How to successfully scare off potential mates.

Despite appearances to the contrary,
this, my friend Joe, is not a wanker.

Rich sent me this email which apparently has been making the rounds lately. Poor, besotted Joe meets the lovely Kate at a friend’s party and later sends her an email to invite her out for a coffee date. It’s a pretty banal situation, one that most of us have been in; you meet a cutie at a party or bar, you’re a little tipsy and convince yourself that s/he is "the one" and you make an ass of youself in the process:

Hello Kate,

It's joe - we met at Andrew's party.

I hope you don't mind me getting your e-mail address from the e-mail that Andy sent to us all; it is a bit sneaky of me.

It was wonderful to meet you on Saturday, and I wonder if you would consider meeting me for coffee sometime; maybe at the Tate Modern?
So far, so good. I’m willing to overlook the grammar (just barely) and even the slightly stalkerish behavior that stems from culling the original invite to find the email address of your destined-to-be beloved. The invitation, however, is flawless: a coffee shop is the perfect location for a low-key first date, and the suggestion of the Tate Modern shows a level of sophistication you don’t expect from drunken college students.*

Had Joe ended the email with a quick “Hope to hear from you soon!” I trust that even the inestimable Miss Manners would have little to complain about. Unfortunately, Joe has taken making an ass of one’s self to a whole new level:

OK. This is where my common sense is telling me to stop, keep it simple and positive joe.
This is where Joe (joe?) should have listened to the little voice in his head that says, “Stop Joe, you’re making an ass of yourself." Unfortunately for Kate, Joe seems to have other voices in his head, and he couldn’t concentrate for the din.

And the probability of me listening to that voice? Experience has taught me that it is not worth putting up a fight; I will end up giving in to the part of me that never wants to find itself shaking its head and muttering 'if only'

Hopefully he won’t be listening to the voices that tell him to kill.

This is the part where I throw caution to the wind; the part where I listen to my heart and remember that I should live my life as an exultation and revel in the opportunity to try; the part where I refuse to apologize for who I am; the part where I trust that the lady I met on Saturday night is, as I suspect, able to see sincerity where others would see clich.

Clich, I assume, is cliché. A word that still doesn’t fit within the context of the sentence, but can at least be found in most English language dictionaries.

Here’s a word of advice for the boys: women hate it when you make assumptions about us. It’s a common thing you all do, and you need to stop. You meet a girl, you like her, you project all kinds of thoughts and opinions and assume that we are capable of reading a stalker letter and seeing through to the “nice guy” that lurks beneath. Stop it. Seriously. If you ever want to get laid, try actually talking to a girl and finding out what she’s really like and then determining if you like who she is. When you create personalities for us (working under the assumption, apparently, that we have none of our own), you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. You’ll eventually become one of those MRA fuckwits who blame women for all of their problems, because if we had only just been the people you want us to be, rather than who we are, you’d be happy. Save us all the headache, guys; no one likes an MRA fuckwit.

I am fortunate enough to have been able to collect a number of special memories. They are memories of moments that made any struggle leading up to them worthwhile. They are memories of moments when I am struck by something so beautiful, time stands still and all of the ugliness in the world ceases to exist.

Your smile is the freshest of my special memories.

I told Rich that “special memories” sounds like a euphemism for “masturbatory material.” Another word of advice for the guys in the room: if you must conjure images of women you’ve just met while jerking off, please have the common decency of not telling us that’s what you’re doing. You might think we are flattered to have a starring role in your favorite fantasy, but we’re actually creeped out by it.

Regardless of whether we see each other again, I will use it as I do my other special memories. I will call on it when I am disheartened or low. I will hold it in my heart when I need inspiration. I will keep it with me for moments when I need to find a smile of my own.

Dude, that’s some serious pressure on a poor girl! That’s like one step down from “The only thing that stops me from offing myself is knowing that you love me.” What if Kate’s having a bad day, Joe? Should she smile just for you, lest you never lift yourself up from your desperation? Kate is a real person, Joe, not some muse who’ll simper and smile so that you can be inspired. Fuck, I don’t even know Kate, and I’m pissed off for her!

I am unsure of all my motives for sharing this with you and, if I am honest, not ready to examine them too closely. However, I know that it makes me feel good to believe that maybe, if you are ever upset, knowing that I will be keeping your smile alive might help you through.

Oh for the love of Bill! First of all, if you’re not ready to examine your motives, Joe, don’t unload on the poor girl like she’s your therapist on call. Besides, I thought your motives were clear: email the hottie and get her to have a cuppa joe with Joe. Seems pretty clear cut to me. Apparently, though, there lurks beneath the innocent date invitation something more sinister, otherwise Joe wouldn’t be so conflicted. And Kate wouldn’t be so freaked out by the email that she had to forward it to the entire world—presumably to identify a possible culprit should she ever end up dead.

