Saturday night I hit up my favorite movie spot – the Alamo Drafthouse (swear they do not endorse me) – to see “The Big Sick”! I’ve been waiting for this one ever since I saw the trailer, as it promised to be a real-life romantic comedy, complete with cultural relations and well, a big illness.
I know it doesn’t sound like a funny movie, but it definitely was! Here’s an official-ish description of “The Big Sick” I found on Google: Kumail is a Pakistani comic who meets an American graduate student named Emily at one of his stand-up shows. As their relationship blossoms, he soon becomes worried about what his traditional Muslim parents will think of her. When Emily suddenly comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a bond with her deeply concerned mother and father.
I know a lot of people love Kumail Nanjiani (who plays himself) from “Silicon Valley” – a show I attempted to watch but it was way too much like my old job that it was depressing and I wasn’t going to force it. Seeing this movie was my first real taste of Kumail and I absolutely loved his sense of humor.
I also didn’t expect to love the parts of the movie where he’s spending time with Emily’s parents (don’t worry, no spoilers here), but I did! It was funny and seemed really real and heartfelt.
Naturally, I loved the details of this movie – Kumail’s side-gig as an Uber driver, the “stress-eating” scene, and perhaps most of all, the abundance of air mattresses and the secrets shared atop them.
If you follow me on Instagram (@OrangeJulius7), you probably saw my post from Saturday night mentioning that seeing this movie gave me ALL the feels! I recently went through a little bit of a heartbreak (I am still gathering all of my thoughts on this, but you can plan on seeing something here next week) and am also experiencing the end of a long friendship.
Talk about ROUGH. So, seeing a movie about friendship, family, love, and big sickness – probably wasn’t my best move ever, but hey, it was still a good movie.
I’m definitely recommending this movie to anyone and everyone. Don’t care who you are – you need to see this movie. You’ll laugh, you might cry, and if you’re lucky enough to see it at a Drafthouse, you’ll eat really well, too, because they made an ENTIRE menu of authentic food to go with it! I had the kebab and an ice cold Blood and Honey and it was delish.
So yeah, now you’ve got weekend plans.
I know I say this every Friday, but seriously, this time I mean it: I’m SO glad I’ve made it to Friday! Between my blog class, the film festival, prepping for the dance showcase next weekend, and general business at the office, it has been a CRAZY month that has not allowed much time for rest. Whew!
Although I do have a few things to accomplish this weekend (hair cut and color, scheduling a spray tan, dance rehearsal, and general errands), I am planning on setting aside some quality chunks of time to lay in bed – and watch some “House of Cards” and catch up on some HBO goodies.
But anyway, we’re here to talk about books! I am so excited to share with you the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club, because it’s by funny guy Aziz Ansari, his book, “Modern Romance“. I had this book on reserve at the library for several weeks and I was ecstatic when I got the text saying it was ready for pickup. Here’s the scoop:
At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?
Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.
For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.
I know it’s long, but I wanted you to have all the details. This book is pretty genius in that it combines Ansari’s humorous tone, with actual facts and experiences. And while reading the book doesn’t change the current dating landscape for us singletons, it does explain WHY we go through what we do, and more importantly, that we’re not alone in this.
While I loved reading this whole book, there were two takeaways I found really interesting. The first was the research done about how dating was before technology came along. The book provides charts and graphs to show just how many people dated and married those within their neighborhood – and most people did.
Why? Well, because marriage was seen as a way out. People, especially women, weren’t moving out of their parents’ homes just because – they moved out once they were married. And, many times, women weren’t pursuing educations or careers – so it was marriage and then creating a family.
Once people started going to school and focusing on their careers, marriage started happening later and later in life, and it placed people further apart, physically, which is why less people marry within their hometowns.
Interesting takeaway two: Straightwhiteboystexting.org
Thank you, Aziz, for sharing this with me, as I didn’t know it existed prior. And it is a gift from the universe, in the same way that @Textsfromyourex on Instagram is. It is glorious.
Straight White Boys Texting is a submission-based website that captures and publishes the agony that is being a woman having to deal with dudes in today’s dating world. We get gems like:
…And there’s many more where that came from on the site.
Modern romance at its finest! You’ve got to read this book if you’re dating today, or if you’ve been dating within the last ten years. It’ll all start to make a little more sense (and keep us all inside for eternity).
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial” by Rabia Chaudry. We’d love for you to read it with us! Simply start reading and reach out for discussion at your leisure – after all, it’s the non-committal book club.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!
