Announcement: I am not a tween.

Today I tried to listen to 5 Seconds of Summer. (5SOS, as the kids call them. I know this now! Hashtag relevant!)

…Why?

Because I like to punish myself musically with deliciously bad pop music from time to time? Perhaps.

Because I heard something last week about how this band might be bigger than One Direction, but I had no idea who they are, and this made me feel old and out of touch? More likely.

I say “I tried to” because I didn’t make it past the first song on their Spotify. But that 3:58 of nouveau boybandery did fill me with both nostalgia for my teenage self and definitive satisfaction in my current state of adulthood.

First of all: The album cover. Those jeans are so tight, they make my lower half go numb just looking at them. (In MY day, boy bands’ pants were so baggy you could store provisions in them for the long winter.)

5SOS_album_cover

“We can’t feel our feet, ladies.”

nsync-matching-overalls

“Hey, girl. I got room for you in my pants. I mean, not like that. but. you know. whatever.”

Second of all: The name. Think about it…five seconds. Leave it to teenagers to glorify such a short span of time. You have your whole life ahead of you; you have no idea what it feels like to have a Tuesday in June feel just like a Tuesday in February—in terms of routine, if not weather. (Entirely possible the name has some significance that I’m not grasping, but I don’t care to spend the 5 Seconds of My Life it would take to google it and find out.)

Third of all: The song. (Oh yeah! The music; that’s something.) The top single on Spotify today was “Amnesia” (see above.) And I’m pretty sure IT COULDN’T BE MORE MILLENNIAL IF IT TRIED. Observe:

The pictures that you sent me, they’re still living in my phone.
I’ll admit I like to see them, I’ll admit I feel alone.

OH THE FEELINGS! And OH the…unrelatable technological situations responsible for those feelings. I had a cellphone in high school, but the closest it got me to emotional anguish was bumping into my own tail during particularly tense rounds of Snake.

It’s not an original thought, I recognize, but I’m still ever so grateful that social media and smartphones didn’t exist in my formative years. Girls can be mean. Boys are confusing. Online life makes those realities all the more immediate and unrestricted.

Kids these days, is what I’m saying. Please pass me the clicker and an electric blanket. It’s almost time for “Murder She Wrote,” and I don’t like to miss my stories.

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For the Rest of Us

Hung out with an old friend for the first time in a while. One of those people whom I only see a handful of times a year (shameful, as we live in the same city for crying out loud), but still, no matter how long it’s been, when we finally get together we inevitably end up giggling like middle school girls at a sleepover.

Tonight, he introduced me to the magical land of Tinder—the “swipe left” / “swipe right” dating app phenomenon that has led to millions of hookups and, who knows, maybe a couple of actual meaningful relationships?

(For the record: I didn’t join.)

I’ve never been ballsy enough to try online dating. No matter how desperate I may have felt between boyfriends, I just couldn’t make myself follow through with signing up. Besides, it seems to me that online dating works for people who either want to get married tomorrow or get laid, like yesterday.  And I’m hovering somewhere in between.

Got me wondering: Why isn’t there a dating site for the rest of us?

Instead of doing what dating sites normally do, allowing you to put your best face forward, The Dating Site For The Rest Of Us would cut through the bullshit and get down to brass tacks.

(I’m 31 over here. Momma doesn’t have time to waste.)

No more well-lit selfies or slimming side-view photographs. On TDSFTROS, your profile picture is an honest “I woke up like this” mug shot. Bed hair, makeup smudges and all. Because, if everything goes according to plan, that’s the version of you they’ll be seeing anyway.

We forego all the niceties like, “My favorite film is Casablanca” or “I consider myself outdoorsy,” and instead tell the cold, hard truth. Like “My favorite movie is actually Stick It” or “I’m outdoorsy…by which I mean I don’t wear deodorant or own a car.”

(Wouldn’t that be helpful? You hang out in the dating world for the better part of a decade, and it’s time to get real.)

Your personality profile includes all the shit you keep carefully concealed in the early stages of courtship. Such as:

I’m afraid of commitment.

I’m reaaaaaally into cats.

Whoops! I’m gay!

I enjoy The Big Bang Theory.

But it also contains all the good stuff that you keep hidden at first. All those idiosyncrasies that truly endear you to someone when the timing is right.

Your shameful binge-watching habits.

Your shared secret prejudices.

Your favorite 2:00 a.m. snacks.