I still can’t get over the smile thing, though. I can imagine the situation right now: Kate is upset because she’s being email-stalked by some crazy kid she met at a party. She’s depressed and unable to smile, but takes comfort in the fact that Joe is “keeping [her] smile alive” while she's filling out the appropriate Personal Protection Order paperwork. Why, it’s almost as good as actually being happy because you’re not being hounded by a future-MRA fuckwit.

If you are half as intelligent and aware as I believe you to be, I am sure that you will find what I have written, in the very least, sweet.

If I am twice as lucky as I would dare to hope, you will find this note charming and agree to contact me and arrange a date.

And if you’re an evil bitch feminist like most women, you’ll call the cops.

Either way, I trust that your reply will be candid - you told me how much you value honesty.

Oh, her reply was candid all right. Forwarding Joe’s email with what could only have been “Check out this crazy kid who is stalking me just in case I end up dead,” is a pretty honest reaction.

One last thing, I promise that it is enormously rare for me to stray as far from sobriety as I managed on Saturday night.

I love this line. It's probably my favorite line in this entire pitiful, embarrassing email. Presumably, Joe and Kate felt some kind of connection at the party, but Kate felt the need to forward the email that he wrote while stone-cold sober to all of her friends. If I were Joe, I'd stick with drinking--it obviously works better for him.

Be safe. Joe

And this is what creeps me out the most! “Be safe,” Joe says…safe from what Joe? You’re the delusional fuck that’s sending her random stalker emails. Joe, you’re the one she needs to be kept safe from!

The British newspaper that published the letter has been inundated with comments in support of Joe. There is one of two possible reasons for this: either the Brits are so stiff-upper-lip emotionally repressed that they have bred out the ability to recognize sincere emotion (as opposed to clich), or I’ve lost the ability to determine when a Brit is joking. I still laugh at Rich’s jokes, though, so I’m thinking it’s not the latter.

So what is it, folks? Am I the evil bitch feminist, suspicious of even the most well-intentioned romantic overtures, or is Joe a crazy stalker deserving of public ridicule? And if I am an evil bitch feminist, you still love me, right?

*I have no idea how old Joe is, but his hamfisted use of really big words to sound impressive can only be the work of a college student.


annamaria at 11:38 AM

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Talk amongst yourselves today, dear friends. I'm leaving work in 15 minutes to go hang out with Clever Bethanne and Ted Leo. Hopefully, I'll have pictures of the show tomorrow. Play nice, kids!


annamaria at 11:13 AM

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Egads! A Breast!

Zuzu at Feministe informs us that this magazine cover is causing quite a stir among the "what’s that baby doing attached to my object of sexual fetishization?" crowd. Oh dear. I’m not one to make essentialist arguments about what is natural for women, or what our bodies were designed to do, but I think it’s fairly obvious to most sane people that breasts have both function and form, and that’s why they’re so fucking cool.

I have to wonder about people who see images like the one above and immediately see something dirty and debased. Are they unable to contextualize? Do they not have any mothers in their lives? That looks like one happy, healthy baby and the curve of that woman’s breast (Look Ma! No nipple!) is aesthetically pleasing to say the least. I fear for society when the image of a child enjoying a meal causes an uproar while your average magazine stand looks like this.

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annamaria at 10:56 AM

2 spoke


Saving America, one scared pregnant teen at a time

I hope you all missed me, ‘cause this one’s going to be long and ranty!

Today, the Senate passed the Child Custody Protection Act, a bill that, you will note, has more interest in protecting parents’ property (i.e., children) than actually, you know, protecting kids. The CCPA would make it a federal crime for anyone other than a custodial parent to transport a minor child across state lines to obtain an abortion in contravention of laws of the minor’s home state. That means that if Grandma Joannie takes Little Susie from Michigan to Illinois, perhaps because Susie’s Daddy also happens to be her Baby Daddy, Joannie can look forward to an all-expense paid trip to Leavenworth.

Currently, thirty-four states require some kind of parental involvement in a minor’s abortion, either notification or consent, and fifteen states have no such requirements.* It seems to me, for a movement that is so keen on arguing that individual states should get to make decisions about whether to allow abortion, the Republicans are quite content with forcing liberal states like Oregon and New York to live by the more restrictive legislation of other states. Law enforcement will be required to treat young women differently based on their permanent address and not the laws of the state where the procedure took place. Imagine if gun laws worked like this—if Michigan had to acquiesce to California’s more restrictive handgun laws. Do you think the Freepers would be behind that legislation? And do you think CCPA is a two-way street? What if a vacationing New York teenager seeks an abortion in Ohio? Do her parents need to provide consent? After all, in her home state, she is free to terminate her pregnancy without involving her parents.

