Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Praise And Awe Of Bad Boys Everywhere

Sometimes the things we want are the worst things for us. Case in point - there's a boy. Doesn't every story start that way? Isn't there always a boy?

This boy is a friend. Granted not a great friend, not the kind of friend you call when you're stuck by the side of the road or just need a guy you can count on. So really he's more like a good acquaintance. And though he's not the kind of friend I'd count on in a tight spot, I like hanging out with him nonetheless, because for all intents and purposes, this guy is like Kryptonite for my weak less than Superwoman nature. He's lethal, but in the most "going out with a smile on my face" kind of way. He's smart, crazy smart, and funny in a dry, witty kind of way. And he's charming, and knows how to make me laugh, and I can tell he likes to do so. He's cultured and we can talk about books, or music, or movies, or beer, or sports or anything really. Anything that is, except God.

You see, because for all of his good qualities, this guy just doesn't share a common faith, or any kind of faith with me, really. I'm not quite sure if he believes in God at all, but it's not just the belief factor that is a glaring difference between us. It's that he's opposed to the whole concept of religion and faith in general. He has the cynical dismissal that only comes from being burned by either church or church people. Ironically enough, I see so much of myself in his stubborn bitterness, because I was there once before too. I have to wonder if the more religion or faith is pushed at him, and the more he sees people who's empty faith only wounds with self-righteousness and ignorance, the further he's walked away from the concept altogether. And with experiences like that, who can blame him? Granted, when I was at that place in my life, I didn't have the same reaction as he did, choosing to get back in the ring and give my faith another try, then finding that choice justified in God's goodness and grace. But I can see his point, all too clearly, when it comes to this subject, and I would never fault him for the doubts and fears that he has. Sadly though, it still presents itself as a chasm between who we are, as two different people.

Now you might wonder what the problem with this lack of connection is? Why are his beliefs such a big deal? Well like I said, this guy is just like Kryptonite to me - in a very dangerous, very "bad boys are the hottest" kind of way. Yep, I've totally got a crush on him, and though we haven't seen each other that much in the last year or so, the frequency with which we have seen each other has increased a bit lately, and I can't get him out of my mind. I find myself wanting to see him more and more. And let's be honest here, I find myself thinking about him a lot, and sometimes that thinking is about how much I want to make out with him, just as much as how much I want to ask him if he's read anything good lately.

Now, I've never been the girl who goes for the bad guys! I've even gone so far as to defend, in male/female debate, the viewpoint that not all girls do like the bad guys, using myself as a case in point. Yet, for some reason, this guy, let's just call him C, gets under my skin, and sometimes for all the wrong reasons. His temper, his roughness, his plain old manly aggressiveness - instead of being great big warning signs, sadly these qualities are a huge turn-on. He's got the whole rough and tumble, devil may care, hockey player fighting up against the glass thing down pat. Yep, he's got it down good! And he seriously makes me want to catch a case of whatever he's got. Like right now!

Don't get me wrong though. Wasn't it Mae West who said "I generally avoid temptation, unless I can't resist it."? Well, that's not me. For as much as I am attracted to him in a primal, rush-of-danger kind of way, my heart and my conscience are winning the battle against my mind, and always will. The fundamental differences in our faith are overwhelmingly more important and more influential than any attraction ever could be. And the fact is, at the end of the day, it's only a little crush - and that's all it ever will be.

As far as crushes go, I've already been down the road of falling for the best guy I know, despite the fact that he never felt the same. At the end of the day there is no one I trust, respect or admire more than the best guy I know, nor is there anyone I would ever recommend with higher praise. But C, he's not that guy, nope, not even close. Sad though it is, he couldn't even hold a candle to the kind of honorable, kind man that is the best guy I know. And yet I still can see myself falling hard, and fast, and well dangerously hard for him. On paper there is nothing about him that would sell him, in comparison to the kind of guy that is the best guy I know. Matter of fact, when you put it all down, it's an easy win for the best guy I know. But who's looking at paper when you're strapped to the back of a motorcycle, wind whipping through your hair, throwing all your cares away, and riding away into the great big unknown? Paper, what paper?

Funny thing is, from a different perspective, from the viewpoint of a woman who's not at all concerned with faith or spirituality or God or virtue, this guy is a great catch, even for all his faults. Because, for all his faults, he's still pretty much an okay guy. He's got a stable job, is intelligent, and charming, and witty and talented and nice. He doesn't beat women, or rob convenience stores, or kick babies and he's not a total jerk. Yeah, he's got some issues, but really who doesn't? From any other viewpoint, women are probably out there looking at him and saying "Wow, what a catch" and they're absolutely right. I had a conversation with a mutual friend the other day, someone who's worked with both of us, and who knows him pretty well. I told her about this crush, and my attraction to him, and she said that he's definitely crush-worthy, and an awesome guy, and I should pony up and ask him out, and then make out with him. Oh how I wanted to take her ill-formed advice, but I digress.

