Monday, December 28, 2015

The Talk

I was 5 years old when I walked in on my aunt and uncle having sex in the basement of the family home. I thought they were playing barn yard animals, so I hopped on his back while he rode my aunt and yelled "go horsey". I am sure their mortification far surpassed mine once I was old enough to realize that what transpired under the covers was not meant for anyone but the two of them. I also thought, what the fuck, make sure the door is fully closed and possibly locked you sick fucks. This was the same aunt that told me that I needed to keep my neck and ears clean in case some boy might want to nibble on them when I was older.
My mother, a large uber catholic that married the one man that got in to her pants, producing a son 8 months after the wedding, hammered in to my head that sex is dirty, and only for marriage. And porn, porn is the devil's magic and "your father is disgusting for having those videos".  When she caught me with my hands down my pants she made me confess that same day to the priest because only dirty kids that might turn in to homosexuals play with themselves. I would like to insert here that these are not my beliefs at all. I would also like to further point out the fact that my mother is not a bad person, but she is small town girl with a small town mind, she grows in thought and soul every day.

So maybe my view of sex was a little fucked when  puberty hit. There was not much that I did know, and the knowledge collected to that point went from clean ears for the off chance that some random guy kissed my head, to not being a dirty sex girl that enjoyed dirty sex. At the age of 13 I asked questions like "what's a blow job" and "what are woodies". R-rated movies helped my imagination, but it mostly left me with the idea that slow jazz should be playing while I non-awkwardly tumbled on top of a fire truck or in the back of a vintage car on the Titanic. In my mid 20's an ex would further hinder my sexual journey by being disgusted with masturbation and vibrators. I thought I was disgusting, that there was something wrong with me.

So when I was asked by a close family member to give their preteen kid "the talk", I was flattered but scared. Although the kid was older than I was when I decided to join in on the "rodeo", this talk could  be the very first introduction to sex this kid will have. Would I be graphic and scientific? What if I said something that made them feel disgusting? Should I be gender neutral so that they are comfortable exploring their sexuality? My mind was everywhere!

When the time came to execute my speech, I made sure to do so in a car, on a freeway, so the kid had nowhere to go, with no choice but to listen. I gave him/her the following information -

1. Maturity is required when deciding to partake in sexual activities, but it doesn't always happen.
2. You should be respect the partner you are about to be sexual with, and they should respect you as well. Love is an emotion that can be fleeting, but respect, respect holds steady leading to love and friendship.
4. Sex should be fun. This was important for me to convey, given my history (I will save that story for another post). It should not be forced, it should not be a chore, or a tool. The idea of sex with a person you respect and care for should give you the feeling of euphoria, not dread.
5. No one should touch you in an unwanted manner, nor should they force you to touch them.
6. Herpes and AIDS are forever.
7. I will always be there for you. You don't have to tell everything, and I won't ask questions if you don't want me to, but I will always be there for you, without judgement.

The conversation was awkward and we were both happy when the last statement was made. And when this kid starts high school, or when they start dating, I am sure I will have the conversation again, because I don't want them to think they are alone, that they are disgusting, or dirty. And maybe they won't need to talk to me again. Maybe they will have others to turn to who will provide insight and life experiences without the awkwardness that we once had during our talk. But I can only hope that they love and embrace who they are and who they will be.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Mexicans in Germany! - The Honeymoon Part I

It should be known, if it has not been established, that I am in the midst of planning a honeymoon, and the wedding prior to the honeymoon. My goal is to marry the best guy ever. That part is almost to completion. My second goal, is to introduce said best guy to my favorite country outside of Continental America. If this is your first time reading one of my posts, you will have to ask yourself "what country could that be?" Otherwise, from my multiple odes to Alemania, you may already know. The third goal is to have the reader join us on the honeymoon, in a literary manner, not physically. The cynic in me is tamed by contributing to my blog and allowing you to follow my neurotic road to travel bliss, dare I say, it brings me joy. So here it is, the words, the process, the mind behind the decisions we will make on our honeymoon travels.