The previews from this week’s episode looked emotional, and within the first few minutes of it, the family gets a call from their son, Kevin, who is deployed, and he tells them it’s going to be his last deployment. His phone cuts out when he tries to explain why, although the family is relieved.
Abby is finally heading back to work in Baltimore, and as she’s running out the door, she confesses she still hasn’t told the girls she’s planning to move to Chesapeake Shores. Hmm…
Meanwhile, a girl with some big ‘ole dreads heads over to Trace’s house, and she even walks right inside… but he isn’t home. This should be interesting.
Abby arrives at her new office, and it’s definitely not the New York high rise she was working at in New York. She’s overdressed, and there’s a yoga ball instead of a chair at her desk – not quite her cup of tea.
Back at Trace’s, he comes home to find this girl sitting on his bed. And he is piiiiiiised. He immediately raises his voice at her, “I told you NOT to come here and you think it’s a good idea to just show up here?” She explains that HE’S the one who left Nashville, where he had a life. He gets his things, and leaves, telling her she can’t stay.
Jesse runs into her, as she’s looking for a place to stay. Her name is Lee, and Jesse is a little starstruck, as Lee was a singer on Trace’s last album.
The Patriarch of the family seems disappointed that, even though it’s summer, the family isn’t spending much time together. At work, Abby introduces herself to her new staff, and it’s super formal, and kind of awkward.
Although Jesse is admiring Lee from afar as she is singing at the Inn, Jesse knows Lee is probably in town to see Trace, and she needs to tell Abby… but how?
Abby arrives at Trace’s after work, apparently he’d sent her a text about needed to show her something. He hands her a wedding ring, that he found in the floorboards of the church he’s working on. He suggests she give it to Mick,, since he’s on the board of the historical society.
It’s kind of an awkward moment, and she suggests going to brunch on Saturday so they can start making up their missed time. But he tells her it’s “not such a good idea” and gets out of her car.
Meanwhile, Conner and his mom are having a pretty nasty fight at his apartment after she makes a sly comment regarding the fact that his father pays the rent.
When Abby gets home, her dad is building a playhouse for her girls. She quickly gets a call from Conner and explains what just happened between him and their mom.
When Abby gives her dad the ring from Trace, her stepmom takes a look at it and seems emotional… hmmm!
Abby’s sisters pull her aside to tell her about Lee in town to see Trace; and she doesn’t seem upset at all. She tells the ladies that her and Trace are just friends, so it’s no big deal.
Lee and Trace are sitting around a fire, and it comes out that they were given an advance from a label to produce another album, before he left. He says he returned the advance, and she says it’s not about the money, the label wants them to record the album.
He also drops that he “almost cost someone their life”…uhhh WHAT?! She says he needs to forgive himself, and it’s pretty much left at that.
Across town, Abby is laying in bed thinking about what she said to her sisters. It’s obvious she feels a little different about Trace than she’s led on (duh). Later that morning, outside of Sally’s, Abby sees Trace’s truck and goes inside. He’s there with Lee… and it’s awkward.
But Lee knows they dated and she later asks Trace what happened; she knows it’s one of the reasons he won’t come back to Nashville. “Is it really that hard to choose?” she asks him… and he doesn’t have much of an answer.
At family dinner, the house phone rings… a call about Kevin. Their father says it was a PR officer saying they needed to stand by, because they lost communication with Kevin’s troop. …And the episode is over.
Cannot wait for next week’s episode!
One woman I’ve really come to admire over these last few years is Carole Radziwill. Sure, there’s a possibility you recognize her name from “The Real Housewives of New York” – that’s how I have come to know her, too – but, of course, she’s much more than a reality television personality.
Radzi, as she’s often called, started her career in journalism at ABC, where she covered stories on abortion, gun control, foreign policy, and war. She’s won three Emmy’s for her work. On August 27, 1994, she married fellow ABC News producer Anthony Radziwill in East Hampton, New York. Anthony Radziwill died on August 10, 1999 at age forty after a five-year battle with cancer.
Radziwill went on to write a book about losing her husband, along with stories of her work at ABC, called, “What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love“.
…I really wanted to read that book first, as it was the first book she wrote. But the library didn’t have it, as in, they don’t even have it in their system, so I went with her second book, “The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating“.
