaack. My heart will go on. 

I am aware that it is sad and pathetic that a man making the effort to come back into my place of work after meeting me and asking me out is so thrilling to me, but in the state of the world today, where single people live with the constant fear and anxiety of their ex tinder dates breaking into their apartments to kill them- it is truly refreshing to experience something normal and old timey. That, and the refreshing realization that there are people out there skinning deers and eating rabbits and just having a jolly good life.

 

 

 

 

The Regulars

When I came back from Hawaii, my friend Jane had a new spot she loved to hang out at in Hollywood. She liked it mainly because she had a crush on one of the bartenders, a slim actor from Canada. When someone tells me they are from Canada I instantly am on their side. When introducing myself to a new group of people, I like to add that I am half French Canadian and I can tell people are already endeared to me. I have found people are also endeared if you say you’re from Wisconsin, Georgia or anywhere in Europe. If you want people to immediately become apprehensive of you, tell them you were born and raised in Los Angeles. Jane and I would sit at the bar whenever Canada was working, and before I even had become aware of what my life was turning into, I had become a “regular” at this bar. I’ve never been a regular at a bar before and it was nothing like Cheers. Nothing makes you feel more pathetic than walking into an oriental themed bar and having a Canadian say, “the usual eh?” while he fills up a wine glass. Being a regular at a bar also meant you met the other regulars. Jane was not Canada’s only admirer, he also had a middle aged man named Stuart who hung out at the bar after work or when his wife wanted to watch The Voice in peace. While Jane was fixated on Canada, I became fixated on Stuart. Stuart knew everything that happened in that bar. “You were talking to that good looking guy three days ago around eleven pm, how did that go? Have you heard from him since?” he asked me one night. “I was what? You were here? How did yo-” Stuart shook his head, “I talked to that guy last night for an hour. He’s a good guy but I don’t think he’s interested in anything serious with you. He gave you his favorite books didn’t he? Don’t read too much into that, you look like the type that might.” I took a sip of my wine and stared into his eyes, I am that type, I thought.

While Jane and Canada’s relationship was either going nowhere, or progressing at the pace of a beached whale trying to make its way back to the ocean, I had observed enough of Stuart that I now considered him an oracle of sorts, a person with the ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception. “Do you think Stuart is…enlightened?” I asked Canada one night. “That man tells it like it is,” Canada said, “I think it’s interesting, some people can’t take the honesty though.” We looked at Stuart at the end of the bar, he was sitting directly under a light which cast a soft glow around only him. “Look at that beeeaaauty! What a beauty,” Canada said as we both gazed at Stuart wearing shorts, loafers and a baseball cap, aglow. One night Stuart had gotten deep in a discussion with Jane who I could tell he was very fond of. I was sitting there on the outskirts of the conversation with my phone, sending out texts to ex-boyfriends:

On a scale of 1-10 how bad of a girlfriend was I? 1 being the worst.

Hey, do you hate me? 

When Canada appeared. “What are they talking about?” he asked as Jane screeched “He was a drug addict, but I loved him!” I shrugged as my phone lit up with a text from my very first boyfriend: who is this? I sighed. “I can’t believe you’ve never read To Kill A Mockingbird,” I told Canada, remembering a discussion all of us had had the week before. “Boo Radley is one of the greatest fictional characters in my opinion.” Canada shook his head, “Hey if you bring it to me I’ll read it, I’ll bring you my favorite book that you have never read,” he told me. “I can’t believe you’ve never read a Mario Puzo book. Not even The Godfather.” I  shrugged and then realized Jane had gotten up and had run out the door crying. I turned to Stuart. “What did you say to her?” I asked. He was studying me. “You have Bambi eyes, that’s what it is about you. I bet they probably get you into trouble all the time. You also look better with your hair up, and you don’t look as tired as the last time I saw you. Also, you speak very slowly, you’re a slow talker, has anyone ever told you that before?” I stared at him. “Is it true you sell your daughter’s girl scout cookies to people at this bar?” I asked, in a semi-threatening tone. He slid a napkin towards me. “Write your name, number and how many boxes you want,” he said, “unfortunately, we are sold out of Thin Mints.” Canada and I looked at each other. “I need to close out,” I told him. I paid our bill and went outside to find Jane, who was in tears over Stuart analyzing all her past relationships with men. “You can’t listen to that guy. I mean who even is that guy? He doesn’t know you,” I said and then added, “Hey, would you say I’m a slow talker? Did I say that slowly? Am I speaking slowly now?”

The thing about LA, a city full of good looking actors/models/musicians that need day jobs, is that even though you can be (not seriously) dating or involved with someone else, you also end up developing crushes on everyone you see: cute barista at Starbucks guy, every bartender and waiter/waitress everywhere, the bouncer who sits in front of the medical marijuana dispensary that you walk by everyday on your way to work, your cute lyft driver. In theory it makes sense, you date around until you find someone you connect with more than the others and then you become exclusive and all of the sudden you stop noticing how cute the guy who is making your sandwich at Subway is. In reality, all that happens is you upset absolutely everyone and lose not only all your credibility and respect, but followers on Instagram. Jane had been dating a guy who was a total dick but had a crush on Canada, Canada seemed interested in no one but his acting career, I had been tagging along, newly single and just obsessing over old boyfriends like a psychopath, and eventually what happened was I did bring Canada To Kill A Mockingbird,  just before the ground beneath my feet split open and I burst into flames and was swallowed up by evil. This confirmed that Stuart is not in fact, an oracle, because apparently exchanging books is a big deal that should always be very carefully read into no matter what type of person you may be. The book lead me to hang out with Canada and once I realized I was in fact interested, it was way way way too late. A good friend would have asked Jane before ever scandelously lending out a book and asked permission to be interested in the guy, a really really good friend would have just ignored Canada completely.  I called Jane to apologize, and talk about it, and she told me she wanted to meet me at The Grove.

