Thursday, July 29, 2010

Does EPL mean anything to you? If you answered no, I envy you.

Have you cleared your calendar yet?

With credit card in hand, women across the country are anxiously counting down to August 6, when they can begin a three-day journey around the world courtesy of Home Shopping Network and the little book that could, Eat Pray Love.

The book left me cold; the movie – which I will not see – sounds monumentally annoying. And now – God help us – Home Shopping Network has concocted three days of EPL shopping, offering the best of Italy, India and Indonesia to viewers and fans worldwide

Here’s a question: if the book was – and I’m guessing now, I have no actual sense of what this book was supposed to teach me – about finding yourself and getting authentic and real about what matters in your life, how does it make sense to build a commercial event in its honor? How does one woman’s journey of enlightenment, no matter how misguided and specious I believe that journey to be, turn into millions of women declaring her own self-hood by purchasing Sajen Silver and Richard Jacobs Multigemstone “Praying Goddess” pendants (only $379.90 or 4 easy payments of $94.98)?

No matter. Let’s pretend this all makes logical sense and the exact thing you want to do to prepare your body, mind and spirit for the EPL movie experience with Julia and Javier is shop all weekend on Home Shopping Network. I realize this makes little sense but just go with me on this, okay? You want centeredness? You want peace? You want a solid sense of self? Step right up, hop online or pick up the phone and get ready to add these items to your life. Let’s shop Italy!!

Begin your day with a cup of delicious cappuccino or espresso, brewed perfectly in your own kitchen with your De’Longi Combo Coffee Station ($169.90). Meet up with your friends for a morning walk after you pull on your “Fear, Who Cares” t-shirt. No doubt your friends will be wearing their “Search For Everything” and “I Deserve Something Beautiful” T-shirts, available for only $39.95 each. And in case you have to carry a couple things with you, toss your Sumatra Crossbody bag ($225) over your shoulder.

Later, you can indulge in the beauty of India. Invite the neighbors in for tea ($29.95), served while you wear your Ranjana Khan Prayer Bead Necklace ($349.95), while perched peacefully on your Taj pillows ($59.95).

By the time we reach Bali, you’ll need some “me” time. So make sure you have the EPL Perlier White Lotus Body Cream ($24.50) and the EPL Perlier Shower Gel ($22). Slip into your V by Eva Tie-Dye Print Dress ($99) and pick up one of your three EPL journals ($24.95) to record the best of your day for posterity.

One of the journals featured online showed this entry: “Endless days of sandals, slouchy bags and lip gloss. There’s a reason they call this paradise.” Or this one: “Everything tastes as good as it sounds. Or sounds as good as it tastes.” Wait a minute. Lip gloss = paradise? Something sounds as good as it tastes? What?

So there it is, courtesy of EPL and HSN. Just about $1,000 later, you, too, can be part of the “one-of-a-kind shopping experience featuring new discoveries in the spirit of EPL.”

Once again, as I have felt at different points of my life, I believe I’m missing some kind of girl gene. I remain mystified by the phenomenon that is EPL. Even if I don’t tune in to shop, and even if I don’t buy a ticket to the movie, I’ll feel surrounded by this societal zeitgeist that leaves me wishing that I, too, could escape for a while.

I know! I’ll just pack my Clever Carriage Company Hand-Embroidered Zardosi Leather Satchel (hand made in Indian cottage industries, $659.50) and escape. Maybe I’ll take a quick trip the ashram and just chill. With some outstanding wine and great pasta, after I consult my spiritual advisor.

Or I could just poke hot needles in my eyes. Which may be less painful than a weekend of this nonsense.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Neologism of the day: Incrankulous. That cranky feeling that inevitably sets in following something incredible that is - let's face it - annoying.

Not to go all 27 Dresses on you but true confession: I love the Sunday Styles Section.

Almost every week, I spend a few minutes skimming the Times wedding announcements trying to figure out which couple:

Spent the most money [although not likely their own] on college educations

Which couple had earned the most impressive degrees

Whose parents had the most notable backgrounds

Whose parents seemed to have the most humble resumes

What couple appeared to be truly soulmates / truly adorable

Who had the most charming “how we met” story

And finally –

Who was the most annoying bride, groom or couple? You knew I had to fit that last one in, right?

