The Problem With “Virgin Diaries”

Have you ever watched Virgin Diaries on TLC?  Even if you haven’t, you may recognize this clip:

This is the kind of kiss that you want to laugh about in private later, not have it live on Youtube in infamy so others can squirm with second-hand embarrassment while watching it.

I watched the first episode of this show back in November, and not all of the virgins featured in the episode were as awkward as the poor couple in the first clip.  But it certainly reeked of reality television posturing.  One of the plots revolved around a group of women who were all virgins (well, one was a “reclaimed” virgin).  They all went on a group date with an equal number of attractive men who were – surprise! virgins too.  Wow, what are the odds?

The major problem I have with this show is they find the most socially-awkward people as a representation of “older virgins” and use these people in their marketing campaigns to attract attention for the show.  It’s exploitative and ridiculous, and perpetuates the stereotype that older virgins are losers, outcasts, or social freaks.

That’s far from the truth.  There are plenty of normal, well-adjusted, accomplished adults out there who happen to be virgins for many reasons, and they aren’t as uncommon as popular culture leads you to believe.  I have plenty of friends who lost their virginity in their twenties, or who are still virgins for various reasons.  I’m not about to delve into my private life in a public forum, but it’s safe to say that I lost my virginity well after 17, which is the average for American women.

Apparently, this show is returning next month with a new batch of older virgins to exploit.  I know I won’t be watching.

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Three Things: Things to Make a Monday Cheery

It’s always tough to return to work after a relaxing weekend off.  Here are three things that have made my Monday tolerable.

1.  Sunny, awesome weather

Texans relish spring weather because it will be the last comfortably warm days we’ll have until, like, November . It’s especially pretty around here, because all the spring flowers are blossoming, which means BLUEBONNETS!

Ok, so I totally just took a stock photo from the internet, but it looks like this.

I went for a walk in the park this weekend, and I passed by at least four or five families taking pictures of their adorable children among the bluebonnets.  It was already a cliche by the time I passed the last family.

The walk in the park was quite lovely, too. I saw snakes swimming in the water, cardinals, ducks, a goose, lizards, and anoles.

2.  Mad Men returns!

I didn’t watch Mad Men last night, so was eagerly anticipating it today.  It’s okay so far.  I think 2 hours may be a little long for a premiere, and some of the more interesting characters haven’t appeared yet (i.e. WHERE IS BETTY DRAPER?)  But the makeup and fashion is still a treat.  For instance, we must talk about Megan’s hair:

Want her hair, WANT WANT WANT. Hi Don.

Like, if I haven’t been trying so desperately hard to grow my hair for the past year, I would totally want this hairstyle.  Except while it makes her look sophisticated, it will probably make me look like a prepubescent girl.  I’m glad her hair is so awesome, because now I won’t miss having blonde hair whenever Betty Draper comes on screen (WHERE IS SHE?)

3.  Sweet Leaf Iced Tea

I’ve been living in my beloved city for four (!) years now, and one of the cliches I’ve picked up is loving the shit out of Sweet Leaf Iced Tea.  I first tried it at ACL back in 2008, and I remember I wasn’t too impressed with it.  I tried it again last year and thought, “Okay, this is not too bad.” And then like many things I’m initially lukewarm about, I started liking it.  And by liking it, I mean ADDICTION.

SERIOUSLY, I COULD DRINK LIKE 10 OF THESE A DAY IF I DIDN'T HAVE SUCH SELF-CONTROL

My fridge is well stocked with Sweet Teas.  The other flavors are decent but none holds my heart like the Mint and Honey.  If you have the chance, TRY IT.

DO IT.

Okay, I guess I’ll watch the end of this season premiere.  SERIOUSLY, BETTY, THIS SHOW COULD USE SOME OF YOUR AWESOME BITCHINESS RIGHT NOW.

I Met Michael Ian Black!

And he is totally not a dick.  In fact, he’s super nice.

I thought that everyone born after 1980 knows who Michael Ian Black is, but my friend Andres proved me wrong today (“Who?”) In case you’re one of the three people who don’t know who Michael Ian Black is, he’s a really acerbic, funny comedian/actor who’s been in stuff like Wet Hot American Summer, VH1’s I Love the… series, and only the best commercials ever:

That flat note makes me laugh as hard as it did when I first saw it twelve years ago.  People cooler than myself may have first become fans of his after The State or Stella, but I’ve been a fan since his pets.com days.  Yeah. I said it.

