Archive for April, 2009

The Stupidest Casting Email Ever

Got an email the other day that was pretty out there.

Here it is:
“Hello Thank you for the prompt response, all information is currently being processed.”

Hello? You have only said a few words and I already hate you. “My information is being processed?” Why do you sound like the auto-response I get from JCrew when I place an order? More familiar with online shopping than with casting perhaps?

“The last few successful applicants will be responded to in the next couple of days, with an invite to the auditions.”

Ok, now it sounds like some sweepstakes or something. “The last few successful applicants?” All this needs is a “SO ACT NOW” at the end of it. So very Publisher’s Clearing House.

“If you would like to contact me personally, or maybe have a discussion about anything regarding the film, auditions etc, I am always about on Ind-E-Focus.”

Ah, no, I really DON’T want to contact you personally. Why would I want to contact you PERSONALLY? I know NOTHING about this film. What project are you talking about? Does it have a name?

“As I mentioned in my original casting call, I am using Ind-E-Focus to keep an online account of all cast and crew applicants, it is a lot easier for me to keep all of your details here and respond to you instantly.”

Ah, easy for you. What about me? IS IT EASY FOR ME? And what is so instant about it? I think email is pretty instant. And whatever you “mentioned” I don’t remember. I don’t remember reading anybody’s casting call. No one does. We hit “reply” and send our info into cyberspace and forget about it. If we did remember all of them we would have to be rainman like. And why would I be interested in how you are keeping track of all the “applicants”?

“I will look out for you on Ind-E-Focus, any doubts of my whereabouts, check my profile page under my username: LaylaQ”

No, I have no doubts about your WHEREABOUTS, only your IQ LaylaQ. Am I am sitting around wondering where Layla is? Is she at the supermarket? Is she online shopping at JCrew? I wonder where she is?

“There you may personal message me and send across your details. I have created a post in the message boards titled System Defect, but it has now been locked, however, so keep checking this post.”

Great idea. I have nothing else to do. I will definitely keep checking it until it is unlocked. Right. No problem. I am already loving how “instant” this all is. Great idea sending everyone to a message board that is locked. That is so original. I’m sure your project is going to be SUPER ORGANIZED when in production.

“I will be informing everyone when the audition process is finalized and the applicants have all been chosen.
Best of Luck
LaylaQ”

Best of Luck? No, no, best of luck to you in producing a film.

And really, luck? What is this the lottery? Are all our names on little balls and are they are spinning in some cage somewhere and the winners are gonna pop out or something?

Once again, actors want to be contacted with an audition time and place. The end. Whatever happens in between is your business.

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Port Of No Authority

Every time my husband and I go somewhere in the car we have a ritual. As we pull out of the garage and plug in the itunes I turn to him and say, “I love driving!” and he says, “Yeah? What part of driving do you like?” Because Cranky Queen of the Subways does not drive. Cranky is strictly a passenger.

And yesterday I realized I have to do something about this. Yesterday, when I had to take the loser bus to visit an ailing relative in a hospital in an area where no trains go. A loser bus from Port Authority. The loser station.

I have some traumatic memories of buses and yesterday brought them all back to me.

Cranky, like every other actor, is the product of a broken home. “Mommy” lived in Westchester and “Daddy” lived in Boston. And one year someone had the brilliant idea to put me on a loser bus instead of having “Daddy” drive back and forth from Boston. I was maybe eleven. Who are these people? What kind of parents were they? Did they even care if I lived or died? Stick an eleven-year old on a bus to another state? This is why I always say you should love your parents, but don’t take them too seriously.

I remember it clearly. I was creeped out. On top of everything, it was night. It was winter. I was going to see “Daddy” for Christmas vacation. The first near disaster came when the bus driver pulled into a diner parking lot and told everyone they had a fifteen-minute break.

I went in and sat at the counter.  I felt weird because I had never been in a restaurant alone before.  I ordered tea. I never drank tea. But for some reason, I felt that ordering a cup of tea went along with this whole new grown up life my parents had obviously pushed me into. So the tea comes and it is hot. Very very hot. So I sit there blowing on the tea hoping it will cool off enough for me to take a sip. Blowing and blowing and blowing. And then this waitress walks over to me and says. “Honey, aren’t you on that bus to Boston?” I say, “Ah, yea.” “Well you better get out there, ‘cause it’s leaving.” I swiveled off my stool and ran as fast as I could and caught the bus as it was leaving the parking lot. I had to bang on the doors to get the driver to let me on.

