Sorry I’m Not Sorry

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I have a social awkwardness that is hidden…

Normally, I am perfectly okay to handle my own emotions. Unless it’s one of those days where I’m running on three hours of sleep, didn’t have time to get coffee before work, and have a run in my stockings. Then I’m an emotional basket case and I’m not afraid to show it. Beware of dog, stay away, there’s an electric fence around this residence.

I think I am also pretty adept at handling others emotions, mainly friends and family. If you know someone it’s not weird at all to talk to them about your relationship problems, or something that’s been on your mind and needs to come out.

What am I terribly awkward at? Caring or appearing to care about total strangers emotional outpours at the most inappropriate times.

I must have that kind of face, the one you want to tell everything to. Maybe I remind you of an old friend, or there is some misguided maternal aura coming off me because I swear, people tell me the most personal things. It’s happened way too many times to write it off as a fluke.

Yesterday when I was at work, another rep’s customer called me over and began to sing to me the song he had written about his ex wife leaving him and his five kids. Last week a woman broke down into tears because her Verizon password is her cats name and Juju is no longer with us.

Everytime this happens, I have to physically fight the urge to run and hide. My facial expression is a frozen mask of “what the hell is going on”, and my mind is a frenzied whirl of “can they tell how awkard I feel right now?” thoughts. It’s as if I’m a robot and someone just pulled my power cord.

I know what you’re thinking, this chick has no feelings, maybe not even a soul.

It’s not true! I feel a lot, and I have a very BIG soul. Maybe it’s not very pure, but it’s large.

Pehaps I feel too much, maybe I want very badly to empathize with these forlorn and lost people, and yet I’m at work and I need to be able to come back to this place tomorrow and not have anyone think I’m weak or suceptible to emotional highs and lows. At work I need to be percieved as a don’t-cross me-or-else, high heel wearing, machette yeilding bad ass mofo. There’s too many times, as a woman, I’ve hit the corporate world only to be automatically labeled as ’emotional, unpredictible, soft”…. and truly, anyone who knows me would never describe me that way. I guess you could say that it’s unpredictable as to where I’m going to kick you the next time you prejudge me just because I have a vagina.

So, sorry I’m not sorry. This is the world we live in, and if I have to be “manly” in order to keep my place in it, I can pull out the ruler and measure with the best of them.

It’s probably for the best that I ended up in sales where emotional distance helps me, instead of psychology (my college major) where I probably wouldn’t have had many patients after staring at them with the “this is so awkward” look for enough sessions.

Have no fear, I have  a heart and am very capable of relating to emotions, especially from those of you on the internet. This way I can hide my frozen mask of fear behind a keyboard.

 

And for a moment… I was a carnie.

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There’s two things you need to know about me in order for any of what follows to make sense.

1. I am in sales for Verizon Wireless.

2. I live in Rochester, NY where, every year, we throw a HUGE weeklong shit show called The Lilac Festival. People come from all over the world to see these damn lilacs, eat funnel cake, and participate in general tom foolery. 

 

Yesterday marked the end of this festival. Which normally would have made me sad because I would typically have been one of the festival goers, participating in the tom foolery. Perusing hand made paper lanterns and candles, popping cinnamon and sugar coated nuts in my mouth, a plastic cup of beer in my hand. 

This year, as a Verizon employee, I got to work the festival. And let me say, if you had it twisted, get it straight. Being a vendor at one of these things is like seeing the underbelly of a traveling carnival. Instead of being inspired by blossoming lilacs, you’re losing faith in humanity. And I like to think for that week, I lived the life of a carnie. The bearded lady has got nothing on me. I am a seasoned side show freak now, and I have come to learn a thing or two…

Firstly, using port a potties multiple times a day will put a dark mark on your soul. I don’t consider myself a “germaphobe” by any means, and the first day I actually thought to myself, “hey, this isn’t so bad!”

Let’s roll around to the second day. Remember that scene in Slum Dog Millionaire where the little boys in India have to use the bathroom, which is a hole in the ground over some water. I felt some serious third world problems there in that portable bathroom. In fact, a time or two, I found myself wishing to be transported to that hole in the ground over that water. At least then I would not be in an enclosed space where the hole in the ground just happens to be about two feet deep and never gets emptied out. 

I have often wished for a penis, but never have I wished for a penis just so I could whip it out and pee anywhere. 

Moving on, festival food. Funnel cake was my all time favorite Lilac Fest treat. I only had it once a year when those pretty flowers bloomed, and I looked forward to it like a kid on Christmas morning. Until I had five of them in two days. 

I started sneaking away from the booth to go get funnel cake and strawberry lemonade. I was like a drug addict exhibiting seeking behavior. I would lie to my co-workers when they asked where I was going, AGAIN. 

“Oh, I thought I just saw a little child kidnapped! I have to go investigate…”

Only to return thirty minutes later with guilt in my eyes and powdered sugar on my nose.

Everytime I had to pee I would walk by the candied nut booth. They are giving out FREE samples of these delicious sweet nuts. Before long, you want MORE. After the third time of sneaking a sample, you want your very own bag. The vendor looks at you with knowing eyes. Sure, you can have this medium sized, shaped like a funnel, made out of wax paper bag of Cinnamon Pecans… $11 please.

And you pay it, because this is not real life, you’re living at a carnival.