Anyways, all this brings me to the question "What is it about bad boys?" Why do they hold such a deep, carnal appeal? For all their rebellious, heart breaking ways, why are us women so attracted to them? Moreover, if you were to line 'em up next to the best guys we know, despite the good guys being the cerebral, obvious choice, why is it that it's the bad boys that we want to run off with? They are not the best guys we know. Not even close. But in a hotness contest, could the best guys we know sweep us off our feet the way these bad boys do? Not likely.

Without getting too deep into the subject, I think a big part of it is that sometimes bad boys are willing to act. Willing to do. They are men of action - Straightforward, brave, bold, and brazen. The bad boys are the ones who will tell us our ass looks good in those jeans, and elicit a smile that we know we should probably hide. They're the ones who will dare us to follow our dreams (or sometimes theirs) leading us down a path - albeit even an unknown, scary and potentially dangerous one. They're the ones to do the things that the good guys just won't do, to take the action that the good guys just won't take, and to live the adventurous, exhilarating, thrilling life that the good guys just seem unwilling to live. Unlike the good guys we know, they're not paralyzed by some unnamed and unidentifiable fear or issue that keeps them just acting, well nice and good. They may steal their household paper products, but at least they don't have their mom buying that stuff for them still. Part, and this is just part really, of their great big appeal is just their willingness to do something, to put it out there and live with intention and passion, , and quite frankly that is just hot. Women like men who take life by the horns and ride it barebacked and bucking for 8 long seconds. Women like men of action, and of initiative, whether that's for the good, the bad or the ugly.

So, tonight, as I wrap up this post and head off to bed because the last of my White Russian is turning milky amongst the melted ice cubes, I raise a toast, no, a great big hearty "yeehaw" to C and all the other bad boys of the world. Without you guys our sense of adventure would lie dormant, our choices remain unchallenged, our raw womanly appeal would be under appreciated and our lives would be boring. Without you guys, we'd forget what it is to be desired, pursued, or to crave something we won't allow ourselves to have. Moreover, without you there'd be no standard to dare the best guys we know to live up to, no leverage to throw at them in a challenge to surprise us, nor anything to make us appreciate just how wonderfully reliable and nice they are. After years of denial, I can say truthfully I'm a fan of the bad guys, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. And that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Liesl - The Little Kitty That Peed

I'm at a loss today. I'm having a really, really, really bad day, in true Alexander style. There are a few factors, but the most worrisome, the one I'm having a really hard time dealing with, is Liesl, my kitten.

See, I can handle all the crap that's thrown at me, all the judgementalism, the quippy remarks, the misunderstandings and lack of support that I feel sometimes. Throw it at me world - I may cry at first, but I'm crazy strong, and can handle it all. You can't touch me.

But when it comes to this sweet little helpless creature that I believe that God has entrusted into my care, well, my heart and my most protective instincts come into play. My heart is literally moved within me, thinking that something's not right with her. You see, she's been peeing on everything she can get her four little paws on, most recently my bed, including my duvet and down feather mattress topper. She had been peeing on every magazine I have in the house, including all my Anthro catalogs, and after I threw them away, I saw that behavior end. But last night, with me in it, she just up and peed a great big bladderfull right on my bed. With me in it. My leg was waaarrrrrmmmm!!!!! Eeeewwww!!!!

Then this morning, she did it again, she peed on my duvet. I seriously think it's time for a new one anyways, but having to clean urine off it sealed the nail in that coffin.

The thing is, I know something can't be right with her if she's peeing on stuff. And I'm worried. I've scheduled a vet appointment for tomorrow, to coincide with my dentist appointment. I just want her to be ok I've grown so accustomed to her beautiful little face, and her incessant mewing. I find her charming, and adorable, and I want to take care of her and be the best owner I can for her. But let's be honest here, when she does this, I'm frustrated and angry, and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. Whatsmore, I don't know how to stop it, or prevent it in the future. I'm hoping the vet will have a solution for me.

In the meantime, I dread going home tonight, to a little creature that I can barely understand, yet adore thoroughly. I really am not looking forward to the fight that lies ahead, and I can only hope and pray that this situation resolves itself in a favorable way soon.

Oh Liesl - if you only knew how much I love you. And that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Grown Up Christmas List

When I was growing up, we didn't celebrate Christmas - Oh the joys of being an ex-Jehovah's Witness. But every December till the year before she passed away, my Grandma Dee would pull out the Spiegel catalog and let my brother and I choose an "End of the Year" present. We would bookmark the page, dog-earring it and circling what we wanted, and she would order it and it would get shipped to her house, where we could open it after December 25th.

I remember being so overjoyed at the thought of getting a present for no other reason than no reason at all. But the feeling I remember best is just being excited to take part in a tradition that somehow related to something we never got to take part of - Christmas itself. At a time of the year when everyone else got to celebrate holidays, go to parties, get presents, and just revel in all the fun that Christmas is for kids, us JW kids were constantly sidelined. If there was a Christmas assembly at school, we'd have to go sit in the principals office till it was over. If there was a holiday party in class, same thing. When other kids gave presents, we felt cheap and stingy, because we weren't allowed to give anything, even to our best friends. Being left out like that felt like the biggest thing in the world, to my childish heart.