It is a given that we should spend time in Germany as a post celebration to our union. The honeymoon was booked before the  wedding date was settled. If it was not clear before, I love my travel. I am serious about my travel. Don't fuck with my travel. This had been the dream I would whisper to my love even before we vocally said "this is it, you are the one". I wanted to introduce him to the beauty of Berlin. I wanted him to drink the beer. I wanted a beautiful excuse to return to Germany for the 4th time...this was definitely it... Since we were so close, and because we love our beer, it was only logical that we decided to include a trip to  Belgium...drinking a beer in an Abbey while quoting Colin Farrell is on everyone's bucket list...right?

But the trip can't only be about beer... Well it  can, but I am older than I was the first time I was in Europe and drunkenly kicked a tour bus' glass door in before hauling ass down some alley with a fake sword in tow. Recreating the scene for my love would be awesome. Getting arrested would not. The debauchery that once flooded my excursions can only be allowed to trickle. I can't be continuously drunk, I can't bounce back from an all night drink and dance fest in order to wake and tour the cities. It just does not work like that anymore.

I am unsure of how we will handle the need to be young at a time when we are slowly feeling our age in a country that is woven with interlacing strands of  history and present future. Will we acclimate to a the time  change or sleep though a game of Eisbaren Berlin Hockey? I suppose I will leave that for a later post.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Travel Tuesday - Earl Gray, Germany in Seattle, and a Funeral Home

Travel is not travel without a stop at the local watering holes. An affinity for excellent wine, beer, spirits is more than just a need, a yearn to intoxicate the senses. It's like getting lost on a beaten path of a city, taking the stroll down the avenue natives so often traverse. Sitting at the local tavern allows the traveler, me, to truly appreciate what the current surroundings offer, be it a person, a drink, an atmosphere...It's the moment in which you are able to observe the natural state of some, the uninhibited moments.

In short, I make it a point to visit as many cool drinking establishments in any city I travel, as much as possible. It's not that I am a lush, but yeah, I am a lush. My quest for the coolest of the cools are measured by the following criteria:


Proximity is exactly as it is written, the distance from "home base" to the location of the drinking establishment. Proximity is not necessarily essential, but it's convenience can greatly boost the rooting on the PDA scale. Distillation is the ensuing product(s) available to me, the consumer, and the variations available. A previous post on the subject of bars and books would have rated many of the bars with a low Distillation number given the small choices in liquor and brew, therefore, their atmosphere rating was needed to keep them in the running am these two up can ruin the remaining drinking experience. Ultimately, all three categories would reach an absolute 10 for the perfect bar experience. In my recent travel to Seattle, short as it was, I was able to visit 4 bars that embodied the experience of the PDA. This week's Travel Tuesday will break down the PDA of the best bars in Seattle.

Bar: The Pine Box
P: 10
D: 10
A: 10

Our hotel, The Paramount, was located smack in the middle of downtown Seattle; walking distance to Pike Market AND the space needle. It was perfect! But its perfection was only met once we realized how close we were to the Pine Box. It is important to note that my visit to Pine Box was on a night of much drinking. However, a seasoned drinker and Seattle local who hates drinking at bars but loves to discover new beers introduced my traveling troupe to the amazing Pine Box. Previously a funeral home, the bar retains the original wood craft, recycling the pews for seating at side booths. This is a place where the beer snobs take solace in the selection, while maintaining a full bar for those rum and coke lovers. This is also the location where our palettes were introduced to a sour that we (the fiancee and I) can finally appreciate. Rodenbach. If you have not tried Rodenbach, and you previously hated sours, this is the one you need to drink. The servers were helpful, and the food was delicious (albeit drunkenly devoured). The quick cab ride back to the hotel was a mere 10 dollars.

Bar: Rhein Haus
P: 8
D: 10+
A: 7

In fairness, I will preface with the following disclaimer: I FUCKING LOVE GERMANY AND GERMAN TAVERNS...which is why it is hard for me not to give this bar an all around 10. The beer selection was beyond any amazing German beer listing I had ever seen. The actual structure of the bar replicated a traditional beer hall AND included a  bocce ball court in the middle of the bar. All it was missing was sumo wrestling to complete its AXIS Powers ambiance (historian joke...). It was almost perfect...

