How awesome are best friends? They’re like an ice cream cone that tastes like Christmas and causes you to lose weight. THE BEST.
I was lucky enough to meet my best friend as a college freshman. Our friendship began with a snarky remark and blossomed into a love affair woven together by 80s music, funfetti cake and an unhealthy addiction to Diet Coke. For four magical years, we lived within feet of each other - enduring a few too many all nighters, two tough breakups, tons of interpretive dancing and countless bottles of Boone’s Farm wine. On graduation day, we weeped on the steps of our college house wondering how we could ever live apart. Somehow, we’ve managed to survive.
I’ve written several love letters to my BFF, including one for her 21st birthday that is so epic it should be placed in the National Archives along with George and Martha Washington’s love letters. However, I wanted to write a more general love letter to honor best friends everywhere. So without further ado …
Best Friend, I love you.
You have stolen my heart. How could I resist your unwavering affection and complete justification of my every life decision? There is no one else that I would rather spend an entire day in bed with, watching the Golden Girls and eating an entire pan of rice crispy treats. You’re the only person in the world that I would allow to view my complete Internet history and the unedited camera roll on my iPhone.
When I whisper insanely conceited things to you, you agree without hesitation insisting that I’m actually selling myself short. You never judge when I haven’t showered for three days, have ice cream for dinner or purchase a pair of shoes that look exactly like a pair I already own. When I’m making a fool of myself on the dance floor, you don’t cover your face or tell me to stop. You enthusiastically join in, pushing haters out of the way and proclaiming, “that’s my best friend!”
I love the way you say my name when we are reunited, screeching it at the top of your lungs and jumping up and down like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert. I love that you never have to ask what I want to eat, watch or do. You already know because it’s exactly what you want.
When completely necessary, you call me out on my shit but still support me when I choose to ignore your advice. And when I finally realize that you were right along, you say “ice cream or booze” instead of “I told you so.”
You are the prettiest, wittiest, smartest, most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and I would fall to pieces without you.
Nothing beats the thrill of a good high five. The adrenaline. The affirmation. It’s a wondrous thing. And frankly, it’s about time this holiday, a day that spreads awareness about an underutilized and underappreciated form of expression, receives a bit more attention. No longer should we limit this beautiful meeting of hands to athletic events and children. Uncoordinated adults like to high five too.
My love for the high five isn’t always met with enthusiasm. Much like the legendary character Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother (pictured above), I often find myself offering up a high five only to be left with a lonely hand hanging in midair. The most memorable high five moments are when I mistake a wave or hand gesture for an invitation to high five.
My favorite mishap came during my senior year of college. One of my professors had invited his class to do an alternative spring break. Since my pathetic checking account had ruled out a trip to Panama City, I told my professor that he could count on me. Upon hearing the news, my professor threw his hands in the air to indicate his excitement.
In retrospect it was an appropriate gesture. Someone shaking their arms overhead in celebration (think Oprah telling her audience that they’re all receiving free baby elephants). But to my high five thirsty soul, it looked like he was offering a coveted double high five. It had been so long since someone, a professor none the less, had given me such a gift. Before I could stop myself, I was jumping over the front row of desks to meet his gesturing hands. As soon as our hands met, I could tell that I had misread his intentions. My face turned crimson red as he held his hands frozen in midair, his face twisted in bewilderment. As the students behind me began to keel over in laughter, I awkwardly mumbled that I really liked to high five and laid my head on the desk.
My only regret is that I haven’t forced more people into awkward high five situations. But the day is young and this city is full waving strangers, hailing cabs. My hands will be ready. HIGH FIVE!
I recently began a very healthy love affair with my gym. I feel amazing about myself after spending time with him and he always lets me pick the music we listen to - which happen to be my two basic requirements for a relationship. But my favorite part about the gym is that it provides me with socially acceptable “me-time.” Call me possessive, but I like myself and sometimes I just want myself to myself.
Over the years I’ve found that many people think it’s odd to go to dinner or the movies by yourself. However, it is perfectly acceptable to go to the gym all by your lonesome. In fact, you can do it every single day and no one thinks you’re a loser for doing so! That’s why the gym has become my favorite spot to enjoy a daily dose of “me-time.” It’s where I meditate and contemplate important things like the meaning behind Beyonce’s lyrics and whether or not I should get ombre highlights. Most of my gym comrades seem to be in a similar state of mind. We work out side by side, but our minds are in separate private worlds. However, every now and then a person makes themselves so unignorable that it throws me out of my mental haven, ruining my “me-time” bliss. Below is my list of gym zen ruiners.