My rules are simple. All decisions by the judges (me) are final. And no pressure to fill every category every week. But I’m troubled when the facts appear too close to call from one couple to the next, which – if you read the Styles section – is often the case. I mean, how do you measure a Harvard, Harvard Law + Stanford, London School of Economics against a Harvard, Harvard Law + Yale, MIT PhD? I know, right? Impossible.

This past week, my most adorable couple had rather bohemian leanings. Their interests included photography and poetry, farming and learning to make cheese. I loved them. They registered for goats and farm equipment instead of china. Granted, their family backgrounds led me to believe that someone very close to them could easily deliver an entire herd of goats to their charming little farm but whatever. That’s typical for every couple mentioned, although I’ve never read about another couple asking for livestock as wedding gifts.

The couples who marry in their 60s and 70s do nothing but leave me in awe. The optimism and the “I’m giving this another shot”-ness of it all is spectacular. God bless.

Last week, though, I did find a winner in the annoying category. Not so much for me, but for every single person out there who has so much to give, with such a positive attitude. For every man and woman who, despite all good intentions and optimism toward the online dating world, hasn’t made a lasting connection. One of this week’s couples met online – yay – but the bride recounted her experience this way: “I was on literally for 48 hours before I met him.”

That’s just super, isn’t it?

Maybe this is all a result of unfortunate editing. Maybe her next lines were something like: "I know how that sounds and believe me, I know my story is unusual. I wish everyone could have the same experience with online dating that we had! We both feel incredibly lucky!!"

Let me digress for a moment here to say that several years ago, I worked with not one, but two women, who accompanied me to my company’s blood drive one day to donate blood. Not one, but both of them, were turned away because they were underweight. That’s right: They were too thin to donate blood. (Yes, your assumptions are correct. I was not turned away. Let’s leave it at that.)

So why bring this up now? Turns out, this is exactly the kind of circumstance you keep to yourself. The very notion of being too slim to spare a pint of blood could make the women around you, mmm, incredulous. And maybe a little cranky. Incrankulous. Let’s call it that.

I certainly understand that a young couple in love, telling the story of how they met and their courtship, then announcing their marriage, are insanely happy. Honestly, congratulations and I'm happy for you, in my own way. I wish you the best.

But sharing the story about your online dating membership that lasted all of two days before you met your true love? Even though I’m not in the dating world looking for love, that story made even me feel a little incrankulous. I’m guessing my single and looking-for-love sisters who read it may have felt something similar.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A little slice of heaven right on earth....AKA: a marriage.

For your reading pleasure, a recent exchange at home, as I attempted to coordinate the next few days. I'm wondering if this is me (us), or if something similar plays out across the nation each and every week, with only the details changing from house to house and couple to couple. Do Barack and Michelle do this? Do Joe and Jill? Did they used to?

The people may reverse roles - this isn't a female / male thing - but I wonder.

Who is the person who keeps track of stuff and who is the person who gets updated on the details of the stuff in your house?


Sunday (as we're talking about the coming week):
Me: You know I have that Board meeting Tuesday night, right?

Him: The what?

Me: The board meeting, in Easton....

Him: What time?

Me: 5:30.

Him: How long is it?

Me: I don't know - maybe a few hours.

Him: How many people will be there?

Me: I don't know.

You remember about that meeting Tuesday, right?

What meeting?

The board meeting I told you about.

Oh yeah - what time is that?

5:30 (...and we're off and running on a second round of the above)

So I won't be home for dinner tonight.

Why not?


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Please tell me this is rare. Please.

One day, I hope to never again be taken by surprise when I read the latest news about the insecurity of women and the lengths some of us will go to in order to feel worthwhile.

That day can't come soon enough. Once again, I have to ask: didn't we march about stuff like this? And write millions and millions of words about why this is so unnecessary? And look down on our sisters who cared about insignificant details like this?

That's what I thought, too - and yet...this.

Today's Daily Caller column for your contemplation. I'm starting to believe this kind of thinking is inevitable, as long as there are men and women on the planet, and researchers determined to interview them.