One of the Guys

There was a time in my life when basically all of my friends were gay men.  I call this time “college.”  During that experience, I wrote this in my journal:

So I found myself at a party last night, sitting on a loveseat between two gay guys.  The optimistic side of me thought, Isn’t it fun to be talking to some really great people, no worries?  The cynical side of me, the side that is slowly but surely killing the optimistic side, thought, Yep.  This is my lot in life.

It’s not like I set out to collect them.  I don’t buy into that Sex in the City, every-girl-needs-a-gay thing (you know, where they exist solely to snap out one-liners/take a woman shopping/wear interesting hats).  I just met a lot of great dudes who happened to be into other great dudes.  Perhaps it had to do with working for the theater department for four years, perhaps I have a magic gift.  We’ll never know.

The point is, for the first 25.5 years of my life, I had exactly one (1) consistent straight guy friend.  He’s The Original, the guy who knew me when I dressed like this AND like this, and has stuck with me anyway.  I sort of imagined it would go on like this, me with my boys, my girls (of course I have great girl friends, too), and my one guy forever.

But you know what they say: life is what happens when you’re busy making plans with gay men.

2011 might go down in history as the year I learned to talk to anyone. I can talk to straight men as if they are actual humans, and I am one too. It turns out we have common interests: beer, action movies, football, making fun of one another, nachos…

The Notebook

Also, every one of them loves Ryan Gosling and "The Notebook" more than any girl I've ever met.

And although I still have some wonderful, fabulous boys, there are now a whole lot more guys joining The Original in my corner. Sometimes even they wonder why it has happened; my buddy Mike (editor’s note: I was going to make up a better pseudonym, but when I asked Lacy for help she strongly advocated for “Long Duck Dong” before announcing “I feel like you should know that I’m tipsy.” I’m sticking with “Mike“) recently told me, “Rachel, I spend more time with you than I do with girls.” I frakking love this. Being “one of the guys” is one of the funniest experiences of my life thus far, and I am enjoying every (occasionally smelly) second of it. In fact, I really only want my guys to remember I’m a girl when I need someone to carry heavy objects or intimidate someone for me.

So how has my life changed since that journal entry? A couple of weeks ago, I found myself at my usual table at my local bar surrounded by a bunch of my new guys, when one of them said: “Rachel is better at being one of the guys than I am.”

Yep. If this is my new lot in life, I think I’ll take it.

Advertisements

Football and Famine

There are really only two things on my mind this week.  The first, and I hope it’s on yours too, is famine.  I urge you to look into it yourself and decide if you can help in some way.  The link to the World Food Programme is still in the right sidebar of this page if you need a place to start, or you can sign up to pack food at a special session through Feed My Starving Children.  I went yesterday (and here’s proof that I look goofy in a hairnet) and will be going twice more in the next month.

I’m not going to spout off any more numbers or link to any more pictures today, I’m just going to share this, which I first heard at A’s Naturalization Ceremony:

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you ever can.

attributed to John Wesley (probably incorrectly, but what you can do?)

I said I had two things on my mind this week, and you can probably guess the other from the title.  Yes, when I’m not thinking about famine, I am thinking about football.

I once theorized that my relationship with the Minnesota Vikings is not unlike my relationship with men (why yes, this theory was developed in a bar!):  1) I care very strongly for them; they are basically unaware I exist.  2) I am always looking for a good tight end; they are always looking for a horny blonde.

Vikings Fan

Like that.

3) Eventually I’m going to have to stop pinning all my hopes and dreams on men who wear purple and tight pants and chase each other.  4) And finally, it’s all my father’s fault.

From age 2-6, Bonding With Pops meant watching whatever action movie was on television while falling asleep on the couch.  They have fused in my memory into one long action movie I like to call Crocodile Die Hard Jones and the Hunt for the Lethal Weapons Under Siege 2. From ages 7-12, Bonding With Pops meant getting outdoorsy and going camping and fishing.  Sadly, this camping tradition ended about when my dad woke up to me burning an entire deck of cards, one at a time.  I wish I was kidding; that is super creepy.  Ever since, Bonding With Pops has simply involved sports, and it started with the Vikings.

Together, we watched the 1998-1999 season with as much pride (and then overwhelming despair) as the rest of the state, and despite that famous miss, I was hooked.  In 2000, Pops took me to the Vikings training camp to watch a scrimmage.  The facts say that I was fifteen at the time, but the memories suggest I was closer to seven.  I was giddy to be there, with Pops, watching Cris Carter! Robert Smith! JOHN RANDLE! And we were in the front row, somehow; probably because Pops is early for everything (I did not inherit this trait), but at the time I was pretty sure it was because my dad was magic and/or secretly important.  I thought this might be the case when he perked up at some announcement and said, “I think that’s my cousin Rod doing the announcing.”

Before I could say, “You have a cousin Rod and why aren’t we using this relationship to get VIP treatment?” The announcer said, “and here comes the quarterback, Cunningham.  Uh, I mean Culpepper…”  To which the crowd gave a little boo and Pops said, “Yep. That’s Rod alright.”  I decided not to follow this lead for VIP treatment.