Located in Capitol Hill, not so far from the Paramount Hotel, but most certainly not within walking distance, the place was ideal for a quick and cheap cab ride. The scene is young, but the beers are in abundance and the location is huge. You can certainly make do with the surrounding ambiance.

Bar: The Diller Room
P: 10
D: 10
A: 9

It would be hard to find anything I didn't like about the Diller Room. I loved it so much I insisted on visiting the place two nights in a row...on a weekend trip! Located on the corner of 1st and University, it is in prime downtown location, literally walking distance from almost every awesome Seattle site, as well as a multitude of restaurants to choose from.

But the best part of the Diller Room are the amazing craft drinks. Have you ever heard of tea infused gin? Bartender by the name of Justin beautifully creates elaborate, tasteful cocktails that at times can be lit on fire. Us non crafty connoisseurs would refer to these as tiki drinks, but they have a names like the Jamaica Barrel or the the Madame Pele (think sparklers a top a daiquiri looking cocktail). They are delicious, they are beautiful, and they are delicious. If you are fortunate enough to have a drink at this place, be sure to order their signature house cocktail "The Earl". It has that tea infused gin I mentioned, whiskey and some other ridiculously yummy spirits all masterfully blended together over ice. Have I said delicious yet?

And lastly, but most certainly has little to no douchebags, as well as some awesome seating options. The staff was great, the music was awesome. I sat there with the love of my life, my only brother, my two sisters, and a family friend as we laughed and reminisced to the sounds of Ian Curtis. I do believe the Diller Room provided the most perfect memory.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco de Que?: A Brief Education of Cinco de Mayo

The small kitchen TV atop the refrigerator sounded a noise similar  to the sounds of  "El Cinco de Mayo, la celebracion de Independencia". My mother's spoon stopped dead in the meat and chile filled pan.
"Que dijieron?" she asked as she walked closer to the TV. The verbal hell that ensued is a lesson neither or nor  my siblings will forget. My mother has prided herself on raising her children as Mexican as possible, while respecting the country she has adopted. While our school mates were leaving out cookies for Santa to retrieve, my mom was making us wrap the tamales that El Santo Claus would devour with a hot cup of atole. The Fourth Of July was met with hot dogs, history, and aguas frescas in our back yard, only to celebrate Mexican Independence Day two months later with enchiladas, sparklers and coca cola. We were raised to know it all, to acknowledge the reasons behind the celebration, el significado, as my mother would say. The significance.

You will have to excuse my crassness when I say, don't wish me a Happy Cinco de Mayo. I am not from Puebla, that is not my either of my two Countries' Independence Day. Too many times I have been asked how I will be celebrating Mexican Independence Day on May 5....Answer: I am not. But I am going to enjoy the history of culture of my family and take the opportunity to advocate the significance of the day. So if you feel compelled to celebrate this day, here are five things you need to know:

1. September 16 is Mexico's Day of Independence...not May 5.

2. 5, Mayo de 1862 is the date of the Battle of Puebla. It commemorates what many considered to be the unlikely victory of the ill prepared Mexican troops over the French army.

3. Although the Holiday is considered popular here in the U.S., Mexico as whole does not celebrate the day. Most of the festivities are in the state of Puebla.

4. If you have to celebrate with a drink, try a Paloma rather than a margarita. The margarita, although delicious and now a predominant staple of the Mexican drink, was popularized in San Diego in the 1940's. Palomas still incorporate the delicious tequila and lime, but are mixed with a grape fruit soda, and an optional salted rim.

5. No tacos! Puebla's location in the heartland of Mexico provided an opportunity for all rich flavors to meet. It is famous for its mole poblanos (a thick rich sauce heavily seasoned) and molotes (corn meal and cheese biscuits filled with sausage, squash flowers, and potatoes). Test out your culinary skills and whip one of these dishes up!

Now stop being an ignorant asshole, read up on your history, and enjoy our culture!

