Saturday, October 11, 2008

Italian Orthodox

I think my life jumped the shark this weekend. For those of you not in the know as to what exactly this means, "jumping the shark" is a term for a TV show that has gotten so ridiculous that it loses its appeal; it comes from a late episode of Happy Days when the Fonz was water-skiing in his leather jacket and literally (or as literally as one gets in a TV show) jumped over a shark. Well, I wasn't wearing a leather jacket, I've never water-skied in my life, and I certainly was nowhere near a shark (I don't like sharks), but I was definitely feeling a bit like the storyline of my life had veered from pleasantly quirky to unforgivably ridiculous.

Seriously, at what point does falling for the wrong guy stop being a problem and start being a talent? I think it's the moment when you start using your past failed relationships as fodder for humorous blog postings. Channel your bitterness into something productive and voilĂ ! Even if you don't have a boyfriend, you'll have legions of devoted fans, so when your blog is turned into a wildly successful book of essays, you can be assured of an excellent turn-out for all the readings in your cross-country book tour. Although, let's be honest, if this blog was turned into a novel, there are few places in the middle of the country in which I would be welcome to read. But enough of the tangent! I'm sure you're thinking, "Enough chit-chat! Enough build-up! You're giving me blog-related blue balls! What, oh what, could have happened in your life to make you think that you have jumped the shark!?"

I got dumped last week for not being Italian enough. Seriously. I was told that I did not reflect the "orthodox cultural traditions" of a specific Italian region. Now, I ask you, what the hell does that mean?

It seems that God, having run out of normal reasons to have someone dump you, decided to reach into his bag of tricks last week and just have a laugh at my expense. There are many reasons that I can understand for a break-up, from the really good ones like "I'm sorry, but we're fundamentally different," to the ones that aren't particularly nice but are extremely true like "I'm sorry, but I can't picture myself having sex with you on a regular basis, or really even once." There's even the ridiculous ones that one simply can't escape in this world, like "I'm sorry, but you like mayonnaise." All unavoidable stories in most of our lives (if you're one of the people who fell in love when you were 15, and have been living in bliss since then, you shut your mouth right now). However, I feel this last one is really beyond the pale.

It seems at first glance to fall into the "I'm sorry, but you like mayonnaise" category, but ultimately, the thing that moves it beyond this is the fact that (if I may continue the metaphor) I HATE mayonnaise. Or, to bring it back to reality, I AM Italian. Not 100%, being a good old-fashioned American mutt, but it certainly is the culture I most identify with. My family has lasagna at Thanksgiving. I believe it's important to make more food than a group of people could possibly consume at one gathering "just in case." And I often reassure my friends that my brother and sister-in-law aren't arguing...that's just how they talk. If I'm now being dumped by someone who judges me not Italian enough, what is next I ask you? Will I be dumped for not being gay enough? "I'm sorry, but you think Queer as Folk was an American tragedy?" "I'm sorry, but you hate cosmos!?" "I'M SORRY BUT YOUR UNDERWEAR ARE NOT 2(X)IST BRAND!?!"

Okay, so those probably won't happen. However, to avoid such run-ins in the future, I propose that everyone start being a little bit more honest about their bag of hair. What I'm referring to, of course, is my and Victoria's oft-proven hypothesis that we like to call The Bag of Hair Theory. This, incidentally, should not be confused with someone referred to as "dumb as a box of hair." One's a bag. One's a box. Totally different. Anyway, The Bag of Hair Theory goes like this. Picture it: you've been on a few dates, and things are proceedingly swimmingly. Conversation? Witty banter abounds! Check! Sense of humor? Funny, but realizes that you're funnier! Double check! Attractive? Won the David Wright look-alike contest! Triple check! And even better, I just realized what I want for my birthday next year...

So there you are, having gone on a few dates, and you have decided that you're going to go see your new beau's apartment. You walk in, a bit apprehensive as to what's going to greet you, but not to worry! Things are neat and clean without looking like he spit-polished the table for your visit. There are no dirty dishes in the sink, but a small pile of mail sits haphazardly on the kitchen table, giving it a nice lived-in feel. You enter the bedroom. The bed is made, but there are no dirty socks on the floor. A quick scouting mission to the bathroom, and everything's flushed, but look, he leaves the cap off of the toothpaste! You immediately decide that there is nothing more adorable in the world than this, and picture yourself rolling your eyes indulgently as you screw the cap on for him every morning once you live together. In fact, you're relieved to have found a tiny, miniscule, almost unbearably cute flaw. It's like his drawback is puppies.

And so you allow yourself to relax. Which is, of course, your downfall.

When he gets up to get some water for you (he is, after all, a perfect gentleman), you wander over to his closet, and innocently look in to scout the shirts that you plan on borrowing for yourself once the relationship inevitably progresses to the next level. And even as you rejoice at his impeccable taste in vertically striped button-downs, you look down...and notice a large garbage bag on the floor of the closet. The garbage bag is curiously full, almost bursting with something, and you inquisitively look closer. At this moment, he walks back into the room.

"Hey, what's this?" you ask.

"That? Oh, that's the bag where I keep all of my hair clippings. You know, from trips to the stylist. I've been keeping all of them for years."

And that's the bag of hair. I'm not referring to the fact that he calls the hairdresser the stylist, although this would obviously also be a huge issue. I'm talking about the literal bag of hair sitting on his closet floor, the bag of hair that has made you realize that this relationship was doomed from the moment he first placed a shorn lock into a Gladware product.

Of course, the bag of hair is only a metaphor. We all have a bag of hair. Some of us have baggage from past relationships; some of us think that putting rainbow sprinkles on chocolate ice cream is not only grounds for breaking up with someone, but is actually cause for physical violence. But we must remember that some are honest about their bag of hair, while some people hide it for as long as they possibly can and try to fool people into thinking that they're "normal."

So I beg you, all of you: let your freak flag fly! Believe me, whoever it is that you're dating is a complete weirdo as well. You just have to find the person who's bag of hair is something that you can live with, and hope that they can live with yours. Here, I'll start: if I call you and you don't call me back, I will, as Heart once sang, go crazy on you. Oh, and that rainbow sprinkles on chocolate ice cream thing? That's me too.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BookWench said...

What an ass. If he doesn't realize how lucky he was to have you then he isn't smart enough for you anyway. I mean have you SEEN you. You're adorable. And I've had your homemade pasta sauce, in fact I still have dreams about it, you are PLENTY Italian. Grrr. If I were there I would kick him.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You and be both, kid. You and me both.