Truthfully, I was excited to read it – it sounded really good! Here’s the description from Amazon.com:
“A deliciously smart and funny debut novel about loss, libido…and true love. A decade ago, Claire Byrne, now thirty-two, put her biggest career aspirations and deepest personal desires on hold when she became the wife of Charlie Byrne, the famous sexologist and man about town. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is charming yet pompous, supportive yet unfaithful, a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist. When Charlie is killed one day, in an absurd sidewalk collision with a falling sculpture (a Giacometti, no less!), his death turns Claire’s world upside down. She misses Charlie. She needs to reinvent herself. As unseemly as it may be to admit it, she longs to lose her ‘widow’s virginity.’ And she wants love.”
Right off the bat, this book reminded me of Candace Bushnell’s “One Fifth Avenue”, which I absolutely LOVED. So, Charlie is killed by this falling sculpture, which is tragic, but also oddly comical, and there is a brief investigation surrounding the event – which involves interviewing all of those who live in the building where the sculpture fell.
Speaking of Candace Bushnell, on the cover of the book there is a quote from her regarding “Widow’s Guide” that says something along the lines of Claire being a “Modern day” Holly Golightly. Umm, I love you Candace, but no. Ms. Golightly was a straight up hooker, though classy as shit, but Claire Byrnes is not… not at all! She’s a modern woman trying to find love after loss – I’d venture to say the character of Claire wasn’t straying too far from Radziwill’s very own experience in dating post-loss.
In the book, the reader gets to follow Claire along in her adventures of dating, which seems a little more fabulous than how it really is – or perhaps dating in New York is just fabulous in general. But the men sound hot, and there’s lots of fancy restaurants with dressy cocktails. Yum!
All in all, this was a great book to read; very fun and flirty, and it made me like Radziwill even more than I already do. To read more about “Widow’s Guide”, check out the official review from the New York Times.
I actually spent a few hours this weekend searching two used book stores trying to find Radziwill’s first book (picture me, literally digging through bookshelves), but had no luck. It’s not at the library, as I mentioned, so I might just have to hit up Amazon.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Paris, He Said” by Christine Sneed. Want to read it with us? We’d love to have you! Share your thoughts on the book with us via the blog comments, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Twitter & SnapChat @OrangeJulius7.
You probably already know that Valentine’s Day comes from Saint Valentine. But, I need to know how a Saint caused such a giant mess for singletons each year.
I took it to Google.
An article I found on History.com says the Catholic Church recognizes three saints named Valentine or Valentinus. There is a legend that one of the Valentines was in prison, and he sent the first “valentine” to his jailor’s daughter. He signed it, “From your Valentine,” and the phrase has stuck around ever since.
According to some, the celebratory day of Valentine corresponds with his date of death, but some say the timing has more to do with the start of birds’ mating season. Put that in your champagne and drink it.
Today, 1 billion Valentines are exchanged each year, making it the second-best day for the greeting card companies.
The history is interesting, but it doesn’t explain why singletons are left in the dark on this day of love. I’ll say this: when February rolls around, I never know how I should take it.
Some people, coupled or single, hate Valentine’s Day, and some people love it. And there are some people who don’t care about it at all.
I’ve noticed though, that there’s no right way for a singleton to acknowledge Valentine’s Day. If we hate it, then we’re seen as bitter; if we love it, then we’re stupid for celebrating a “fake” holiday. What gives?
I just started watching the HBO series “Newsroom” a few weeks ago (I know, I’m late to the game), and in the first season, Maggie instructs Jim to treat her roommate to a fantastic Valentine’s Day because every February 14 has been terrible for her.
Naturally, Jim gets caught up at work on the big day, and the roommate comes storming into the office, screaming about how another Valentine’s Day has ruined her life. I don’t think that’s how most single people act on Valentine’s Day, but I can’t speak for all of us.
However, I’d venture to say that actual Valentine’s Day isn’t just about the day. Most singletons don’t care about an over-priced bouquet of roses, a mushy card, or a themed dinner. I left out chocolate, because I do care, greatly, about chocolate.
It’s about not having a partner. Sure, we’ve got friends, family, coworkers, and colleagues, but we’re tackling the struggle on our own.
Some of the most joy I’ve gotten from a man came from simply having someone to talk to at the end of the day. Whether it’s sorting out the challenges, or laughing about the happy times, going it alone is a battle in itself.
And while every holiday has its “couple-y” aspect, a holiday such as Valentine’s Day just drives it right on home – that flashing billboard that says, “YOU’RE SINGLE.” Trust us, universe, we already know.
Don’t think we aren’t aware of the idyllic jewelry commercials, and the date nights just for couples. We see it.