The jig is up. We all have our faults. Wouldn’t it be nice to finally own up to them, and find a special someone who can actually handle them, rather than pretending to be normal for months, only to have it all unravel once the truth comes out?

Once upon a time, I was an idealist. I have watched a lot of Meg Ryan movies. And in spite of personal evidence to the contrary, I still love the idea of love.

Meg Ryan You've Got Mail

“What will NY152 say today? I wonder.”

But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to get real. The truth hurts, but the truth also helps. (Cheez-its. My 2:00 a.m. snack is Cheez-its.)

Believe in the best-case scenario

Went to see a movie by myself last night, and I mean by myself. Straight up the only person in the theater. Not too surprising for a little-known indie rom-com on a Sunday night in Springfield. This means I could laugh out loud and (cry? who cried?! not me!) and scribble notes on my phone without disturbing a soul. I did catch myself making audible “oh that’s cute”-type sounds, more than once. And I sure did scribble notes. I love that feeling of “oh boy! I feel a blog post coming on!” though I feel it less and less these days…

Longtime readers of the blog know how much I loves me a good romantic comedy (and just how hard they are to come by in a post-Nora-Ephron world. Hell, even bad romantic comedies are hard to come by anymore). This little movie was a total delight. A romantic comedy that is both romantic and funny. Think When Harry Met Sally meets Garden State. Can-men-and-women-just-be-friends? meets twee twenty-somethings and a very of-the-moment soundtrack. Guys. Just sign me up.

It was refreshing to watch a movie in which not a single thing blows up—besides interpersonal drama, of course. Don’t get me wrong: I did very much love Guardians of the Galaxy. But come on, Hollywood. There is a whole world of material outside of comic books and trilogies. This was easily the best rom-com I’ve seen in a long time. Now, I don’t know whether it was actually a good movie or just happened to be what I needed right now. But I don’t think it really matters either way.

Isn’t that at least 50% of a good movie experience? The way in which it meets you in your life, wherever you are right now? It felt funny to watch this movie, now 10 years after I first watched Garden State, noticing how 20-something romance feels a little faint and distant to me. Like looking through a Facebook album from 2007, familiar but a definite glimpse into the past.

Garden State: I can still remember how I felt, sitting in Campbell 16, watching the scene when Natalie Portman and Zach Braff “shout into the abyss” (…GIANT eye roll) and then kiss in the rain (come on!) while Simon & Garfunkel play and Peter Sarsgaard (Hey, remember Peter Sarsgaard?!) looks on. I no doubt described it at the time as “heart explosion,” the pain and pure joy of the very-first moments of being in love.

10 years ago, I was 21 and starting my junior in college. Three years into an on-again, off-again relationship with my high school boyfriend, My First Real Boyfriend, the first boy I ever loved. (Yeesh. Guys. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Feelings that intense at that age…so dangerous.) At the same time, I was in the midst of the very-early stages of another romance, a friend who was an RA with me in my co-ed dorm. We shared an enthusiasm for dorky residence hall shenanigans, The Office (British version—Jim & Pam didn’t exist yet), and the Garden State soundtrack. It wouldn’t be long until he became My Second Real Boyfriend.

Those two relationship timelines collided in ways of which I am not proud, 10 years later. But that’s life and that’s love and that’s being YOUNG. Every romantic comedy has its equal share of tragedy, right?

What If

When Harry (Potter) Met This Girl

So back to What If. Take in this little exchange, won’t you:

Wallace: In fairy tales, love inspires you to noble and courageous. But in real life, love is just an all-purpose excuse for selfish behavior.
Chantry: I don’t know if you are actually cynical or just a super-crazy romantic cheese ball.

And that, my friends, is exactly what I am. Always on the verge of an eye-roll and waiting for the shoe to drop, but with a crunchy romantic center ever-present beneath my cynical candy shell.

After the mistakes I’ve made, and the mistakes that have been made to me, it takes all my willpower not to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction from any potential happiness. Because I’ve seen the flip side of that coin. And I think it gets harder every time when things don’t go well. Because I’ve also gotten better every time; I’ve better figured out how to love and be loved. And how not to.

After a full decade of good beginnings and eventual breakups, you start to wonder whether it’s worth it to even think about trying again.

But in spite of myself, a movie like this can still make me want to, as a character says to our young hero at one point in his just-friendship with the girl he looooves, believe in the best-case scenario.

That’s why we keep watching movies like this, after all. In spite of so much evidence to the contrary (lookin’ at you, Katherine Heigl), every once in a while, one turns out to be just exactly what you need.