Category Archives: Ole Miss

“Attagirl, Sandra!” v. “Stupid Jerk!”

I am sad about Sandra Bullock. And I know — at least on some level — it’s a ridiculous thing to say…but, at the same time, I’ve sorta felt a certain affinity with her…at least as far as relationships are concerned. And I find these revelations about Jesse James incredibly disheartening.

In the Barbara Walters Oscar Special this year, Babs showed a clip of an interview with Bullock from, like, ’94 when she was filming A Time to Kill in Mississippi (the same time I was there!) and Walters asked why she wasn’t married or whether she ever wanted to get married or something like that. And Bullock’s response was that she was afraid that getting married meant giving up her identity and she said she wasn’t ready. And…I totally get that. After working so long on forging a career and figuring out what you want and what makes you tick, who in their right mind would want to just become somebody’s wife? (Which is not to say that you can’t have a successful marriage and a career or whatever…I just mean that I understand once you have a career of your own that is fulfilling and that makes you happy, you’d be reluctant to give it up for a ring and you’d want to be careful about the partnership you choose…)

And, I mean, anyone who has read anything I’ve written over the past year or so — maybe longer? — knows that these are issues I’ve struggled with…and, heck, I don’t even have a real career to cling to — I merely *aspire* to have a career to cling to…and to be the kind of person who at, say, 39 (or whatever) is totally comfortable saying, “I’m happy with me and my life,” and who doesn’t feel at all incomplete for not having a better half. Sandra Bullock didn’t get married until she was 40! Which is, like, unheard of, isn’t it? (My Sunday morning ritual has become checking out the Wedding announcements in the NYT and seeing how many of the brides are younger than me. [I’d say it’s about 50/50.] But there was one bride in Brooklyn a few weeks ago who was 42 and who had a procession from her apartment to the church with all her bridesmaids dancing and singing and the quote was something like, “When you get married at 42, it’s something to celebrate.” And I guess the point is I really admire any woman who doesn’t succumb to fear or pressure or whatever and grab the next schlub that comes along so she can say, “Hey — look! I have a husband!” […which reminds me of When Harry Met Sally when Carrie Fisher tells Meg Ryan that she shouldn’t wait too long to get back in the game because one guy they knew said he needed more time before dating again and then he died and Meg Ryan says, “What are you saying? That I should grab on to somebody in case he’s about to die?” and that nameless redhead says, “At least you could say you were married!”])

And the part that *really* makes me sad for Sandra Bullock (…and if I was to be a real drama queen, I could perhaps say all of womankind…) is that she said she couldn’t have played her Oscar-winning role in The Blind Side a few years ago — that it was having a family and someone who had her back in real life that enabled her to play Leigh Anne Tuohy. And even Oprah mentioned how sweet it was when the camera panned to a teary-eyed Jesse James in Bullock’s Oscar acceptance speech…and it just seemed like one of those situations that proved it was all totally worth the wait. She spent her 20s and 30s working on her career and herself…and then in her 40s, she found love. And it was a good love — one that gave her family and support and real happiness. And that’s where it’s supposed to end happily ever after! There shouldn’t be any tattooed chicks or text messages or eleven-month-long trysts! How can that be? How could he possibly stand next to her on the red carpet and listen to her laud him for his support and get teary-eyed and look like he was proud of her and that he was happy he was the guy who got to be in her life…and then go home and text some broad that he’d been thinking about her? It, in a word, sucks.

And it frankly makes me wonder whether there is any hope at all. It seems like sometimes men make it so easy to throw up our hands and declare them all pigs. (I was watching an episode of The Golden Girls in which Blanche was upset because a man — who actually later went on to play the husband of the lady who killed herself and now does voiceovers on Wisteria Lane — appeared looking for George Devereaux because he was his father. And Blanche was upset by this revelation that her husband knocked up some chick in Dallas in the ’60s. So…as she was sitting at the kitchen table with Dorothy and Rose, she asked something like, “Why do men cheat?” and Dorothy said there were two explanations: One, that men are victims of an evolutionary process that deems it impossible for them to control their natural proclivities; and, Two: Men are scum.)