It’s not like I just forget that I’m single. It’s pretty easy to remember when I go to bed alone, when I’ve got no special guy to call for great news or a bad day, no kissy-face emojis to start my morning, and worst of all, no one to snuggle with when I’m on the couch watching shitty TV.
No, I’m not moping around all day, every day, I’m just saying that single people don’t need a big, red and pink, hoopla of a holiday to make us feel better or worse.
To my fellow singletons, at the very least, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so no gawking over giant flower displays at work. However, beware of every half-decent restaurant on Saturday night. If you need me, I’ll be on my couch with champagne. The upside? I don’t have to share.
I’ve been reading the same book for, like, seven months. And it’s not a thick book, it’s an easy, fun read. I’ve just only looked at it about twice.
And why? Let me explain that I used to read ALL. THE. TIME. There were years, not long ago, where I read 25 books a year. As a writer, I feel it is my job to keep up with other writers. And, when I was learning to write, a great writer once told me that in order to BE a great writer, you must read great writing.
So, I’ve read a ton of books. But there’s a ton more out there I want to read. It’s not that I don’t want to read. I blame my lack of reading on last year, when I was constantly (and I do mean constantly) working to make ends meet.
But this year is different! So, I’m ready to finish reading that book I started last year (The Liar, The Bitch, and The Wardrobe by Allie Kingsley), and start (and finish) a bunch of others.
I’ve had this goal in mind for awhile because, like I said, I really do love reading. I also love curling up on my couch, getting lost in a great book. It’s the perfect escape and I’m ready to get back to it. I even got a few bookstore gift cards for Christmas, so I’ve already started my stockpile.
You may recall that last year, I treated myself to two books: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. Well, I still haven’t read them, so those are still on my list (it’s sad, I know).
But, here are some others I’m hoping to read this year:
When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…
In the New York Times bestseller that the Washington Post called “Lean In for misfits,” Sophia Amoruso shares how she went from dumpster diving to founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.
A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
In a series of linked cyanide capsules, Legends of the Chelsea Hotel tells the odd, funny, and often tragic truth of the writers, artists, and musicians; the famous and the obscure alike; who have fallen prey to the Chelsea.
Jennifer Weiner’s talent shines like never before in this collection of short stories, following the tender, often hilarious, progress of love and relationships over the course of a lifetime. The Guy Not Taken demonstrates Weiner’s amazing ability to create characters who “feel like they could be your best friend” (Janet Maslin) and to find hope and humor, longing and love in the hidden corners of our common experiences.
What books are you reading right now, or looking forward to reading this year? I’d love to add to my list!
I KNOW there’s a ton of you out there who are SO amped it’s Friday — teachers, worker-folk, I’m sure you’re all ready for the 5 o’clock hour to strike so you can race out the door to not waste a MINUTE of your holiday break.
And I don’t blame you one bit.
I do have to work next week, but only two full days, so I’m definitely not complaining! I feel terrible that I really haven’t gotten into the Christmas spirit this year — I feel like it always happens last minute.
But, I’m making it my MISSION to cram as many Christmas movies as possible in this weekend. Home Alone, Christmas With the Kranks, Christmas Vacation, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life. Bring it on!
Unfortunately, I’ve got TWO more gifts I need to get — and I have a feeling they’re going to be difficult to find. Wish me luck within the war zone known as… every store ever this time of year.
But, before I head off to work, let me tell you about the latest perfume in my collection! I’m wearing it right now and it smells pretty sexy if I do say so myself. It’s Catherine Malandrino’s Romance de Provence.
It came in my December Birchbox and it really does smell romantic. According to the Birchbox description:
No one knows fragrance like the French, and this sophisticated eau de parfum from Grenoble-born designer Catherine Malandrino proves it. Inspired by the Provence region, it begins with subtle fruity layers and opens up to a floral bouquet of jasmine, orange flower, rose, violet and lily (all against a backdrop of powder musk, amber, and patchouli). Both sweet and sleek, it provides a je ne sais quoithat lingers all day.
It’s that amber that gives it the sexy smell — I love it!
Anyway, I’m about to venture to the post office…wish me luck! Catch my weekend activities on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 …and I haven’t forgotten about the blog class! I has been submitted for review, so I should hear back today. Keep watch on my social media for coupon codes!