I mean really Mommy and Daddy, what would have happened if I didn’t catch it? Being the highly impractical kid I was, I might have attempted to walk all the way home on the Boston Post Road and then never been seen again. Hello? I was eleven.

So back on the loser bus after we left the diner, some man gets up and comes and sits next to me. I didn’t want anyone sitting next to me. It would cut into my daydreaming staring out the window time. But I couldn’t say anything. He was a grown up. He had been drinking, and even though I was young, I could tell he was trying to impress me by being witty and charming. He stunk like sickening cigarette smoke and booze. He was acting all like above it all and intellectual. And I thought to myself. “Yeah, right. You have to be a poor schmuck at the bottom of the barrel otherwise you wouldn’t be on this loser bus.” Luckily he fell asleep from the booze and left me alone the rest of the trip.

No wonder I ended up dating eighteen year olds when I was twelve. It was my parent’s fault. They wanted an adult. They got one. I could get into bars at thirteen. It must have been my worldly experience with the loser bus that made me pass. Or my parent’s insouciance for my safety.

That was the only time I took the bus to Boston. As was my M.O., I told my parents the hilarious story of almost missing the bus and the drunk man. “Isn’t that funny?” I laughed. “What a riot! Ha ha!” Thus proving the fact that comedy is born of pain.

Then there was the time I was going to visit a friend in lovely Farmingdale, CT. But to get to lovely Farmingdale I had to pass through the horror that was Port Authority at the time. It was early in the morning and when one of the pimp population said something weird to me I said, “What did you say?” And I started crying. It was too early. I hadn’t put on my hard New York exterior yet.

So yesterday’s bus ride brought all this back to me.

During the ride, I kept thinking my cell phone was ringing and grabbing it out of my purse and looking at it for like the first hour of the loser bus trip. “What’s that noise?” I thought to myself. It kept happening. Then I realized that the snore of the man sitting behind me sounded exactly like my new cell phone ring, which is jungle birds. See, this is what you get on the loser bus. People who snore like jungle birds in the middle of the day.

On the ride back there was someone yelling into their cell phone in Spanish. And a crying baby. And a yelling mother, “STOP! STOP! STOP! DON’T TOUCH!” And the man across the aisle had on frayed khaki pants and a red hoodie with the hood pulled up over his preternaturally tanned skin. He looked seriously insane. If my husband would have driven me to visit my ailing relative, I could have avoided the loser bus. But that wasn’t going to happen.

I Can Write, But I Can’t Write A Cover Letter

For some reason I have always reacted badly to requests for a cover letter when submitting my headshot/resume for a project. “Write a cover letter stating why you would like to work on this project and tell us something about yourself.” I would always stare and stare at this request and mentally freeze up. Then I would try to think of what I would HONESTLY say. Um ah, um ah,,.. How about:

Dear Filmmaker:
I would like this role because I really wanna role. You have a role. I need a role. Sounds like we are perfect for each other.
Thanks,
Cranky

No, no, no… How about:

Dear Filmmaker:
It is three o’clock in the afternoon and I haven’t left my house yet. The only thing I accomplished today is I trimmed my dog’s toe hairs. Oh, oh, and I got food delivered. It would be so nice to have something to do. Like your film for instance.
Waiting to hear from you,

Cranky

No, I don’t think so. What can I say?

Dear Filmmaker:
The three-word description of the plot of your film gave me chills. I was so inspired. Let’s put this inspiration on film.

With enthusiasm,
Cranky

That sucked. Um ah, or:

Dear Filmmaker:
I’m a really good actress. I am also a good person. And my friends think I am funny. My husband also used to think I was funny. It took him seventeen years to get bored and I’m sure we will finish this film quicker than that.