Begrudgingly, Happy Cinco de Mayo but more importantly, VIVA MEXICO!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dear Barbara Walters, This Interview is Disgusting

Dear Ms. Walters,

You have failed us. You have failed women, you have failed victims, you have failed equality of the genders. That is not to say that your own career is not commendable and that your own battle for and equality is to be ignored. Your career commenced as a writer and segment producer, covering stories that were of women's interest. Did you feel belittled? Was it not you that wrote in your own biography that you felt that woman would never be taken seriously? That real or hard news would never be assigned to a woman? You showed them all what it was to be a woman and amazing journalist. How is it then that you have come to this point? Are you desperate for ratings?

If you are confused by my statement, allow me to further explain my fury to you. You are currently scheduled to interview  a known pederast on 20/20 this evening.  You, a renowned journalist who has interviewed obscure dictators, queried politicians, advanced great advocates for human rights, will sit down with Mary Kay Letourneau, and interview her, her husband, and teenage daughters. I ask you, will you be  interviewing Oliver O'Grady as well? Will he be allowed a moment to shine on prime time television as he details his "relationship" with his Parishoner's children? It would only seem fair since you have what seems to be enough esteem for a woman pedophile. And let me make it clear, Mary Kay Letourneau is a pedophile. Her victim was only 13 years old, nay, younger, when she began a sexual relationship that resulted in two pregnancies. 13 years old. Can you remember what you were like at 13? Were you eager to sleep with your middle school teacher of 34 years old? If you had, would it be your fault? Would you have seduced your vulnerable teacher, waited for him to be discharged from prison, then marry him? Or perhaps I should present it to you in a different manner, what if it had been your child, your daughter Jacqueline, that was targeted by her teacher. Would you think "well it must be true love so I think it's ok"? Would you interview them on the eve of their 10 year anniversary knowing she was fucking him at the age 12? I would bet you the answer would be no. You probably would have hosted a series of "talks" on your daytime talk show highlighting the horrors of child molestation and victimization and the forever impact on your family's life.

Did you know that male victims are so confused by what may at times be their first sexual encounter, that the probability reporting their crime is so low that there is barely enough information  to accurately profile female sex offenders? These young men may be even more confused because of how easy it is for them to get aroused. Can you imagine the outrage of someone was to explain to a 12 year old how she must have "wanted it" if she had self lubricated during an assault?! Or how about the fact that there is currently a double standard in the perceptions of male and female offenders? You may be guilty of perpetuating the double standard of being seemingly more sympathetic towards a woman who has repeatedly admitted her crime and is now married to her victim. She even got a Lifetime Movie out of this ordeal!

Mary Kay Letourneau was a 34 year old married woman who began a sexual relationship with the 12 year old Vili Fualaau. She was tried and granted a lenient sentence of six months in jail, and three years of sex offender treatment. She was not obligated to register a s sex offender. Did you know that Frank Rodriguez of Texas, is a registered sex offender since the age of 19 years old. He was convicted of statutory rape of his girlfriend, after being reported by her father. She was 15 at that time, she is now his wife. Still wrong, but can you imagine, the four year difference and he was automatically forced to register as a sex offender. No major corporation will hire him, he cannot attend his children's school functions. Do you think he is worthy of  a 20/20 agenda this evening? Should he and his wife be given the opportunity to highlight their long standing marriage on your show? Even after Mary Kay was handed such a light sentence, and after the birth of her child, she continued to have sexual relations with her victim, once again becoming pregnant. It was only then that it seemed appropriate to force her to register as sex offender. Did you know that Vili hosts DJ Parties called "Hot for Teacher". A slap in the face for any student victimized by a teacher.

Ms. Walters, although I did admire you, I am saddened and disgusted by this interview. It is a mockery and disgrace for anyone who has fallen prey to a sexual assault. Rape, molestation, abuse are all problems that transcend race, gender, and epochs of time. We should never be glorifying or justifying the actions. Your interview of this pedophile is a gross misstep and a slap in the face to all victims. Mary Kay's gender, her past, nor her previous pitiful marriage exempt her from the disgusting actions against her former student. May you look on your conscience and think clearly on the message you are sending by conducting this interview.


A Woman Who Thinks We Should Be Treated Equally, Even When We Commit Crimes

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bars and Books - My Favorite Combination

Molly Sanchez from the Bold Italic recently wrote an article called "The Best Bar & Book Pairings for SF Bookworms and Barflies", two of my favorite pastimes concisely packed in to one amazing listing. I decided to prey on this idea and present to you my version of books and pairings, San Jose, CA edition.