We practiced in a smaller rink right outside the city. Practice began at nine and after warm-ups, drills, and weights; I was out by one and ready for food. I headed back to the apartment after I picked up lunch. I did my usual drill as I walked by Kate’s door, but I didn’t see or hear anything resembling life inside. I hung the Chanel piece over my couch and stepped back to admire it. I was still mouthing Kate’s last words, “I’ll…think…about…it.” Obviously a “no” since I’d just finished hanging the thought in question. She presented a challenge.
I didn’t think she’d ever been to a hockey game. A puck fuck would wait outside the locker room like it was a Barney’s sale. She said she’d seen the game on TV… but only because her friend was over. I doubted she was impressed with my 98 fights or whatever Sports Center said it was. She couldn’t possibly think I was abusive, could she? My curent approach wasn’t working.
That night, I showed up at Kate’s door with a cheesecake I’d gotten a few blocks over. She gave me a weird once-over when she opened the door.
“Well hello again,” she said.
“Hi there,” I replied. “I brought you something.”
“Oh no, Fed Ex really has us mixed up. Great,”she said.
“Well, no. I brought… it’s from me,” I said, pointing at the white box. I handed it to her. “Here.”
She opened its lid slowly. “An entire cheesecake?” she asked.
“I was thinking we could share it,” I said. “You know, eat some of it together.”
She laughed. “Alright. Now?”
“Sure, if you’d like,” I said.
She opened the door wider, inviting me inside. Her apartment was bright and colorful. There were clothes everywhere, but they were neatly stacked and it looked like they were organized somehow.
“Yeah, I bring my work home,” she said. “I know it looks overwhelming.”
“No, don’t worry about it,” I said. “It’s kind of cool.”
I followed her through the entry that opened up into a wide space, a living room shared with a giant dining table under an old chandelier. She put the box down and moved into the kitchen. She was quiet.
“I didn’t mean to impose on you,” I said. “I can just leave this here for you.”
“No, really, it’s fine,” she said, digging for forks.
“You sure?” I asked. “I just wanted to thank you for keeping my painting.”
“It was no problem,” she said. “Would you like something to drink?”
“Absolutely. Wine, if you’ve got it, please,” I said.
She walked back to the table carrying a bottle of sauvingnon blanc and two glasses. Relief. She was tiny; but her blond hair was rich and full looking. She had tan skin and short, dark nails like they were painted with tar.
“So what do you do all day?” I asked. “I know you told me you were a stylist, but…”
“Well, I work at YM, which is almost a very young Cosmo-type of magazine, you know?” she looked up from pouring the wine. “Anyway, I pick and style the clothes before they take pictures for the fashion spreads.”
“That’s cool,” I said. “Is it the same thing every day or what?”
“Well, it depends on what week we’re in as far as deadlines. I travel to different sets around the city and sometimes I’ll go to events or parties for the magazine. It’s alright.”
“That sounds neat,” I said. She smiled and sat down, pushing a plate toward me.
“So…hockey?” she asked.
I laughed. I hated talking about work. Then I hated myself for asking her about being a stylist. Shit.
“Yes, I play hockey,” I said. “What about it?”
“Well how’d that start?” she asked.
“I played when I was younger and through high school. I went to UCLA, kept playing, and got signed with the Kings when I was 26. I just got traded and moved to New York in September.”
“How do you like it here?” she asked. She took a tiny bite.
I shrugged. “It’s what I thought it would be. I love playing in Madison Square; really neat place. You ever been to a game in there?”
She shook her head. “I’ve been to some concerts there, but no sports.”
“Aw, that’s too bad,” I said. You should think about it. You might have a good time.”
“Maybe. I don’t know if I’d fit in with those wild fans over there,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ll think about it.”
* * *
I left ttwo tickets with Kate for my next home game. She acted excited when I gave them to her, but I couldn’t tell if it was real. I told her she should bring her friend and I hoped to see her there. For the first time in Madison Square, I was nervous. If Kate hadn’t already heard about my penalty box habit, she was about to see it for herself. After the progress I made with the cheesecake, I wasn’t sure how it would go over for her. I didn’t know if she would even show.
I looked for her after my first few spats on the ice that landed myself in the box, like always. Her tickets were for section 94; right behind the goal. They were the best seats in the house — better than the ones for the p-fucks. I didn’t see her, but I hoped she was watching. After the game, I showered quickly. Maybe she’d be waiting outside the locker room. I hurried to the doorway.
Read part IV of “Black & Blue” right here, next Friday, October 16. In the meantime, catch up with me on SnapChat, Instagram, and Twitter @OrangeJulius7