Laughing out loud,
Cranky

I never could get myself to send a cover letter. And now that I have seen cover letters that other actors wrote I know why. Here are some examples:

#1 – This one is really priceless. I’m pretty funny. But, I could never, never, never make this up:

Dear Filmmaker:
I believe I could show the tenderness and eroticism of the passion of the relationship as well as the fierceness of the violence of the character. During my many classes the subject of the duality of man was always a factor. People generally try to hide their feelings out of fear of rejection, and inside us all we have the animalistic forces of nature that we must battle to keep hidden – when we lose control all that we have bottled up will explode, the heat of the passion of the moment is careless to the regrets such actions will create. Through my Meiser training I have learnt to affect my co-star through a variety of emotions. Unfortunately, I haven’t been lucky enough to be in any plays or films. Now that I am one of the many unemployed I have all the time in the world to dedicate myself to this craft I love so much.
Henry

Way to go Henry. You haven’t been lucky enough to BE in any films. Nice. Sell yourself by telling them you’ve done zip so far and are a member of the mass unemployed. And misspell the name of your method – Meisner, my dear, MEISNER.

#2 – This is new. Very new. A genius name-dropping technique:

Dear Filmmaker:
I studied drama at Kenyon College. Kenyon College alums include Paul Newman, Allison Janney, Josh Radner and Jay Cocks.
Annie

#3-Must be a friend of Henry’s:

Dear Filmmaker:

I am interested in this film and would love to be a part of it. I don’t have a lot of experience, but I hope to change that.
Rick

#4-Proofreading really does help in life:

Dear Filmmaker:
Would love to audition for a role in Rain Puddle. I long to do a Horror or Horror/Fantasy film. Have been a major fan since I was a (really) young.
Becky

A really young what? Puppy?

#5-So interested he says it twice, well three times:

Dear Filmmaker:
think your film sounds very interesting.
I am very interested in this feature, sounds very exciting and challenging. I would love to be a part of it.
I would love to be part of this film, it sounds really cool!
Chris

#6-Another marketing revolution:

Dear Filmmaker:

I know how to act in front of the camera both on HD and also on 16mm real film, so I have had the experience of both takes.
Danny

I didn’t know there are special acting techniques for HD vs. film. And a “take” is the filming of a scene.

#7-Once again proofreading is important:

Dear Filmmaker:
I’m an Actor as well as a Singer/Songwriter so maybe a Director out there may want a Song wrote for their Film or someone to Sing in their Film and if so you can contact me here in personal message…
Albert

Not sure if this is who they would hire if they wanted a song wrote. If you read the above in a Southern/Appalachian accent it sounds better, hope he is a Country/Western singer.

#8-Unintentional potty humor:

Dear Filmmaker:
I will bring that darkness in emotion, the transition between innocent love and raw desire. That’s what I have to offer.

Everything that comes out of me is real. If you think this is something you want, let me know.
Martin

#9-Needs to go to Match.com:

Dear Filmmaker:

A little about myself – I’m an actor and classically trained singer (though have fun with all genres of music!) currently based in London. I speak French and Spanish, have an EU passport, and love to travel. I have recently been getting into more film work, though theatre will always be exciting and invigorating to me. Aside from acting/singing, I love reading books, drinking coffee, people watching, and having a good night out dancing.
I look forward to meeting you soon!
Jonathan

Forget about and acting job. Someone should snap this guy up and marry him.

#10-I’m at a loss for words:

Dear Filmmaker:
im not sure what i need to put here
the only acting experience i have is drama throughout high school
and the plays i cowrote in yr 11 and 12
but i hope im still given achance even with my lack of experience

dougy

#11-Also new. Auditions as credits:

Dear Filmmaker:

I am just starting to look for work as an actress as I’ve not long left college so have a lot of experience, though not professional at the moment. I do have a couple of auditions lined up though.

Ginny

#12-Also a creative approach: astrology as a selling point:

Dear Filmmaker:
I take myself and what I bring to a production quite seriously. Anything less makes the production less, and we cannot have that! As for what I can bring to this character, the only truly accurate way is to sum up my personality via my sign, the scorpio: determined, forceful, emotional, intuitive, passionate, magnetic, compulsive, obsessive, secretive.