But, seriously — just look at all of them in the news recently: (as if I even need to mention this first one…) Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Mark Sanford, Dave Letterman, Eliot Spitzer, and (maybe) David Patterson…, just to name a few. And it’s certainly not limited to famous people. I can easily peruse the Hall of Fame o’ Bad Men in *my* life for plenty of real world examples: take the Penis-Revealer with the Long-Term Girlfriend Who I Really Genuinely Cared About…or Mr. I’m-Getting-A-New-Roommate-Oh-Wait-Did-I-Forget-To-Mention-I’m-Sleeping-With-Her-And-Eventually-Plan-To-Marry-Her-?. And, sure, there are subtle nuances in both cases…and, depending how you define “cheating,” maybe it’s not “cheating” at all. But, at the very least, they both suck in their own special ways.

And then there’s the example of my married guy friend. And he’s, like, the most doting husband I’ve ever seen — flowers, dinners, jewelry, trips, the whole nine yards. And, for a long time, I held him up as, like, the example of the perfect husband. And then not too long ago, I was out with him and excused myself for a moment and, when I came back, he was in the middle of a flirtatious exchange with a female bartender. And, I mean, it’s not like he *did* anything — he was merely cooing things like, “Will you be here next time to take such good care of me? I sure hope so…” and no one was overtly hurt by his sweet nothings, so what does it matter? But, at the same time, I am absolutely 100% certain that he would not have behaved this way had his wife been present…which makes me feel like something was not quite right. And, sure, I suppose we all do it to a certain degree — sort of like Mo’Nique’s explanation to Babs about her open marriage — but if *this* guy — arguably the World’s Most Doting Husband — can’t be trusted not to have his brain turn to jelly in the presence of a moderately attractive female, can *any* of them be trusted? Or, deep down inside, are they all Jesses, Tigers, Johns, Marks, Daves or Eliots?

Perhaps we’re all destined to be — I’m borrowing from the New York Post’s headline — Blind-Sided. It’s depressing. (I started to read Why Men Cheat in Esquire, but got upset…men cheat because they must? Really? So…I didn’t get very far…)

And…brief aside: I did a lot of flying in the last couple of months of 2009. And flying sometimes makes me nervous…so my deal with myself is that I can buy lots of trashy celebrity magazines to read on the plane. And…in one issue of Us Weekly, there was a Sandra Bullock quote that I liked so much I ended up cutting it out and taping it to my bathroom mirror (…it was, if you recall, sort of a tough time for me…and I sorely needed inspiration): “I complete me. I’m just lucky that after I completed myself, I met someone who could tolerate me.” And the magazine explained that it was in reference to her “strong marriage.” And I just can’t keep it up there anymore, can I? Every time I look at it now instead of, “Attagirl, Sandra!” I think, “Stupid jerk!”

And this isn’t to say that Sandra doesn’t still complete herself…and that she won’t have a happy ending after all. She may stick with James and remain blissfully happy after he does a stint in sex rehab or whatever; or she may leave him and end up with one of Hollywood’s most eligible 40-something bachelors…and her new hubby will be the Angelina to James’ Aniston and he’ll spend the rest of his life as the posterchild for the Lonely Man; or she may adopt a kiddo and start her own family and swear off men forever. It’s a terrible, awful thing that happened…but, at the same time, she’ll go on, blah, blah, blah. And the thing that I really loved about The Blind Side was its message that family is whoever you love — not necessarily those you were born into… — which I suppose would make it even more poignant if she ends up telling James to take a hike and adopts a million babies. (But I can’t see how this *couldn’t* still be an enormous blow to your ego…and I was *just* saying to a friend — before any of this happened — that it seems to me like it would be really hard not to have a certain complex, knowing that your husband’s ex-wife was a porn star. And now…? Sheesh. Poor Sandra…)

Bottom line: As an unmarried woman of a certain age, I found her story hopeful — like, I’m going to continue to work on me…and I’m going to have faith that when it’s right, Mr. Wonderfulpants will fall from the sky… — and I guess her story still *is* hopeful, in a way. But…not in the way I thought it was…

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Filed under Brooklyn, feminism, Mississippi, Ole Miss

Oddball Cookbooks, a Soapbox & Kenny Chesney

At the last “party” I “hosted,” one of my “guests” remarked that I have a lot of oddball cookbooks.

Case in point: there’s Erica with my copy of “More of Jesus, Less of Me.”