Despite needing to be the first person in his seat that day, Pops couldn’t stay in it for long.  He got us a bag of popcorn that (again, in my memory) was as big as me, and I was not a small kid.  He also ran off and bought me a Cris Carter jersey.  Again, I was not a small kid, but Pops overshot it a bit — to this day, we call that my “Cris Carter dress.”  I loved it immediately.

After the scrimmage, we went to the autograph line.  Pops plopped me next to the gate with my camera and my notebook and disappeared while I gawked, star-struck, as all the pros walked past me and the rookies stopped to sign autographs.

If you’re wondering what kind of father would leave his teenage daughter alone in a crowd like that, so was I.  I finally brought this part of the memory up to my dad last week.  “Where did you go?” I asked, thinking he ran away from the crowd to smoke.  He stared at me.  “I was right behind you,” he said.  “I had a hand on each of your shoulders!  Don’t you remember?  You were the same height as Denny Green!”  What kind of father would leave his teenage daughter alone in that crowd?  Not mine.  You’d think I’d remember being held in place by a large man, but no.  There is no large man in my memory other than John Randle.  I may be a terrible daughter with a foggy memory of one of the best days of my young life but eh! John Randle!

John Randle

Actual picture that I actually took of the actual John Randle. I am that bad of a photographer, and I was that excited. I'm still proud of this.

That was the last time my dad and I went to a scrimmage; as far as I know, he does not even own any Vikings apparel (but he could probably fit into the Cris Carter dress, too), whereas I’ve upped the ante with a “cousin” Adrian Peterson jersey, a Vikings sweatshirt, two or three t-shirts, and one of those sweet blonde-with-horns hats (I will fool you yet, men).  I was banned from The Boys’ apartment after Favre threw the last interception of 2010 and I let out a guttural scream that scared the cats.   And I once picked a fight in New Orleans, with a Priest, because he was wearing a Drew Brees jersey.  Pops and I haven’t watched a game together in years, and we’ve never been to a game together.  I’ve never been to a game at all.  But I’m still a huge Vikings fan, and it’s definitely all my father’s fault.

Love you, Pops.

SKOL VIKINGS!

Best Things of the Week! (An experiment)

A little background: I started this blog a few weeks ago because my teacher told me to.  For maybe the first time ever, I have genuinely loved doing my homework; whether the topic is Twitter or Target, I just like to write.  But there’s one topic I’d really like to write about more: me. I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a separate, me-in-real-life blog, but I can’t decide on a name (although top prizes to Sabrina for her submission, Rach-Elm Disease), and I also don’t know if the separation is necessary or if anyone would read it.  So this is my first (and maybe last) non-homework related post, an experiment in creativity — and by creativity I mean I completely ripped off this idea from my old friend theshooz.  Anyway.  Here goes.

1. The Boys

Last weekend, I went to visit two of my best friends, collectively known as The Boys.  They used to live in the Cities, but moved to Iowa a few months ago for work and school.  This was obviously a bad decision, and I’m still trying to get them to see the light and come back to me.

The Boys like comics (and comic book stores and superhero movies and games involving superhero characters) and karaoke, but mainly they like making jokes at my expense.  Sometimes I wonder why I put up with this abuse (or actively seek it out by driving for four hours) but then I remember that they once did this:

The boys as Gob and Tobias

The Boys dressed as GOB and Tobias for my birthday.

Clearly, they are worth it as people.

2. Free movie!

Constantly signing up for online contests and email lists paid off this week with two free passes to a preview screening of Horrible Bosses at the ICON theater in St. Louis Park.  Not only is that fast becoming my favorite theater in the Cities (the VIP section is amazing), I got to feel all kinds of important by seeing the movie a week before it actually premieres.

I don’t actually know why I was given these tickets, but pretending I’m a critic, I give the movie about a B.  I would recommend Horrible Bosses to fans of The Hangover or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  So…not my mom.  Probably not your mom, either.  That’s about all I can think to say about it — Roger Ebert, your job is probably safe.

3. “Free” Twins tickets!

On Saturday I ventured to Target Field to watch the Twins fall apart to the Brewers.  Despite the loss, it was a gorgeous day at a gorgeous field.  My favorite player, Michael Cuddyer, hit a home run for me.  And I got to sit directly behind this guy:

trifecta of cool

Jean shorts, cut off top, pink fanny pack: trifecta of cool.

The tickets were “free” in the sense that I donated money to the American Diabetes Association and they sent me tickets.  This is actually the second Twins game the ADA has sent me to this year (follow the ADA on Twitter!).

Sitting in the golden glove

Sitting in the Golden Glove outside of Target Field. Apparently my legs are half as long as my friend's.

So that was the week that was.  What do you think, should I keep up this “feature?” Do I need to pay theshooz royalties for stealing her idea?  Is the world just waiting for a Rach-Elm Disease blog?