Anyway, he wrote a book called You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations and was at my local bookstore tonight promoting the book. I debated about whether or not I should go; while I did want to meet him, I didn’t want to miss a workout at my core class. Then I figured that I would regret not going, and that I could get away with not working out (especially since my shoulder decided to be a little bitch over the weekend and was all, “Oh hey, you thought you were getting better? Haha, NO.”)

I then tried to get people to go with me, but all the people I wanted to go with either had to work, had other obligations, were in different cities, or all of the above.  I texted Tap that he should leave work early to make the trip.  Tap responded that he had class and couldn’t go.  “In the course of a lifetime, WHICH WILL BE THE MORE MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE?” I texted back.  “Will you even REMEMBER THIS CLASS? Yeah, that’s what I thought.”  Tap texted a long, fancy reply back that basically said, “Oh God, please stop talking.”

And so I was all by myself, but I wasn’t too upset with the prospect. I used to go to events by myself all the time back when I had no friends, i.e. all throughout college, grad school, and the first year and a half I lived in this city.  And it seemed like good fortune was on my side; I got downtown in less than 45 minutes (which is unheard of during rush hour), the weather was gorgeous, and I had a tasty sandwich to munch on as I walked to the bookstore.  After purchasing a copy, I was fortunate enough to snag a seat in the front row.

As I waited, I thought about how excited I was about meeting Michael Ian Black, but also really worried that he would retain his acerbic stage persona while meeting people.  Please, don’t let him be a dick, I thought as I skimmed through the memoir (which is both hilarious and honest).

Before the sessions began, an employee explained how the signing would work and said that someone would take pictures for us.  I raised my hand.  “How soon will we receive the pictures?” She looked confused, and then she and other audience members kindly said, “…if you brought a camera or phone, that’s how the pictures will be taken.”  Duh.  So much shame.

After the initial introductions, Michael Ian Black came out to talk to us.  He was very funny and self-effacing, as well as completely honest and down-to-earth, which I liked.  When someone asked him if he loved his children from the moment they were born, he referred the person to Chapter 10 of his book, “I Hate My Baby” (sample sentence – “I get up to comfort my stupid baby.”)   He also referred to marriage as hard work, that it isn’t “two peas in a pod” who just “hug all the time.” Instead, he likened marriage as two jigsaw pieces trying to fit over the course of a lifetime. I like that analogy.

I took a couple of pictures when the Q&A first started, but felt rude and ceased.  I’m trying not to be the 21st Century Millennial who has to document everything because of the “pics or it didn’t happen” phenomena.  So here’s one extremely blurry shot.

My cell phone is so awesome, y'all.

I wanted to ask a question during the session, but the only ones I could think of either had to do with his VH1 series or his pets.com commercials, and I didn’t want to be that person because I’m sure he gets those questions all the time. I’m glad I didn’t ask him about his VH1 series, because no one else did either.

Afterward, we all lined up.  Since I had been seated in the front and had the wristbands for the first group, I was about the tenth person in line to meet him.  As I watched him interact with other fans, my fear of his being a dick faded.  He was really genuine and kind with the fans.

Then it was my turn.  I don’t know if you all read my post from meeting the Oatmeal Guy from last year, but I get really awkward and nervous around anyone resembling a celebrity.    And since I had been a fan of Michael Ian Black’s for years, I was even more nervous.

I just want to say right now – I’m not playing up my awkwardness or shyness for this blog.  Ask any one of the people closest to me in my life, and they will tell you that I am introverted.  The most common personality critiques I hear from them are, “When I first met you, you really didn’t talk. At all,” and, “I wish you would let other people see your personality the way you let us see it.”

So when I tell you I was awkward and nervous about meeting Michael Ian Black, you can rest assured that I really was.

When I went up to him, I shook his hand, which is not something I saw anyone else really do.  It just felt natural to me though. I don’t quite remember my word vomit, because it was like a disembodied voice saying things I had wanted to say, but in a much more stilted and embarrassing format. I remember rambling about how my boyfriend wanted to be there but had to work.  Michael Ian Black was really cool about how nervous I was, though, asking me questions about my boyfriend’s work.  He kept our conversation going, even when all I could do was stand there out of shyness while silently thinking, “OH GOD WHAT AM I SAYING? WHY CAN’T I BE NORMAL FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE? GOD. PLEASE DON’T THINK I’M STUPID, MICHAEL IAN BLACK.”

I had two copies of his book to sign. I had been really nervous about asking him to sign two copies, but he said, “Oh no, it’s not a problem,” and graciously signed both.

Then I felt comfortable enough to say – “I’ve been a big fan of yours since your pets.com commercials.”  He had a big, almost embarrassed smile, and said, “Thank you very much.”  I thanked him for his time and left.