That woman who wears a full face of makeup and perfume to the gym. The makeup I can get over. Other than giving me something to chuckle about when her face goes all streaky, a woman wearing makeup at the gym doesn’t affect me. Perfume on the other hand, can ruin my entire gym experience. On several occasions I have had to move to another area of the gym when a pungent blend of vanilla bean and body odor has suddenly assaulted my nostrils. Trust me ladies, plain ole B.O. is fragrant bliss when compared to CK One + B.O. I don’t care if you didn’t have a clean sports bra to wear. Spritzing it with body splash is only going to worsen that stench. It’s the gym. Everyone sweats. Sweat smells. Get over it.
The aggressive elliptical runner or cyclist. These people usually begin their workout in a very normal or unassuming manner. Then out of the blue they lean over, grit their teeth and start rhythmically jerking their shoulders back and forth. Now maybe I am alone in this habit, but when I see someone doing that I literally cannot stop myself from mimicking their movement. It’s completely involuntary and subconscious. Most of the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it until I feel their death stare.
On a related note, I also can’t stop myself from flipping my head left to right when Willow’s “Whip My Hair” comes on my gym playlist. That also secures me a dirty look or two. Somewhere a blogger is writing a post about a weird girl at the gym who inexplicably whips her sweaty hair around. Ew. I should probably take Willow off the playlist. (But I won’t. Willow Smith is an 11-year-old musical genius and she speaks to me.)
Your trainer when you’re not scheduled to see them. I love my trainer … when I’m planning on seeing her. However if I unexpectedly run into her at the gym, I do everything wrong. I suddenly forget how to do a plank or embarrass myself by dropping an 8 lb weight. I have to fight the urge to run up to her with my fitness journal and prove to her how spot on I’ve been since our last meeting. I want to scream, “Go away! You’re ruining everything!” Instead I smile, say hello and fall over while doing a squat.
A really in shape girl prancing from machine to machine without breaking a sweat. I can’t help but stare at these girls. The ones who come to the gym looking like a model and never seem to actually do anything worthy of a sweat. The leave with every hair in place and no wet spots under their arms. Meanwhile I do ten thousand crunches while laying in a pool of my own sweat and I still don’t have abs like theirs. Who or what are you? How are your arms that toned after three pushups? Were you genetically constructed in a lab? Please tell me that the gym is just a parade for you and you go home to do P90X DVDs.
Alright fitness friends, who did I miss? People who treat the gym like a dating service? Loud friends working out together? Let me know in the comments. Commiserating is my favorite.
I adore Valentine’s Day. I don’t care if it’s a holiday invented by Hallmark and candy companies. I love having a special day to dress in shades of pink, make heart shaped cookies and celebrate all the loving people in my life. What I don’t enjoy about Valentine’s Day are the articles it brings offering advice to the supposedly lonely single women of the world.
My good friend Beatrice sent me this ridiculous example the other day. To her credit, she prefaced it with “this will make you very angry.” She was right. The insulting article, “Single Ladies: Marry A Man This Year” is written by Jane Blair Page, PhD and author of Get Married This Year: 365 Days to “I Do.”
Well I don’t have a PhD, but I have been dating for over 10 years now and I think there’s a bit more behind my single lady status than what Dr. Page outlines in this article. Maybe, just maybe, the men could use some dating advice as well. I know all you fellas have been yearning for an article offering constructive advice on how to find your future bride. Well, today is your lucky day because I have finally filled that gap.
Here’s my list of questions and tips for men compared to Dr. Page’s published list for women. I’m sure all of my ladies can relate to a few of these. And fellas, I really don’t mean to insult you … well maybe just a little. I’m tired of women being the only sex that’s insulted on these matters. Enjoy!
Dr. Page Asks Women: Are you already married to your parents, children, or job? If so, your life needs balancing because you are not currently available for the relationship you claim you want. You are the only person in the world who can fix this. Consider it a gift to yourself.