And more importantly, in nearly every jurisdiction in this country, a minor girl who carries a pregnancy to term is considered medically emancipated; doctors and hospitals are not required to seek out her parents’ permission in order to administer medication, treat pregnancy related illnesses or even perform a C-section. When a young girl is pregnant she is, for all intents and purposes, an adult. Why is it that a thirteen-year-old girl is adult enough to consent to a major surgery like C-section, but not a safe out-patient procedure like abortion? And if a thirteen-year-old girl is not adult enough to decide to terminate a pregnancy, how in the world can she be adult enough to continue it?

Parental consent and notification laws often seem to have their heart in the right place. No one wants a scared teenager to be faced with a major life decision without a support system in place. People genuinely believe that parents should be made aware of their daughter’s intention to have an abortion, because they believe that girls will need parental support, love and guidance. It is that reasoning that makes these laws so popular, even with people who otherwise identify as pro-choice. My sister and I had a conversation once about this very issue, and she looked at her young daughter and said, “I would want to know.**” And I get that. But you can’t legislate healthy families. You can’t force families to function in an ideal manner. And what is most disturbing about CCPA is that it actually prevents young women from seeking a healthy, familial support system by threatening grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, cousins, etc. with jail time for doing what good families should do: care for their most vulnerable members.

There is a part of me that hopes that the law gets enacted, if for no other reason than to see the Grandma Joannies of the world carted off to jail, and the shamefaced looks of sixty-four Senators when they realize what they’ve done.

* 34 plus 15 = South Dakota is a misogynist hell hole which doesn’t allow anyone to get an abortion.
**This is the same sister that once dreamt that I called her in the middle of the night, crying, sixteen and pregnant, and she made plans to drive to Michigan, take me to her home in Chicago, and get me to an abortion clinic. Ironic, huh?

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annamaria at 12:01 PM

20 spoke


Monday Music Blogging

I’ll start with the news that makes me only moderately piss-my-pants excited: New Scissor Sisters! Courtesy of the wonderful Dodge, check out the first single off their upcoming release, Ta Dah: I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. [Right click, save] The first time I heard this song, I was positive they were going to break into “Oh What a Night.” Fabulous.

And now onto the news that makes me so happy I’ve already begun to plan road trips throughout the Midwest just so I can revel in Colin Meloy’s adorableness for days on end: Decemberists tour dates! The Decemberists’ Relatively Unobtrusive e-Missive (RUeM) landed in my mailbox yesterday, and confirmed that the released date for The Crane Wife is October 3rd, and the tracklisting is as follows:

1. The Crane Wife 3
2. The Island
-Come and See
-The Landlord's Daughter
-You'll Not Feel the Drowning
3. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
4. O Valencia!
5. The Perfect Crime #2
6. When the War Came
7. Shankill Butchers
8. Summersong
9. The Crane Wife 1 & 2
10. Sons and Daughters

Want a preview? Stream it here and select date: July 22nd and time 6:23 p.m. Seattle’s KEXP was kind enough to play the first single off the album, the epic “The Island.” Pitchfork has the review. Also, check out the Decemberists’ MySpace page for a (relatively short) demo of “The Tain.”

Finally, here are the tour dates:

08-23 Seattle, WA - Woodland Park Zoo
08-26 Salem, OR - Oregon State Fair (Pet Aid 2006) *
10-17 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom #
10-18 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom #
10-19 San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theater #
10-21 Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern #
10-22 Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theater #
10-24 Austin, TX - Stubb's #
10-25 Dallas, TX - Gypsy Ballroom #
10-26 New Orleans, LA - House of Blues #
10-27 Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle #
10-29 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club #
10-30 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club #
10-31 Northampton, MA - Calvin Theater #
11-01 Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory #
11-03 New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom $
11-04 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theater $
11-05 Montreal, Quebec - Metropolis $
11-04 Toronto, Ontario - Kool Haus $
11-07 Pontiac, MI - Clutch Cargo $
11-09 Cleveland, OH - Agora Theater $
11-10 Columbus, OH - Lifestyle Communities Pavilion $
11-11 Chicago, IL - Riviera Theater $
11-12 Minneapolis, MI - First Avenue $
11-14 Denver, CO - Paramount Theater $
11-16 Missoula, MT - Wilma Theater $
11-17 Seattle, WA - Paramount Theater $
11-18 Vancouver, B.C. - Commodore Ballroom $

* with Violent Femmes, Cake
# with Lavender Diamond
$ with Alasdair Roberts

In bold are two shows for which I will most definitely be in attendance. Should I have some money to waste and vacation days to spend, I’ll probably relive my freewheeling youth and catch those Ohio shows as well.