The majority of you that follow my blog are able to comfortable say "yeah, she always has a book in her purse." It's true, my over size bag that routinely bashes itself in to my surroundings ,without impunity, carries the contents of would be writer: a writing notebook (random flashes of creativity scribbled under one cover), a wedding notebook (currently planning a wedding to the best guy ever), a work notebook (I carry work with me, a is a bad habit but great work ethic), at least one book for leisure (sometimes two depending on how much I want to carry), and an assortment of pens. I do this because on the off chance that I have a moment to myself (free of emails and phone calls), I like to partake in what I consider the best hobby ever, reading and writing. Sometimes, I get to do this with alcohol (cue the brass band and fireworks). Here are my recommendations for the best bar and book pairings in my hometown.

Bar: Wine Affairs
Book: The Man in the High Castle or anything by Phillip K. Dick

This picturesque bar on  a lovely avenue known as The Alameda, is settled among the beautiful outskirts the rose garden neighborhood of San Jose. It shares a block with the historic Bank of Italy now inhabited by the hair salon as 5 Color Cowboy (they have a tattooist onsite now as well), resting amid the  rows of streets beautifully lined with tudor style homes, original wood crafted moldings, wrap around porches, and front yards rivaled only by Don and Betty Draper's house in Ossenig. A new Whole Foods sprinkles the perfection in to the neighborhood. It's the perfect setting for the perfect bar. The patrons of this establishment range from young to old, all of them eager to try the vast wines and craft beers served on their rotating taps. The bartenders remember your face and greet you with sincerity. It's perfect. Which is why a dystopian novel is the perfect genre for this type of place. Wine affairs is my favorite bar to read, but sometimes the idyllic surroundings force me to forget a life that is scary, dirty, and sometimes menacing. Mixing it with any of PKD's novels is the perfect combination of living. Wine in one hand, destruction of society in another.

Bar: Blank Club
Book: Breathers: A Zombies Lament by S.G. Browne

Ideally, you would be reading this novel at 9 pm on a Thursday, right before the full "Atomic" crew arrived. Arriving that early would secure your place at a table, hopefully by the stage, lulled by the sounds of  "cities in dust" or "love will tear us apart". In hand would be a cocktail, perhaps a tequila gimlet (fresh lime juice), considering the beer selection is sub par and there is no wine. But the atmosphere is perfect for a person who never really knows where and how they fit in this life, always wondering if this moment is the moment they are truly living. Sadly, the Blank Club closed it doors this past February. The owners have moved on to another location now called The Ritz...but the book is still around.

Bar: Cinebar
Book: Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

Look, it's not the prettiest place. It's beers are meh, and sometimes the people can be a little much. But where the hell else can you read a book about about a 13 year old and her vindictive hold on Humbert Humbert and not be thought of as a pervert? The Cinebar is one of those places whose patrons are the most well read, well thought and open minded. Nabakov was a genius, leaving the reader to express empathy for an adult man who quite literally preyed on a young girl. But how many people can you openly discuss this book without fear of judgment? Not many. Cinebar embodied this type of literary freedom, a place I could read anything I wanted, discuss any thing I wanted without the societal judgments. It was great! I'll admit, Cinebar is also the place I am most likely to black out. Those whiskey and cokes are mean.

Bar: Teske's Germania
Book: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Besides the fact that Teske's is amazing in their food, amazing in their beer, and amazing in their service, the place is GERMAN BAR IN SAN JOSE! San Jose can often be snubbed, considered culturally devoid. But it is small treasures such as Teske's that redeem my home town. Since I cannot visit the best country ever (Germany) at any time I would like, I take solace in Teske's, granting my instatiable German fix with rich beers and schnitzel. Being there instantly takes me to Germany, and being in Germany reminds me of reading Milan Kundera for the first time. It kind of goes hand in hand...right?

If able, check all of these places out (except for the Blank Club because its closed), and while you are out it, read the books. It's time well spent. If you are interested in the book and bar pairings for SF, Molly Sanchez's article on the Bold Italic can be found here. Now lets drink!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Travel Tuesday - Margarita in Rome

So let me tell you about this one time when I went to Italy...