Miss Bennet Asks Men: Are you already married to your X-Box, PlayStation or a fantasy league of some sort? Look I’m all for a good hobby, but when you neglect to call me because you’ve been playing Call of Duty with a 13-year-old child from Idaho for the past five hours, I’m going to go ahead and get justifiably offended. So put down the control, stop checking your fantasy team stats, and invest a little time into a woman who deserves it. Consider it a gift to yourself and your diminishing attention span.
Dr. Page Asks Women: Do you make potential dates jump high hurdles to get a piece of your time? Consider the message you’re sending. A healthy, eligible male doesn’t want to get married to be ignored.
Miss Bennet Asks Men: Do you get upset when women don’t conform to your lifestyle? Does it make you nervous when your girl has interests or responsibilities that don’t involve you? Do you demand that she miss book club to hang out with you, but want her to respect boys night? Consider the message you’re sending (crazy, controlling, borderline abusive). Just saying.
Dr. Page Asks Women: Do you put little effort into your appearance because you say you want men who are attracted to the real you? The ugly truth is that appearances matter. Most of my clients and students aren’t seeking “gorgeous” but they do want someone who is presentable, tries to be attractive, and smells good, versus sloppy, slouchy, and less than squeaky clean.
Miss Bennet Asks Men: Do you put any effort into your appearance? Lucky for you, you’re a man and women are less superficial than you are. However, you still have to maintain a certain level of personal hygiene to attract a desirable single woman. So while she’s spending beaucoup bucks getting manicures and painful hair removal procedures, roll on over to the CVS and get yourself some Old Spice body wash. Maybe dab on some deodorant and run a comb through your hair. Perhaps it’s time to pack away those fraternity T-shirts and invest in a few button downs. And maybe give those button downs a good wash or dry cleaning after wearing them. Like right now. You sweat more than we do, and your bodies omit odors we just can’t handle.
Dr. Page Asks Women: Does your recovery from a relationship take more time than the relationship lasted? Your coping skills need an upgrade. You are spending more time out of a relationship than in one. You are being an analyzer/observer, not a participant in love. Unless you’re a therapist and getting paid, this is not the best use of your time or energy.
Miss Bennet Asks Men: Do you not see the need to end one relationship before beginning another? Look, I’m not saying you have to mourn for a defined period of time - but maybe you should wait until that ring is off your finger before buying me a drink.
Dr. Page Tells Women: Be prepared for rejection - it happens. Get really good at handling it. Move on and find the person who does want to be with you. When the abandonment waves have passed, you sometimes realize that being left was your lucky break.
Miss Bennet Tells Men: Recognize rejection. It’s true, sometimes a girl may reject you. I know you think we’re all dying for a boyfriend, but contrary to what Dr. Page’s article suggests, we have standards too.
Dr. Page Tells Women: Stand up straight. You’ll appear more confident, and you’ll feel more confident - which will make flirting much easier. I promise.
Miss Bennet Tells Men: Speak in complete sentences. I don’t know how many times a guy has nodded his head at me and mumbled the words “dance?” or “drink?” I’m sorry, are we playing some sort of word association game? Is that your pick-up strategy?
Dr. Page Tells Women: Be playful. You don’t need to act like a child or be dopey, but this is the one game you should play when dating, Seeming fun is the fast road to seeming attractive.
Miss Bennet Tells Men: Know when it’s time to be serious. I’m all for having fun, but could we have one conversation that doesn’t include a Judd Apatow movie quote or end in “you want to makeout now?”
Dr. Page Tells Women: Don’t talk about your ex. Hearing about the ex is boring and also communicates that you’re still carrying baggage. And your date will assume, quite correctly, that where you’re going to dump that baggage is on him.
Miss Bennet Tells Men: Don’t talk about other girls you are currently seeing. Seriously. I’m not a moron. If this is a first date, there’s a good chance I’m not the only lady you’ve got on the books. I really don’t care (because my date book is filled too - hey oh). However, when you say things like, “last night I was at this really nice restaurant with - ahh, ohh, umm this girl, this friend.” [Note - this was actually said to me.] I don’t care that you went out with another girl last night. However, I do care that you took her to a “really nice restaurant” and all I got was Applebees.