This is a Christian guide to weight loss that I found at my junior class rummage sale at St. Andrew’s Episcopal (but my sister says, “Epispocal“) School in Ridgeland, Mississippi. When I first saw the title, I thought, “This is NOT about weight loss!” But it totally is a literal take on “less of me.”

The name “Kay Fant” is written in pencil on the very first page…so I can only assume this book once belonged to Ben Fant’s mom. (Ben was one of my classmates. My basketball coach used to tease him and ask him if he had a sister named Ella. I just looked him up on Facebook…and there’s a photo-less guy who is an Ole Miss grad, so it HAS to be him. But he has no friends. So I assume he doesn’t use it very often…and even if poor friendless Ben *does,* I never knew him well enough to be, like, his first friend.)

His mother’s spiritual guide to slimming down begins: “To all of God’s children who have been called Fatso, Tubby, or Two-by-Four, my fellow sufferers in life, especially those who have asked God to help them lose weight. I was an utter failure at weight loss until I found God’s way, and He asked me to share it with you.”

I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this book. It’s like a peek into this whole other world where being fat is “no glory to God.” (But…there are testimonies in the back…so clearly it *has* worked for some people…and who am I to judge? Clearly not, well, Jesus. And…*that* is kind of ironic because my blended family went to a Christian therapist for a brief, shining moment in the great state of Mississippi. Classic stuff. We were assigned personality animals. I was a — wait for it — beaver. [Because I am hard-working and conscientious, they said.] And…to make a long story short, I had some issues with what was expected of me. And after the word “perfection” was bandied about, my Christian therapist said, “Oh, honey, the only person who was perfect in the history of time was Jesus Christ!” And it was like, “See? My point exactly. I am not Jesus.”)

But…back to oddball cookbooks.

Last week, I saw *another* cookbook at work…and couldn’t help myself: The Little Black Apron: A Single Girl’s Guide to Cooking with Style and Grace.

And, you know, I like cooking. And I’m totally a fan of learning new things. And I like to read. And I don’t even really take issue with chick lit all that much. (Hello, Bridget.)

And it’s my own stupid fault for opening the book anyway…because clearly what can be expected from something like this? (But, at the same time, it’s sort of this voyeuristic peek into another world…kind of like Christian weight loss…and how much fun have I had with that??)

But…the thing is that Christian weight loss isn’t really all that offensive. Crackpot, maybe. But not offensive-offensive. I mean, don’t get me wrong — I think it’s a totally crazy that the author had to ask her husband for permission to have an ice cream sundae on their anniversary…and he told her that it was between her and God, but if she really wanted one, he would buy it for her.

But THIS is essentially the kind of relationship that the authors of “The Little Black Apron” profess most young, single career girls are really waiting for while pretending to be professional and stuff:

“We know you exist because we’ve been exactly where you are…You’re a single girl who doesn’t know a can opener from a whisk. Deep down inside, however, you have dreams of living the domestic life and being an amazing mother and wife while residing in your newly remodeled Connecticut farmhouse. And, although you never admitted this openly, you already neurotically contemplate the day when you won’t be able to fix your three-year-old child a grilled-cheese sandwich…”

First things first, NO ONE is more neurotic than I am…but this begs sooo many questions…least of all which is: who on earth doesn’t know how to make grilled cheese sandwiches? Slice cheese. Butter bread. Put it in a pan. Grill one side until it starts to make noise. Flip it over. Repeat. Serve.

And I’m totally not saying that there’s anything *wrong* with wanting to be an amazing mother and wife (one might even argue that *I* have the same aspirations, making me quite hypocritical, indeed)…but — indulge me in a feminazi moment — it really irks me that this is ALL they say women want to do with their lives…when, in actuality, my dears…I would imagine there’s SO much more for a good chunk of the population.

But, okay, off the soapbox…

The less heated comment I have to make about this book is that it *also* kind of reminded me of a song in which the guy croons, he “(ate) burnt suppers the whole first year, / And (asked) for seconds to keep her from tearin‘ up…”

And I can’t embed the video from YouTube! But…if you’re into it: Kenny Chesney – The Good Stuff.

(You may recall that Mr. Chesney was the *real* Bridget‘s husband for a brief, shining moment. And everything comes full circle…)

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Filed under basketball, books, Bridget Jones, feminism, grilled cheese, Kenny Chesney, Mississippi, Ole Miss, weight loss