Prior to the first trip to Italy, my international travel was comprised of accompanying my parents to family visits in Mexico. My mother's prim and proper upbringing meant that I was attached to her hip while the quebradita (Mexican for dirty dancing) was practiced by the adolecents in the plaza. In high school, over priced schools overseas schools would send their recruits for us traveling dreamers who  wished to spend their summers away from their parents. I thought then that some semblance of freedom, to travel without the leash of propriety (my mother) was attainable. For a moment I thought I had heard the whisperings of my mothers acquiesce to a semester in Egypt. As I geared myself to make the final pleadings for an allowance to leave, some assholes decided to put two fucking planes in the Twin Towers. It was the beginning of my senior year. It took less than a moment for my mother to say  "ni creas que to voy a dejar en un avion" (Translation: Don't even think you are getting on a plane anytime soon.). My appeals in the form of arguments resembling phrases like "the best time to travel is right after something like this, everything is on lock down and super safer" fell on deaf ears.

It was three years later when an opportunity to vacation to Italy was presented to me. Settling on Rome and the neighboring area, my father and passed me a credit card. I was elated. Rome would be the destination for a nerdy history freak whose study of the bloody battles in the Coliseum were easy Saturday reading, and to top it off with Spaghetti? It all was too fucking fantastic

So there I went to Rome. I am in the mind set that travelers should acclamate the local culture and fully immerse oneself, not standing out like a "stupid American". I studied Italian language and Italian fashion, filling my bright yellow suitcase, with wheels and a handle, with nothing but pastels and mesh over shirts. Have I mentioned that I am a plushy girl? Pastels make me look like a fucking easter egg. So I am in the airport, and because I want to be one of "them", I think, hey, I can do this, I am going to take the trolley, to which I have no map, all the way in to town, get off with my big ass yellow suitcase, and find my fucking hard can this be?

The trolley dead ends in the middle of town...and there is no hotel in sight. I am close to some ruins, but if you have ever visited  to Rome you will quickly realize that almost everything is a ruin with a modern building on the inside. The trip was in August, a sweltering month for almost every part of the world, Wearing two sizes too small jeans (because tighter is better in Italy) and a knitted pastel blue short sleeve sweater...its fucking 90 degrees at 11 in the morning. I walk along cobble stone streets, all the while wheeling a  big ass bag that screams "Tourist". But no, I am convinced I fit right the fuck in. I take a right turn, I take a left. I can't fucking find the Trilussa Hotel. Someone is king enought to point me to the street Trilussa, but he knows nothing about the Trilussa hotel. I hobble down some more, all the while fully conscious of the fact that I am sweating, my crotch is rubbing against the fucking jeans, I am tired, I am hungry, and on the verge of a melt down.

I decide that before the tears commence that I take a seat at this cute little cafe. I waddle in, trying to ensure that I get some breeze towards my crotch. A few weeks prior I turned the ripe age of 21, making me eager to get started on what is to turn in to a long history of drinking. I take the seat at the table closest to the street, and I order the only alcoholic drink I can name, a margarita. I order in spanish because  because italian and spanish are the same...right? The waiter smiles, responding in English "sure, I'll bring it right out, and what would you like to drink". I take a breath...I am thirsty and I want my motherfucking alcohol, clearly he had not understood, so I repeat "a margarita". The waiter continues to smile..."I'll bring some water, no gas". I wonder if the no gas comment by the waiter meant he was planning to fart in my water cup.

I took the next few quiet moment to enjoy my surroundings. I had never crossed an ocean by myself, never been so far and removed from my "Pacific Standard Time". Rome is fucking amazing. Despite modernity  its history is captured in every stone, every building, and despite the crotch sweat and inability to find the hotel, I was enjoying this non parental adventure. Twenty minutes passed when the waiter came out to my table, with a pizza. I look at the waiter, and back down to my pizza. He is still fucking smiling. I look at the pizza again and before I can look up, the waiter has skipped his happy ass back to his counter. I politely flag him down..."sir, I still haven't received my margarita..."
"Miss this is your margarita, margarita pizza..."