PS—how much do I hate you, Salem, Oregon? The Decemberists and The Violent Femmes? So completely unfair.

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annamaria at 1:33 PM

4 spoke


It's the most wonderful time of the year.

The Show shares a birthday with Monica Lewinsky and Daniel Radcliffe.
Insert your own dirty joke here.

Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, but we heathens know where the real fun is—It's The Show's birthday*, people!

Last year, in commemoration of this most joyous event, I offered up The Show's birthday gift to anyone who could correctly answer the inane trivia question of my choice. There were several takers, and all were sent copies of a 2-disc mix CD compiled and lovingly packaged by yours truly. This year is slightly different: you answer two questions and get one disc. Hey, I've been busy, folks!

I anticipate there will be some grumbling from the Birthday Girl when she realizes that she's getting jacked out of a unique gift for the second year in a row. Suck it up, babe, these people demand music and it's my duty to bring forth the rock.

Okay, so it's Indie rock and therefore doesn't really rock so much as lull you with pert melodies and smart lyrics. But it is guaranteed to please, nonetheless. I'll even give you a preview:

    1. To Die a Virgin – The Divine Comedy
    2. Slow Down Chicago – Canasta
    3. Awoo – The Hidden Cameras
    4. Postcards from Italy – Beirut
    5. Black Cab – Jens Lekman
    6. I Love to Dance – Langhorne Slim
    7. Did I Step On Your Trumpet? - Danielson
    8. Lazy Little Ada – Colin Meloy
    9. Carousel – Skittish
    10. Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken – Camera Obscura
    11. Best Thing Ever (Maybe Not) – Viva Voce
    12. Vain – Bishop Allen
    13. The Drive Will Do You Good – Sure Juror
    14. Bitch Please – Brigitte
    15. A Gilded Age – Norfolk & Western
    16. Ecoutez Bien! - Eux Autres
    17. June Gloom – The Like
    18. The Veil Comes Down – Thunderbirds Are Now!
    19. Plan of the Man – The M's
    20. Skip To The End – The Futureheads
    21. Rock City Wankers** - The Ark
    22. Feels Good Being Somebody – Dios (Malos)

Rocking, no? Admit it, dear reader, you would love to get your little paws on a mix CD of such fine quality. And it can be yours if you just answer the following two very easy questions:

  1. Would you like a copy of this fine mix CD?
  2. What is your mailing address?

All answers should be submitted to the BOMT mailbox and not the comments so as to avoid the inconvenience of having strange people on the interwebs stalk you at your homes. Feel free to leave any affirmative responses to question #1 in the comments so that The Show will know exactly who is getting a share of her birthday gift.

Oh, and you can leave birthday wishes in the comments as well, if you must. :)

UPDATE: The CDs went in the mail yesterday afternoon, so you should all receive them very soon!

* Birthday is actually July 23rd, and I make no guarantee that the CDs will reach her or you in time for this glorious event. Again, busy. Deal with it.
**This is by far my favorite song of the year. The opening guitar and synthesizer remind me of that scene in The Breakfast Club; you know the one, where protojock Emilio Estevez gets high and dances on the railing, while prissy princess Molly Ringwald finally realizes that she's hopelessly besotted with brooding bad boy Judd Nelson. Brilliant.


annamaria at 6:37 PM

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Photographic proof of my city's existence

Walking around Detroit with Brit Rich this week has been pretty great--it's always fascinating (to me anyway) how your city looks different and a little more interesting when you're showing it to someone else. It's as if those streets and parks and even restaurant signs are newer and brigher--some of the tarnish of familiarity has been removed, and you can recognize that few cities have a fake Warhol Marilyn Monroe painted on the side of a church.

So, I've uploaded some of the pictures I took this week whilst traipsing through Detroit (and even the Shelby T!). You can find them here.

In the meantime, I love this picture of Rich at the Garden Bowl.

He looks vaguely like Ted Leo in this shot, which makes me love him all the more!


annamaria at 9:20 AM

2 spoke


Certainly beats "Let the Eagle Soar"

In the never-ending battle for which Bushista rocks the mic most, it looks like the prize must go to Dubya himself. Congrats! This might be the first campaign he's actually won!

Many thanks to Rich for the link!

annamaria at 11:01 AM

1 spoke