We're totally BFFs if he said so, yes?

Here’s a picture of us.  This is a rather horrid picture of me, because I was so nervous and basically forgot normal human functions, like smiling properly.

So in a nutshell – Michael Ian Black is really awesome, gracious, and is totally not a dick.

Everyone, Please Shut Up About Snooki’s Supposed Pregnancy

The only dialogue that should be resulting from this “news” is how birth control is not 100% effective, and that people who are too stupid to procreate should REALLY consider using a back-up method.

Damn, I feel sorry for that kid.

Heinous Atrocities Committed in the Sake of “Music” – Sampling

Before I start my written assault on terrible music, please note that I don’t think all usages of sampling are heinous.  I can think of plenty of songs that do an excellent job of incorporating samples – Kanye West, in particular, is very good at creating fresh songs with samples.

Of course, there are songs that completely disrespect the original work by sampling it.  Here are two examples of songs that should have been sent to Siberia for three hundred years.

1.  “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap/”Whatcha Say?” by Jason Derulo

I first heard “Hide and Seek” by watching the “Dear Sister” skit on SNL.

When I first watched this, I’ll be honest – I had no idea that it was spoofing a season finale of the O.C. and instead thought, “Wow, Andy Samberg must have smoked some good weed while writing this.”

Intrigued by the haunting refrain, I decided to look up the song used in both the season finale and SNL’s spoof.

Once you get past the a capella/Vocoder weirdness, it’s a pretty devastating, emotional song. This means it’s a prime song for a hip-hop artist to shit on.

I was blissfully unaware of Jason Derulo’s existence until about two months ago, but ever since then, he’s been inescapable.  My friend Andres sent me a link of one of his videos yesterday, which samples “Hide and Seek.”  There’s a reason why my friend would be so cruel – every couple of weeks, we’ll text each other “MMMM WHATCHA SAYYYYYY” because this song is such an earworm.  (I’ll probably have this song in my head for two days after completing this post).

But I didn’t know any of this at the time, and innocently clicked on the link.

I did not mince words with my friend.  “What the fuck is this?” I responded after hearing the first ten seconds.  My initial thoughts – WHY?  The original was so pristine, and then Jason Derulo assaults it by Autotuning the shit out of it.  And I know the original had vocal effects too, but it had INTEGRITY. And BEAUTY. Jason Derulo’s version is like splashing some orange paint on a canvas and calling it art.

Second, why the fuck does Jason Derulo have to announce his name at the beginning or end of every goddamn song he does?  We know it’s your song, asshole. What if we had the habit of announcing our name every time we do something? Like if I walked in my weekly meetings and announced my presence by saying, “JeNnIfEr NiCoLe!” (The Myspace typing is supposed to represent Autotune. No?) Or if I signed all my blog posts by writing, “JeNnY!!!111!!11”

Ugh.  This song.  It will probably be a Billboard hit, which makes me SAD FOR AMERICA.

2.  “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin/”Come Away With Me” by Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Seriously, what is he calling himself now?

I don’t have to extol the virtues of Led Zeppelin in this post.  Even if you aren’t a fan, you have to respect the sheer musical genius of this quartet – Robert Plant’s ethereal vocals, Jimmy Page’s virtuoso guitar playing, John Paul Jones’ splintering bass and songwriting skill, and John Bonham’s status as a god to all contemporary rock drummers.

I love many Zeppelin songs, but one of my favorites is “Kashmir.”

It brings me back to being seventeen again, when I would listen to this song, get contemplative, and wonder where my life was going.  It is an exquisite song.

Again, I was blissfully unaware of the musical atrocity known as “Come With Me” until last year.  I was in a car with my friend Shark.  The main basis of our friendship is mocking each other’s taste in music – he cannot comprehend why anyone under the age of 40 would willingly listen to “old” music, while I have a hard time understanding why someone with perfect hearing would subject themselves to Owl City.

We were driving back from my friend Tap’s web show premiere in San Antonio.   I was eating Junior Mints. It was warm in the car and I felt safe.  I had no idea of the horrors I was about to experience. Shark said, “Hey, did you hear Diddy’s version of ‘Kashmir?'”

I have so many questions about why this song was on his iPod in the first place, but that is a topic for another post.