I stammer, and start to cry...why? Because I am a fucking girl, my pants are stuck in my crotch, it's hot, and all I want is my god damn alcohol...I compose myself, explaining that my flight was so long and that I am very tired. I muster in broken italian/spanish "back home a margarita is a cocktail". My waiter, an angel in disguise I would have to assume, who was kind enough to politely and sweetly deal with  my emotional vagina bullshit, smiles again, and says, "a bella, I get a you a bellini". That fucking saint got me my drink, and a cab to drive me to my hotel...that was only a block away!

So began my lone travels, as a  Stupid (Mexican) American. 

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Monday, March 2, 2015

5 Ways to Survive a Shopping Mall

I hate the mall, and I hate shopping at the mall. I hate crowds, especially over excited tween shopping crowds. And yet, I have no choice sometimes but to partake in the shopping mall excursions. I endured full blown anxiety attacks among the rows of rainbow Mac lipsticks waiting for my mother to purchase a birthday was embarrassing but my point was made and I no longer get invited to accompany.  Problem solved, right? Big nope on that one. Unfortunately, because the big cities have moved away from small neighborhood businesses, to large shopping centers, I have no choice but shop at a mall. In order to survive this ordeal, I have engaged some survival tips:

1. Arrive early. When I say early, I mean "be at that gate before its rolled up so you can herd in before the rest of the animals." This will eliminate/dissipate the pre-established lines at the customer service desk. The ability to peruse a sales rack without the hovering of other bargain shoppers is a an enormous incentive.

2. Have a Plan. I like to be in and out. No bullshit. No day dreaming. No "trying on just to try on." I like to get in there, know the stores and know what I am looking for. This allows me to dissipate the wandering through herds glued to their iPhone screens as they aimlessly parade the common area. I park by the store, I enter the store, I get the fuck out.

3. Go Alone. My fiancee is great about mall shopping. He knows where to park, when to arrive, and always has a plan. My mother not so much. She kind of just meanders through the parking, stops at random displays, thinks of that one store where she needed to buy that one thing that is not so conveniently located at the exact opposite end of the mall. This drives me the brink of a full on meltdown. Circling the mall in the middle of a Saturday while the crowds are fully entrenched in shopping mayhem is NOT what I had in mind for "winding down".

4. Don't Shop When You Absolutely Need. Look, I understand that sometimes this can't be helped. You were invited to that last minute birthday party and now you have no choice but to buy an overpriced gift. Or worse, you can't seem to settle on the perfect overpriced gift. It can't be helped. Which is why I try to shop when I don't need. I realize this is scary on a financial perspective. "why would you buy something you don't need" Answer: Because I will need it eventually. Allow me to explain. The time constraints of needing have led me to make purchases on overly expensive items that I eventually detested and shoved in a closet. Example: A dress for a wedding. There was a time in my life that dresses and I did not speak the same language. It was foreign and uncomfortable. But then came the day that the typical fancy jeans would not fit the bill of the event. I had to purchase something formal and classy (read girly). I trudged every store until I settled on some ruffled piece of shit that fit. And I paid well over $60 which for me, and my love of bargain shopping, is a ridiculous amount of money for something that will so seldom be worn. But I needed the fucking thing. I lost a Saturday of my life and overpaid on an item that I needed, but hated. Don't do it.

5. Don't Shop at a Mall When Starving. It makes you an angry bitch. It makes the line to pay seem like the wait to receive an AIDS test. It makes the crowds feel like an abyss of flesh and sweat. It just sucks. Finding a place to eat sucks, its all chain fatty food that tastes like seasoned cardboard, and you have to share your dining experience with other people. It's like being in sixth grade again, only this time, the bullies are in heels and rather than backpacks, they carry the most current Coach purse. I think that's Coach still relevant? Just be well fed. Have that fuel to get in and get out.

I treat mall shopping like the zombie Apocalypse. Avoid the mass zombies, be well fueled, and if needed, travel solo, quiet and swift. But to be honest, if zombies attacked and I had to choose between the mall or being eaten, grab the tortilla and start feasting.