The Grove is the perfect place for shit to go down. The fountains, old timey music playing, trolly, chain restaurants and gigantic three story Abercrombie and Fitch creates an idealistic setting to tell someone you want a divorce, or you are pressing charges, or filing for a restraining order. As I walked through the crowd of tourists I saw Jane. She was wearing a colorful jumpsuit, large sunglasses and her hair was up in a bun, adding height to her. I walked up and before I could even get a word out she took off through the crowd. “FOLLOW ME,” she barked. An overweight man wearing a Disneyland t-shirt and eating a Wetzel Pretzel looked at me like you better follow her. I tried to see where she was going, I lost her in the crowd until I heard, “I’M NOT UPSET THAT CANADA CHOSE YOU OVER ME. I’M UPSET THAT YOU CHOSE HIM OVER ME.” I started jogging to keep up with her. “I didn’t choose him over yo-” “NO. LISTEN TO ME. I’M TALKING. YOU LISTEN.” I realized we had just walked through an Asian family trying to take a picture of themselves in front of the Nike store. They were all staring at me, “I’m so sorry,” I said, thinking about once they return home and are sitting around showing their friends and family their trip to LA, a picture of the family blocked out by Jane, red in the face from screaming, tears running down her face and me wearing a black romper chasing after her wide eyed and fearful.  “YOU ALWAYS TRY TO JUSTIFY EVERYTHING WITH YOUR FEELINGS, BUT YOU DON’T REALIZE YOU HURT PEOPLE!” she yelled. In the background Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me,” was playing. “WE ARE NOT FRIENDS ANYMORE JENNIFER.” In llama-land there’s a one-man band and he’ll toot his flute for you. Come fly with me, let’s take off in the blue. We had now gained an audience and I felt like I was on a special episode of Maury that was filmed at a 1940’s themed lounge. “It’s not his baby! It’s not his baby!” I wanted to scream over Frank Sinatra. “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THIS, DO YOU REALIZE WE ARE NOT FRIENDS ANYMORE.” Everyone was looking at me and I wish I could have paused the moment and interviewed members in the crowd. “What do you think is going on?” I would have asked the large black man who just exited Cheescake Factory. “Obviously that skinny bitch slept with her husband,” he would say. “Or maybe that skinny bitch stole money from her. Maybe murder…. that skinny bitch has wild eyes.”  I had never really had someone yell at me before like this, especially in public, not even my mother when I was five and walked out of Ralphs with a ring pop we didn’t pay for, so I had begun to shake. “Maybe we should talk about this later, when you- we, feel calmer, maybe take some time to think-” I said meekly, and I realized that in paralyzing fear, I clench my butt, like people do when they are trying to hold in farts. Which probably added to this whole scene we were putting on for The Grove shoppers. “NO. WE ARE NOT FRIENDS ANYMORE! AND IT’S YOUR FAULT. YOU DID THIS.” As Jane kept yelling I realized she probably wouldn’t stop unless I either ran away or vanished into thin air. If I could have vanished into thin air I would have, mainly because I’m a puss, but also for the benefit of the tourists, so they could go home and tell everyone they saw a real life evil witch when they were in LA. “How did you know she was evil and not a good witch?” their friend would ask. “Because this enthusiastic woman was screaming at her,” they would reply, “screaming in a BAD way.”

I often wish I was born a man, and this was another one of those times where I was just like, God, men are better than women. If this situation was happening among brethren, and a boy went out with a girl his friend had no history with except for having a crush on her, a crush that was not reciprocated, I don’t even know if they would talk about it. “Dude, I know you are interested in her, but since I’ve been going with you to this bar all the time, we talk and I don’t know, it seems like we may have a lot in common. I think we may be interested in each other, can I move forward with my feelings or is she off limits?” I mean I can’t even imagine that conversation. I had a guy friend who once dated a girl all through college, broke up with her and she started dating one of his friends and no one gave a shit. And even if it resulted in anger and hurt feelings, one swift punch to the face and all would be forgiven and forgotten. None of this screeching and yelling in the middle of a retail complex. Jane was still exploding and we were now in front of Barnes and Noble. I, with clenched butt, opened the door of the bookstore and closed it on Jane, her muffled voice through the glass “WE ARE DONE! DONE!” I turned around and a tiny elderly couple was standing behind me, they looked shocked. “My girlfriend and I are fighting,” I tried to explain. “Oh, not my girlfriend girlfriend, like my lover, just my friend who is a girl. She likes this guy, he says ‘aboot’…it’s cute, lots of girls like him I think, who really cares, love is crazy bullshit…” I trailed off as they walked away. I sat down in an oversized chair next to a stack of Maxim magazines. Stuart is going to hate me, I thought and then slapped myself across the face.

Now when I am a mother, I know exactly what to tell my children when they turn 21. You never want to become a regular at a bar my child, Cheers was nothing but television magic…..also, friends are always more important than boys, so think before you act. Also, books are like your virginity, only give them away to special people who love you, don’t send mixed messages or be a whore. And never mix wine and whiskey, that is so irresponsible and stupid. Don’t be a fool.