Some days, it got chilly, and the price of the hot coffee would reflect the current temperature. 

On a particularly cold day I hustled over to the coffee cart and ordered the same small, plain coffee I had ordered the morning before. It is handed to me and I am asked for three dollars in return. Imagine my surprise when I had previously paid one dollar for this same cup of coffee. I take a sip to check the quality, maybe they are using a different roast. Nope, the same watered down, luke warm Folgers instant coffee that I had grown accustomed to. 

I stared at the coffee cart girl in amazement. Where was the solidarity?! I wasn’t some fair weather customer, I was a fellow vendor out here freezing our collective butts off. This was not my first brush with extortion, but it definitely hit me harder than all past experiences. 

Lastly, my all time personal favorite… people.

People watching becomes people judging and eventually people hating. 

Before you know it, that cute family with their cute kids and matching lilac cardigans are the enemy. I yelled “free smart phones!” at them the past three times they’ve walked by with not so much as an eye roll or dismissive hand gesture. 

Next time they stroll by I make a snarky comment, something like, “Oh, you’ve got so much money you don’t want a free phone”, and still they don’t even flinch. 

I’m beginning to think this family is an Al Qaeda terror cell, trained to withstand any and all torture methods. I consider beginning to pelt them with kettle corn, but I know it will be futile. They’ve seen it all, what can my pathetic attempts to get under their skin accomplish?

Only once I had built in my paranoid, strawberry lemon aid soaked brain an entire FX drama centering around these die hard, ninja focused imposters posing as upstanding American citizens….

Did I realize this entire family was deaf. Had not heard anything I had said, and had I begun to throw kettle corn at them, that would probably have been an effective way to get their attention.

Essentially, leaving my cushy, indoor plumbing life did not bring out the best of me. But I’ll always remember my carnie days, if only to avoid them in the future. 

 

 

What is a “good man”?

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I have friends, women friends, who are single or with someone but unhappy. The general consensus between all these women seems to be that they want a “good man”.

Don’t ask them to have a general consensus about what a good man is, though, because obviously like anything else that definition is going to vary from person to person.

So, the dictionary of Stephanie comes into play. The most accurate definition of what a good man is. You asked for it, and here it is.

A Good Man:

A good man is someone who tells you that you’re beautiful every day. He looks at you with wide eyes when he says it, so you know he means it. A good man tells you this while not being able to keep his hands off of you. Loving, touching, squeezing; all that jazz.

A good man doesn’t JUST tell you that you look beautiful. He specifies what about you is beautiful, so you know it’s true. He tells you that you have flawless skin, or that you’re ass looks AHMAZING! (yea, ahmazing with an h, say it like this… ahhhhh mazing)

A good man cups his hands around your face and tells you that he loves you, he tells you that he’ll love you forever, and he believes it… so you believe it.

A good man looks like a homeless person, his hair is getting so long, yet when he has a chance to get it cut he stays home to pay the bills.

A good man rocks his son to sleep at night and listens to the same YouTube video over and over again because the two year old commands it. Even though he says, “only one more time”, he listens to this YouTube video an additional three times before tucking the little one snugly and warmly into bed and saying goodnight.

A good man gives you a back rub at night, even though he worked all day, even though his back probably hurts, too. But he doesn’t ask for one in return, he just gives.

A good man doesn’t want you to spend so much money on Starbucks coffee, it really drives him crazy, yet he has come to terms with the fact that it makes you happy, so he doesn’t say anything.

A good man cries when he sees you walking down the aisle at your wedding. He takes your hand, and even though he knows he is wearing a mic, tells you a plethora of emotional and loving things.

A good man stays with you through millions of hours of pregnancy, what feels like millions of hours of labor, and millions of hours of sleepless nights. He doesn’t understand what it is to carry and birth a child, but he really thinks it’s cool and amazing and recognizes the sacrifice on your part to do it.

A good man tells you that he loves that you have a strong personality, he laughs at your jokes and he listens to your rants. He knows who you were, accepts who you are, and sees who you could be.

This man does laundry, vacuums and makes sure you have a clean pillow to lay your head on at night. When you cook for him he always tells you it was good, and then he washes the dishes. He kills spiders, chases away bees, hangs pictures, washes cars, kisses away bruises and tears, pushes little bodies on swings and down slides, checks homework, makes beds, and shampoos carpets. He is tireless, and selfless, and maybe still looks homeless…

But he’s beautiful to you…

Because he’s strong, and sweet. Because his smile still makes you feel like the world is a good place, and his arms are still the safest place in the world for you. Because no matter what you do or what you say, what kind of evil witch or sulky little girl you turn into, he still sees you as his soul mate.

This is a good husband, a good father, a good person. A man who once told me that if all he left behind was the legacy that his children and his family viewed him as a “good man”, that this would be more than enough for him. Who could ask more from their partner in life? He doesn’t want riches or notoriety, he doesn’t need a high flying career or fast cars (although he would like them)…

All he needs in this life is to give himself to his family, to show them that he loves them and that he is there; every gray hair, every wrinkle, every puffy eye is because he is out there giving it his all for US. All he needs, all he wants, is to be the best for the people he loves…

And all I need is him.

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“He fills me up, he gives me love, more love than I’ve ever seen. He’s all I got, he’s all I got in this world, but he’s all the man that I need.” -Whitney Houston