I know Shark played this song for me because he enjoys seeing my self-righteous reactions to musical abuse. I don’t think my reaction disappointed him.  In between fits of laughter, I couldn’t stop saying, “WHYYYYY?”  This song is so awful – where do I begin?  The “Uh huh, yeahs” that open the song?  The lyrics that would have been insightful and soulful if written by a third grader?  The only element that makes this song slightly redeemable is P. Diddy’s threatening, “I’M GONNA TAKE YOU WIT ME,” and that’s because I appreciate its inherent comic value.

I think the worst atrocity is Jimmy Page gave full permission to P. Diddy to sample it.  (You know Robert Plant had no part of that shit).  Again, so many questions, but the main one is still, “WHYYYYY?”  And I direct this mainly to Jimmy Page, who should fucking know better.  Maybe this was his way of appearing hip to the young’uns, but he of all people should know that there will always be a new generation of teenagers acting like they discovered Led Zeppelin first.

These two songs are the most heinous examples I can think of, but stay tuned – I’m sure there will be more.

-JeNnY!!!111!!11

Dear Facebook – NO

There are so many things I’ve started to hate about Facebook.

For instance, how parents feel the need to update when their kid has taken their first number two on the toilet.  Do we need to know this? Do we care? NOOOOOOO.

But I digress.  What’s really annoying me about Facebook is they’ve enabled the “ON THIS DAY” feature.  It’s supposed to bring you down memory lane and let you view your old status updates from 2009 and 2010.

To which I say – DEAR GOD, NO. NO. NO.

Up until about a year ago, I was one of those people who thought everyone cared about what I was doing.  Then I started getting more of a life and realized that I valued my privacy over telling everyone what I was doing every day.  But it was much, much worse in 2009, mainly because I was interested in a couple of guys who had rejected me but were still on my Facebook friends list. Many of my status updates were intended to make me look like I was so busy and had a life, and that they were MISSING OUT.  That, unfortunately, was the complete opposite of the truth.  I didn’t have much of a life in 2009.

For instance, ON THIS DAY in 2009, I wrote the following status update:

“After working hard this week and going out last night, I’m gonna spend a relaxing night in. I deserve it :)”

WHY? WHY DID I THINK PEOPLE GAVE A SHIT ABOUT HOW I WAS GOING TO SPEND A NIGHT IN?

What’s worse is that all these “memory lane” updates are available for anyone on my friend’s list to view at any random time.  If someone wants to see my Summer 2011 photo album, they’re going to be bombarded with useless status updates of years past. I don’t want people knowing all the stupid updates I posted!  For instance, Patrick told me a couple of months ago that he had seen one of my old status updates getting all excited for a Europe trip that we had planned for Winter 2010…one that had never happened.

I don’t want new people I add to my Facebook friends list to judge me for the idiotic updates I used to make. I AM NOT THAT PERSON ANYMORE, FACEBOOK.  STOP FORCING ME DOWN MEMORY LANE. I AM NOT A WILLING PARTICIPANT.

Of course, there isn’t any way to turn this feature off that I know of.  Because Facebook wants us to SHARE every goddamn mundane moment of our lives, including when our kids go pee pee in the toilet.

Damn it, Facebook.

Addressing the Annoying Reactions to Amy Winehouse’s Death

As an addendum to my last post about Amy Winehouse, I wanted to address the more annoying reactions I’ve seen to her death on Facebook and the like.  There are people like my brother and me, who as fans were genuinely saddened by the news.  Then there are the people who use the internet as their medium of being total assholes without any empathy.

1.  She’s just a junkie (insert rude and inappropriate pejorative here)…why are people saddened by this?  I didn’t realize that being an addict made a person a sub-human.  Have any of you making these disparaging comments ever been afflicted with an addiction problem?  I haven’t, which is why I’m not being a judgmental asshole about it.

2.  She should have said yes, yes, yes to rehab/She should have gone to rehab after all/any other play on lyrics to her hit “Rehab” here.  You apparently have all the originality and emotional depth of a fifth grader. PAT ON THE BACK.

3.  BUT WHO CARES IF SHE DIED, THERE’S SO MUCH GOING ON AROUND THE WORLD (::insert various world issues here to prove how well-informed you are::)  I didn’t realize that mourning a talented musician and being aware of world events is mutually exclusive, but according to certain comments I’ve read, apparently it is.  Making these comments just makes you look like a pretentious asshole.  Do you want to talk about the economic crisis in Greece then? Will that make you feel better?  What’s funny is the same people making these comments have no trouble posting other nonsensical items on their Facebook wall any other day.  I should probably reply to all future posts with comments along the lines of, “BUT WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR YOUTUBE VIDEO YOU  JUST POSTED, THE UNITED STATES IS INVOLVED IN THREE CONFLICTS RIGHT NOW.”