Paul

All of the above proves that there is NOTHING logical or sensible to say in a cover letter about an acting job. It may seem like I am making fun of the people who wrote these letters, but really I sympathize with them. And admire them for trying, because whenever a cover letter was required, Cranky couldn’t do it. Knew she couldn’t do it and never even tried.
We need a movement to stamp out the cover letter. Asking actors to do this is considered cruel.
Watch my reel, read my resume, look at my picture. The end. If you wanna see if I can act, ask me to read. Do not ask me to tell you why you should hire me.

Directors Who Talk Talk Taaaaaalk Too Much

Had an audition yesterday that took a looooong time. I felt bad because I knew the actress after me had an appointment to make. I was in there over half an hour. Most of the time it was the director talking. I don’t know what he was talking about.

“Well, the script we sent you is not in the actual film we are filming. That script is from the longer full version. We are filming the short six-minute version. But later we will be filming a full version. Maybe you should read a scene that is actually in the film,” he says. “Well then why did you send it to me and why did I memorize it? I THINK. But, “Whatever you want to do,” is what I SAY.

He looks through a pile of sides and finds the one that he wants. I have never seen it before. He slides it across the table and asks me to read it. Out loud. No preparation. No idea what the next line might be about. Like acting is some kind of dog trick. And I’m reading with his assistant who looks like a Sylvia Plath wannabe with major social awkwardness issues who reads so fast I cannot understand, follow or respond to her. With hair hanging in her face to complete the picture. What rock did these people crawl out from under?

And then he talks and talks and talks some more.

I start wondering if he planned the whole switch the script routine to see how actors would respond. If I gave a crap, I would be concerned, because if I can spend a little time with a script I can do something with it. But I act totally affable about the whole thing which shows Cranky really can ACT.

The whole cluelessness of the situation was making Cranky tired and I just wanted to leave now.

The director has this look on his face like, “YES, finally, I am in charge” as he talks and talks and talks.” He is never gonna zip it ever again. His megalomania has been under wraps for a long time and has found an outlet in DIRECTOR. There is no stopping it. He is sucking all the air out of the room. I am not there as actress, but as his audience.

He continues, “How about you read another character?” And proceeds to tell me HER whole life story. Including names, and I kept getting her husband’s name and her son’s name mixed up when he was talking, so the story made no sense. It was something about a little league game and a dinner. It went on and on and on. And once again my acting skills come into play because I am able to look totally interested and engaged and COMPREHENDING the whole time. A little nod of the head here, a little thoughtful look there. Then he hands me the script and this character says TWO WORDS. I am not kidding,TWO WORDS. After the twenty-minute build up with the little league and all.

This is what happens when a director is high on his project. Nice for him, but does not help me. My little actress animal self just wants what’s in the script and how it will affect her. My actress animal does not want to listen to someone who loves to hear himself talk and talk and talk and talk.

Directors who talk too much make my eyes glaze over. I’m an intuitive actor. I need a feeling, not a diatribe. The diatribe kills it. I want to find out what the script does to me and no director can tell me that. They can help you mold and hone what you find hopefully.

The thing when the director wants to sit down and spend days going over the script line by line discussing what each word means is death to me. I have no idea what anything means until I do it, say it, AM it. It also really makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when another actor starts talking about the meaning/significance of one of MY lines.

But that’s what those sit down with the script and analyze it sessions lead to. People feel they have to say something. Something intelligent sounding. GAG ME GAG ME. I never feel compelled to say anything if a director does this. I once had to do it for two days. I just wanted it to be over, so I figured the less I contributed the sooner it would end.

“It seems like you’re shutting down,” a director said to me during the torture analysis. Shutting down? “No, no I’m trying to wipe everything out of my mind the minute it is said, so it won’t screw up my rehearsal process,” I thought. But I didn’t say that. I smiled and said, “Oh?” like I was surprised and didn’t mean it.

The teacher I love always says, “Find out what happens to you.” Well nothing much is happening if we’re gonna intellectualize the play and every word in it.

Cranky is an intelligent person but not an intellectual actor. Cranky uses animal brain not intelligent brain to act. I can read a script and find the clues. I’m a writer. Good directors can say the exact few words I need to hear and can like make me cry. “Good directors” being the ones who work the way Cranky likes to work, of course.