Dr. Page Tells Women: Don’t expect everything to show up right away. Some great potential mates simply don’t show warmth, sense of humor, or the best side of themselves until you’ve gone out - and then gone out again, and maybe again. This is especially true if they work in a “serious” profession where they carry a lot of responsibility. If it’s really horrible, don’t go out again. But if a date is pleasant or just OK? Give him another try and give yourself an opportunity.
Miss Bennet Tells Men: This one goes for the guys too! Not all of our amazing qualities make a first date appearance. You’ve seen all the demands Dr. Page places on us. We can’t put effort into our appearance, stand up straight, be playful and put our best foot forward 24/7. Give us a break!
Dr. Page Tells Women: Flirting is mandatory and it’s a skill that absolutely anyone can learn. It is comprised of these basic rules of social interaction: smiling, and making eye contact. If you don’t hold eye contact for at least four seconds he will interpret it as rejection not come hither. After you break eye contact, look back again and smile. If you look approachable and he is mobile and wants to meet you, he will.
Miss Bennet Tells Men: Flirting does not equal DTF. For respectable readers of this blog who do not watch Jersey Shore, DTF stands for Down To F … you know what it means. My parents read this blog. I’m not going to write it out. I know down at Seaside Heights, smiling and eye contact usually means the girl has zero self respect and wants to “enjoy” five minutes “getting it in” in a twin sized bed at the Jersey Shore house. However, you sir are not the star of an MTV reality show and I actually like myself. The only thing I’m trying to say with my awkward giggles is please ask for my number so we can get dinner sometime. Thank you.
Alright gentlemen, there you have it. Sound, honest advice on how to land a bride. You’re welcome. Take THAT Dr. Page!
Please tell me you’ve read this amazing article in Business Insider? It’s properly titled “Stop What You’re Doing, And Go See What Google Thinks It Knows About You.” And seriously, you need to listen to Mr. Jay Yarow and see what Google “knows” about you RIGHT NOW.
Google’s profile of me is eerily spot on. It correctly presumes I’m a 25-34 female who enjoys Arts & Entertainment, Computers & Electronics, Multimedia Software, Desktop Publishing, Fonts, Crafts, News, Politics, Social Networks and Shopping.
If Google were a man, I’d put a ring on it. He’d take me to Kennedy Center shows, talk to me about current events and would notice things like the font I use to type my emails to him. He’d also be the best Valentine ever. He’d get me the most perfect gift without ever saying, “just tell me what you want.” That’s because Mr. Google doesn’t have to ask. He knows what I want. He listens to me when I talk (read: type).
I think I’m in love.
If we’re friends, you know that all I do is pin, pin, pin no matter what. Gots pinning on my mind and I’ll never give it up! (And if we’re best friends, you’ve probably heard me sing that song as I open Pinterest.) So it should come as no surprise that I was recently shuffling through an old box of keepsakes to craft up one of these bad boys. While sorting through embarrassing ticket stubs (New Kids on The Block, NSYNC, TRL Tour … ), I found the most amazing letter from my little sister Gina.
Now at first glance this note is heartbreaking, but I love it. I love it because it brings me back to growing up in the DiNarda house. It reminds me of petty sibling arguments and the certainty that no matter how big or important the feud seemed, at the end of the day you would do anything for one another. That kind of affection is hard to find as an adult.
There is nothing in this world that compares to the love I feel for my siblings. Often I’m amazed by the wonderful friendships I have made over the years. However, it’s easy to take for granted the friendships you were born into.
I can’t wait to go home for Christmas and hug my brother and sister. Gina will call me squeezy toy, Anthony will mumble that he loves me, and it will be absolutely perfect.
Several of my friends and I possess a deep affinity for colonialism and 18th century America. We argue over our favorite founding fathers and enjoy throwing some good ole colonial vocabulary into our everyday conversations (though it’s not always historically accurate). We don’t drink beer, we enjoy a hearty stein of mead. We “pen” emails to each other with quills. Two of my friends actually answer to Dolly and Abigail … as in Dolly Madison and Abigail Adams. So it’s no surprise that when a friend suggested a Saturday trip to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, I threw on my finest petticoat and jumped in the car.
Even if peering into a mirror that once reflected Tommy J’s fine face doesn’t send you into a fan girl shriek (as it did my friends and I), you can’t deny that Monticello is one of the most beautiful places to enjoy a fall day.
Below are some photos from my visit to Mr. Jefferson’s home (for the record, he’s my favorite founding father):