Looking back, my Grandma's generosity of wallet and spirit, and her willingness to be a little subversive, at least as much as my grandpa would allow, did more for making me feel included and slightly normal than years of knocking on people's doors ever did. There was no more patient, kind or giving woman than my Grandma Dee, and this year, 20 years after her death, I still miss her with an empty hole in my heart. I wish she was still around so I could finally buy her something from the Spiegel catalog.

It's funny, but as a kid, the things you want are so trivial and basic. This doll or that toy, or this book or cd. And when you don't get them, it feels like the world is coming to an end. As an adult, my Grown Up Christmas List is so very different from anything I ever wished for when I was a kid, or could even imagine wanting, and disappointment is a feeling I've become all too used to. How very much we change.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm as deep and meaningful as Amy Grant, wishing for "No more lives torn apart" or that "Wars would never start". Yes, I want those things, but the cynicism of adulthood has left me no longer wishing for them with blind hope, and sometimes barely able to comprehend that I could, as one person, exact such change and peace in the world. My Amy Grant list today would look more like "stronger community focus on reaching the marginalized of society" or "the ability to truly love my neighbors without resentment at our differences" or "contentment amidst the dullness of day-to-day life as a single woman with a cat". But then that doesn't work so hot in a song, now does it?

In all honesty my Grown Up Christmas List does contain some of those things, but it also contains such vain and unachievable intangibles as "A whole year of good hair days" and "the joyful desire to get up every morning at 5 to go work out" and "finally finding that perfect buffet/sideboard/console for my living room, at the right price with free up-the-stairs delivery". I wish I could say I was as selfless a woman as my Grandma Dee was, but sadly I'm nowhere near the saintlike status that time and memories have given her in my mind.

As the years passed, and I moved from childhood into adolescence, the time I got to spend with my grandma lessened. Instead of sleepovers at her house every Friday night, our time together looked more like brunch once a month, on a Saturday afternoon, at Nordstroms Cafe, and shopping at the mall, till she would get on the bus to head home. Grandma Dee never drove a day in her life. I remember her saying once that any fool could drive, but it took a real genius to get her husband to drive her everywhere.

If my grandma were alive today, I know it would bring her great joy to grant me a Christmas wish. But the one that I would want most of all couldn't be found in a Spiegel catalog, or any other website/catalog/mall-store that she would frequent. I just want my grandma back, and for her to be proud of the woman I've become. I want to sit with her, at Nordstroms Cafe, as an adult, and know that this was one family member who loved and supported me wholeheartedly and unconditionally. I want more time to appreciate her, for her her quirks and eccentricities and for her goodness of heart, rather than for the things she bought me growing up. I just want my Grandma Dee back.

But in case you, for a moment, thought I was really gonna let it end at that (*cue violin music and single sad tear*), here is the rest of my Grown Up Christmas List. I'm not gonna lie and say it's all wonderful and beautiful and deep. But I do know that it's definitely not the list of a kid anymore. And yes, my Grandma's at the top of it, and always will be. The rest of it, however.... well it's a Christmas Wish list. Let's just leave it at that. So without further ado ...

... My Grown Up Christmas List:

1. Grandma Dee - 'nuff said

2. Someone in my family to come out and visit me at Christmas (or any time of the year really), at least once.

3. A really good hair day every day for the next year.

4. The knowledge of how to practically apply all I know about loving people and living a life of selflessness, and the motivation to actually do so.

5. Better teeth.

6. My cat to always, always, always use the litter box.

7. A non-judgemental housekeeper.

8. To actually lose weight when I work out instead of always... being... at... the... same... weight... year... in... and... year... out. Bleeeehhhhh!!!!!!

9. A boyfriend that actually likes short, goofy brunettes, thinks I'm smart and pretty and kind, is the best man I've ever met, will let me cook for him, and likes me enough to be able to tell me exactly what shade of brown my eyes are without using the words "baby poop" or "mud".

10. Or the ability to not desire #9 whatsoever, and just live in complete contentment with my life as it is.

11. All my youth group and Sunday School kids to grow up and do great and wonderful things with their lives, without making any of the mistakes that I ever made.

12. A blogmakeover.

13. A dishwasher.

14. The house on the NE corner of 39th and Washburn.

15. To escape the fundamental punishments of growing old - aches and pains, the inability to sleep in past 6, hearing yourself sound like your mother.

16. Peace and joy and laughter and sunshiney sparkly double rainbows galore for all my friends and those that I love.

17. To be an instrument of blessing in the lives of people around me this year, in a tangible and meaningful way.

18. A brand new Volvo SUV with leather seats and seat warmers and an automatic car starter and a rockin' Bose sound system.

19. To achieve the perfect balance for time management of time spent alone, socially with others, and serving my community.

20. Peace on earth and goodwill to all humankind!
And that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.