How Long Is This Audition?

Got another classic email invitation for an audition yesterday
He wrote:

Hi there,
Here are the details for your audition from 3.30-5pm tomorrow. Please excuse the round robin.
I’ve mentioned that I want people to prepare a short [around a minute] ideally comic piece, I don’t mind what it is – but is should be a piece you enjoy doing! And not too long!
If you could also bring a copy of your headshot and resume that would be great [and a yoga mat if you have one to hand, the floor is stone so we may use them to save our knees].
I am so excited by the quality of the submissions and the sessions should be really fun, banish any nervousness and just come play!
Any questions please shoot me an email otherwise I’ll see you tomorrow.
Chad

I have no idea what he means by “round robin”. The only “round robin” I know about is the one on Tuesday nights at my gym when I go to play squash with a bunch of other people and we switch around. Round Robin? And my appointment is from 3:30pm UNTIL 5pm? Huh? And I am expected to spend an hour and a half at an initial audition? Wrong. At union calls, if you are kept over a certain amount of time they have to PAY YOU. He refers to a piece I enjoy doing? Oh, oh, oh, OK. Great idea. Oh wow. I was gonna do one that I HATE. This will really be something different. Thanks for that brilliant idea. But even if I am “enjoying” it, he makes sure its NOT TOO LONG, saving himself from the extra 60 seconds of boredom in case it totally sucks. Also, he too many exclamation points always seem like the product of a warped mind to me. I find them scary.
Bring a yoga mat for our knees? To save us from the stone floor? What are we going to be doing? Begging for the role? And I love that this bomb is in parentheses. You’ll be kneeling on the floor- but don’t think about that! What is he talking about? Don’t you think a little explanation is in order? What if I went wearing the plaid straight skirt that I have to hold my breath in and we’re expected to jump around or something? Or sit down? “Banish any nervousness?” I wasn’t nervous until I read this email.

Once again this proves the fact that any idiot can “put on a show.” And the sucky reality that people think actors will do anything for a chance at a role. Believe me, I know working is important. But I also think it’s important to have LIMITS. If I went I would not be happy with myself. I would feel like a moron. And I don’t think I would click artistically with this type of person. You know, a stupid one.

The email showed the names of all the actors he was inviting to this round robin of on your knees on the stone floor waste half a day audition. So I hit reply all and sent the below email to him and all the actors on the list:

Hi Chad,
Thanks for inviting me and all.
Sorry to say I won’t be there.
The Midtown Festival is great. I had a play in it ,and it was all very well run.
I’m not morally comfortable with asking actors to invest an hour and a half for an initial audition. So even though it sounds like an awesome project – I must do what I think is right.
Cranky

Once again, I feel like the Norma Rae of the acting world. I can just see the rally – CRANKY ACTRESSES UNITE –everyone in their high-heel boots and tons of Mac mascara and everything.

Facebook or Wastebook; An Addendum to the Addendum

Here are a few articles that Cranky thinks some one seriously needs to write about Facebook:

Scientific Study on the Relationship to OCD and Facebook
“My wife used to be very particular. Nothing out of order in our house. She was kind of a clean nut”, says Ed Edmondson of Chicago, IL. “Now that she is on Facebook she can’t stop checking it, he says. “I found out she once posted 10 times in one day. And now that an old boyfriend showed up on Facebook, I’ve found her getting out of bed and logging on in the middle of the night to see if there are any messages from him. She won’t stop….

Enterprising Group Starting the No. 1 Facebook Detective Agency
The growing popularity of Facebook has been behind the formation of the No. 1 Facebook Detective Agency. The founders of the agency found that there we a lot of people who wanted to know a few things before they pressed confirm or ignore when accepting new friends on the site. “A guy I knew in high school showed up,” says Betty Anderson of Westchester, NY, “But all his posts were between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. What does that mean? And his profile says he is in a relationship, but it also says he is interested in women and looking for dating. How does that work? So I hired the No. 1 Facebook Detective Agency and sure enough, he is a crazy man living in a shack in the woods.”……..

