Man Christmas

20 12 2010

Neck deep in holiday party season, you know I couldn’t let it slip by without a few basic observations.

First of all, I feel like Christmas becomes such a caricature of itself by the time you’re in your 20s, because you’re too old to take it as seriously as a kid does, too young (if you’re not a parent yet) to have to take it seriously for the sake of your kids, but still have some of enough Christmas excitement leftover from childhood that you can’t help but enthusiastically celebrate the season.

So we embrace all those holiday traditions– the songs, the cards, the trees, the eggnog, the presents– but we twist them into ironic, R-rated versions of themselves. Instead of a family Christmas card, we stand in front of the mantle in ugly Christmas sweaters and awkwardly grope our housemates for a photo. Instead of red and green bulb ornaments, we hang empty beer cans from the tree with fishing twine. Instead of Secret Santa, someone throws an erotic gift exchange party, where everyone competes to see whose gift can make people the most uncomfortable (i.e. used Handerpants).

I’m not really sure what all this is about. It’s like some kind of weird, quarter-life, not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman Christmas crisis we all go through. It’s like we think that we can get away with loving/celebrating a holiday really hard while going out of our way to make it clear to the world that we recognize how arbitrary and consumer-driven and absurd Christmas has become, and in doing that we absolve ourselves from all the shame.

My second observation, along the same lines, is how amusing it is to watch men try to throw Christmas parties. As a standard for comparison, my three lady roommates and I threw a holiday party two weeks ago. We sent out an Evite weeks in advance with a specific 8 pm start time, had a series of talks about how we were going to divide up the cleaning and house decorating labor the weekend of the party, made eggnog-tinis with grated nutmeg, baked brownies (an extra batch for the neighbors!), had Christmas lights twinkling in the fireplace, pine-scented candles, Christmas carols on the iPod– the whole shebang. Of course, we also ordered a keg, took the obligatory lesbian prom mantle photo, and ended up burning our own deck furniture in the fire, but the whole time we were planning the party we were really torn between our desire to have the kind of classy Christmas party real adults throw and our desire to have a loosely-themed keg party.

Then yesterday, I went to a holiday party thrown by a house of five men. They sent out an email that said the party started at 2 pm, but when my roommate and I arrived circa 3:30 pm, the guys laughed at us and said the 2pm start time was obviously a joke, that half of them weren’t even home yet from work and various other Christmas parties, and that the actual party was probably going to start around 11. NINE hours later.  We asked them whether it occurred to them that some people, namely Women, might take the start time seriously, and they said that yes, that did occur to them, but they decided to let it roll and see what idiots showed up early.

This turned out to be great, because we got to observe first-hand the debacle that is five men preparing for a Christmas party.

I’ll paint the scene for you: every ornament on the tree was an empty beercan, some of them sliced and scrunched up to look like space ships. The “angel” at the top of the tree was an upside-down wine bottle with tin foil wings. There were five stockings on the mantle, and they were stuffed with all of the roommates’ current belongings. Two men were sitting on the couch wrapping up various household items to put under the tree, including a beer opener, the remote control, a handful of Chex mix, a pen, door handle (still attached to the door), a Smirnoff Ice, an orange and my half-empty can of Miller Lite (wrapped while I was in the bathroom)… because in addition to wanting the look of a full present pile, they thought it would be really funny and exciting to go back and open all those items later that they forgot they had wrapped.

There was no stress about having enough food or alcohol. There was no stress about music, no manic housecleaning, no brownies to the neighbors, no moving of furniture to accommodate potential dance floors. They just wrapped up their beer cans, put them under the tree, took naps, ordered themselves Chinese food and then came downstairs to join the party.

I normally don’t spend my days wishing I were a man, but every once in a while, when I get a glimpse of a phenomenon like this, I can’t help but resent my X chromosome.

Hope you guys are having a smangin’ holiday season.


I’ve got the blacklung, Pop.

14 12 2010

I haven’t forgotten about you, blog. I just have bronchitis, and when I’m sick I have trouble doing anything besides sitting on my couch watching 16 and Pregnant marathons.

New post coming soon.

Your Mustache Makes Me Gag

7 12 2010

I was standing in line at Potbelly on Friday, just quietly contemplating whether I was more in the mood for roast beef or tuna salad, when the young man standing in front of me turned his head about 30 degrees to the right to reveal the two-inch long, reddish brown, twisted and waxed-out mustache protruding from his face.  I actually threw up in my mouth a little, and by that I mean literally gagged up a variety of stomach acids into my mouth cavity at the sight of this repulsive, narcissistic, hair-product-encrusted atrocity poking out of this man’s face.  It was all I could do not to grab it and yank it as hard as I could until he screamed for mercy and then say, “Oh, my bad. I didn’t realize that was supposed to be there.”

Exacerbating the unspeakable grossness of this man’s pointy, perpetually wet-looking mustache were an ironic Fidel Castro hat, neon hipster sneakers and prescriptionless thick-rimmed glasses.

Fidel Castro=Cuban dictator

You=huge tool.

This got me thinking about mustaches in general and how creepy they are when men grow them to get attention, and how this “Movember” trend of dudes growing mustaches through the month of November to raise money for charity actually has a negative net impact on the world. Sure, that cancer foundation you say you’re donating the money to will have an extra $159 to continue to not come up with a cure for anything, but everyone who has the great misfortune of standing near your face during that month has to deal with the emotional anguish of an image that’s burned into their brains forever.  Do the ends really justify the means?

Be honest: you’re not growing that mustache because you think the proceeds will cure cancer. You’re growing it because you love the idea of people having to discuss your face every time they see you.  You love the feeling of power you get when somebody reaches into her wallet and hands you a $5 bill for no reason other than the fact that your hair follicles are functioning on schedule.  You want people to take a look at that big roach stretched across your upper lip and know that A) you have enough testosterone to squeeze out a real mustache, and B) you are so cool and confident that you are willing to sacrifice being attractive for the sake of “charity.”

Well I’m hip to your tricks, mustachioed men, and I would like to state for the record that there is only one person in the world who can pull off a thick manly mustache without any surrounding facial hair to dilute its impact, and his name is Tom Selleck.

Please take a good, hard look at this picture.  If this man is not you, then do us all a favor and promptly shave your charitable ironic mustache so I can go back to keeping my food down.