The Facebook Quiz – No Bad Answers?
“Everyone across the board gets an ego lift from taking one of our
Facebook quizzes”, says quiz creator Mike Geekman. The results are all good. We didn’t even include the Mesozoic in the “WHICH ERA DO YOU BELONG IN” quiz, though I’m sure we have members that truly belong there.

12 Steppers Step Right Up On Facebook
“It’s a new thing. People are sending global bulletins on Facebook to everyone they’ve ever known past and present telling them to call them for an apology.” Says Facebook administrator Glenn Particularis. The validity of doing the 12 steps on Facebook has also been called into question by veteran members of AA. “We feel doing it on Facebook doesn’t count,” says long time member John Daniels. “ How serious can you be posting an amends right there with videos of kittens playing in paper bags?”

New Survey Finds People FaceBooking from Asylums Have More Friends Than Ever
The isolation of the insane is now ending thanks to Facebook. Henry Nutter, a long time resident of Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center says, “I can’t believe how many friends I have now thanks to Facebook. And my profile is all true. I just left a couple of things out. I’ve found all the people I went to high school with and I was really surprised, some of them are really messed up.”….

In Suburban Recovery

Cranky grew up in the suburbs. It was a place full of scary women running around in golf outfits doing their marketing. (Which at the time, meant grocery shopping.)

There were giant bottles of gin at every social gathering. A division between men and women. The men took the Stamford local into “the city” every day. The women shopped and hid the clothes in the back of the closet. Irony was king. Women did whatever it took to be constantly persistently perky. Every medicine cabinet had a plethora of diet pills. We nick named one friend’s mother Abba Dabba because she was so hyper that every sentence out of her mouth was preceded by, “Abba dabba abba dabba abba dabba Midge….” There was a women’s club. I was fortunate enough to go one night to hear a talk on marriage. Here is a transcription of the notes I secretly took during the meeting:

“Hello. I’d like to introduce myself, I’m Lucienne Brown, and I’ve been a member here at the Manor Club for eighteen years. I’m here today to give advice to our junior members. My talk is called “Tips for Newlywed Gals.” Oh, and I’d like to thank Becky Porterfield) for her invitation, it was she who said to me, “If you know so much about marriage, why don’t you give a seminar on it. Becky, thank you, thank you. What a great idea!

Well dears, lets face it, the first year is the absolute worst – when you’re faced for the first time with the horrible reality of it all with absolutely no tools to deal with it.

I’ve always thought, that instead of marriage vows, they should read Miranda Rights, so that a married woman would at least have the same rights as an arrested criminal. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. If he brings up the budget at one a.m. and you don’t want to talk about it, you’re not avoiding the topic; you’re just too damned tired.

And remember, ANYTHING YOU SAY MIGHT BE HELD AGAINST YOU. The statement, “I ran into Michele in Saks the other day”, can turn into a conversation, not about Michele, but about what the hell you were doing in Saks in the first place when we just decided to turn over a new leaf and stop spending money.

So, sift through topics through your mind for their explosive possibilities before speaking.
Ok, first, TRAINING. A good husband must be cultivated, like a vegetable, they are not found like precious truffles. You have to grow you own husband.

All men feel they are the center of the universe and entitled to anything, so we have to learn when and how to draw the line. A recent cover of “Time Magazine” asked the question, “How Apes Became Human?” That’s easy – someone married them, and spent ten years training them not to dribble food down their chest, and to pick up after themselves.

Next, RESEARCH. A few good books are a big help in running a household. My favorite is “The Household Encyclopedia”. I think it is very telling that directly following hydrangeas is hysteria. There are times when your home will turn into just that: hydrangeas on the outside, hysteria on the inside. Just remember, you’re not alone. Many a viciously fighting couple will open the door for their guests and act like they are absolutely agog over each other. Don’t be fooled. Looking perpetually happy is a social requirement, not an absolute truth.

On to TELEPHONE STRATEGY. Get your own phone line. The only time to talk on the phone when he’s around is when he’s also on the phone. Otherwise your conversations will be interrupted with constant questions, dirty looks and moans and groans. Or, your husband will try to turn you into Charlie McCarthy and say: “Tell them I said this” and “Tell them I said that” –“ What did they say?” Irritating to you and a good way to lose friends. So, when he’s home, the minute the phone rings for him – make those calls girls.

And of course, THE KITCHEN, the source of many an argument. Everybody has their own way of doing things and they all think everybody else’s way stinks. If you don’t want someone turning your flames up and down and telling you how they always did it, cook alone.

Sadly, there are many activities that when done together lead to fights. So a good marriage strategy to adopt is: DO AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE TOGETHER, THUS AVOIDING BLOW UPS.

Now, DECORATING. If there’s something you really want to do for the home, just do it and stand your ground. If he hates it, insist it’s the latest thing and absolutely fabulous and he will doubt his taste and succumb. Decorating by committee takes entirely too long and most men want everything black and gray and lots of metal – if he buys anything that looks like that, tell him how nice it will look in his office!

And then there are VACATIONS, they are no panacea either, believe me. You have a choice of one, the country, a non-convenience area full of bugs. Or two: there is Europe, where you’ll be pounding the pavement all day looking at churches. Or three: the Caribbean, where you’ll roast all day and drop a bundle on terrible food, which you’ll eat a ton of because you’re so bored that you’ll end up by the end of the week looking like a balloon in a bikini. The whole thing is awful.

If you’re catching a plane, good luck. My husband will be “checking things” in the house while the car is outside honking. And, once at the airport, he refuses to walk fast even if the plane is leaving in ten minutes. The slow walk, fast walk argument is a tricky one. The more frenzied you look, the more he starts dragging his feet and looking casual. Don’t ask me why. If you walk on ahead of him, then you look like the rude one. Just abdicate responsibility in your mind.

SO, WHEN YOU GO ON ANY VACATION YOU SHOULD EXPECT TO SUFFER THE WHOLE TIME. That way, if any moments turn out to be pleasant, it’s a nice surprise.

Then we have the issue a WEEKENDS, a 48-hour marathon of togetherness. Don’t ask why Saturday’s are so dead boring. Just get used to it. They consist of one long meal in front of the television set, the beautiful day outside reflected on the screen. To my husband, daylight is an annoyance that gets in the way of his TV, computer screen and blackberry viewing pleasure. The only way to get him outside is the possibility of buying yet another mysterious electronic device.
Sometimes, on a Saturday, I’ll finally get him out of the house at maybe 1:30 and I’ll see a couple who is all dressed up and look like they’ve been out for hours. They’ve been to farmers markets, stores, they’re wearing blazers and khaki’s. Oh please, the only way they could be that way is if I they are trying to change they’re lives and “do things on the weekends”, and by next week they’ll be back living like the rest of us.

And yes, we have to talk about it, SEX. I read somewhere that Deborah Kerr used to belly dance for her husband. I thought, what is wrong with me? On a good night my husband comes home to a wife in sweats and fuzzy slippers standing over a pot of boiling pasta which is slated for dinner. Belly dance for him? Of course, Deborah Kerr probably didn’t have to pay bills, clean toilets, run out of Tide after she had put the laundry in the machine, or have the dog throw up and have diarrhea the minute we moved into a place with wall to wall carpeting after begging the landlord to let our perfect dog live there.

guess she could go gleefully belly dancing around the house because she could pay people to clean up the dog diarrhea. But, dancing Debbie did have a point there. Sex is on the top of the list of your husband’s priorities. Too many women get bogged down with tidying up and let their sex lives go. Does your husband care how neat everything is? If you don’t keep up your end in this area, he’ll lash out about all sorts of ridiculous things that are unrelated. “You paid three dollars for a soy milk!” really means, “ “I’m frustrated and I’m going to find things wrong with you!”

So, prioritize gals; sex first, clean later. Virtual pets have a checklist of their needs, so does your husband. Feed him, talk to him, pet him, fuck him – check them off if you have to!

Well, good night ladies, don’t give up the ship. Stay in the driver’s seat! Bon soir!”

I’m still in recovery from my childhood in “the burbs”. It’s been a long road. I’ve discovered the amazing fact that men are people too. Not just ATM’s in suits. If given the chance, they will talk even. Especially about computers and inanimate stuff like that. How nice.