Ryan: “Has Matthew ever been with a woman?”
Me: “No, he’s what we refer to as a ‘Gold-star Gay’. He’s only been with dudes.”
Ryan: “Never tried it out, huh?”
Me: “He refers to the vagina as ‘The Eye of Sauron’. Vaginas never had a chance.”
Me: Ryan. Ryan. Ryan. Ryan. Ryan.
Me: (Sending picture.)
Me: Right!? This is a thing now?
Ryan: What aisle are you in, and why? Do you have something to tell me?
Me: I’m buying tampons, and these were right there. You know…for people who are blaming faulty sperm for why they still have to buy tampons. Can we discuss the name “Pre-Seed”!?
Ryan: Can we discuss that for just $44.99 and a handjob I can get 2,000 CVS points!?
Ryan and I came of age in the 80’s-90’s, and both have an deep affection for West Coast rap from that era, despite being a pair of pasty, middle-class dorks with zero street cred. We’ve been trying to find a time to see Straight Outta Compton for two weeks, with no success, but THIS WEEKEND…it will finally happen, thus this conversation.
Me: Movie and dinner? Hardcore couch makeout, after?
Ryan: Tomorrow, yes? Are we finally going to see our movie?
Ryan: Did you just emoji NWA?
Me: Yes, yes, I did.
Ryan: *slow clap*
(Yet another text conversation gone wrong.)
Ryan: There’s nothing like the smell of spring practice. The dead grass…the ridiculous parental expectations.
Me: Has any one talked, yet, about the time they “went to state”?
Ryan: Fortunately, those parents are all at Pop Warner. There actually aren’t that many parents here. It’s quiet. Too quiet…
Me: Ruh Roh. That’s how it always is right before someone trips over what they think is a helmet, and it turns out to be a severed human head.
Ryan: Stop binge watching Bones. Immediately.
Today, my darling 15-year-old daughter, has her first ACTUAL date with an ACTUAL boy. (She’s been dating robots for years…don’t judge.) And, I know…it’s on Valentine’s Day…cue the Seraphim.
This is just the beginning…the beginning of a long line of lessons that she, and her friends will have to learn. While I’m not ready to impart ALL of these things to her now, I promise that, at some point, when they’re appropriate, I will. Even though she won’t listen to me AT ALL…just ask my mother.
Still…at some point…
1a. If someone tells you they are “too special” for most people, then the special person they need is a psychiatrist. Instead of giving them YOUR number, give them their number.
1b. If anyone tells you “You’re the only one who understands me,” it might be because they’re insane, and you’re the only one who hasn’t caught on, yet. Do you really want to date the emotional equivalent of Nell?
2. If he takes longer to get ready than you do, run. First, NO ONE takes longer to get ready than you do (seriously, Caolinn…what the fuck is taking you so long), but while a certain amount of vanity in women is understandable, vain men aren’t to be trusted. Yes, I said something sexist…it won’t be the last time.
3. You do not have to “earn” someone’s love. Girl…he isn’t a slot machine, and you ain’t getting your quarters back. The only prize you get at the end is an asshole who knows you’ll take abuse in exchange for minimal reinforcement. Anyone you have to chase…you will never truly catch.
4. Don’t be someone’s transitional relationship. When you’re with someone who still has someone else in their heart, you are in the world’s LEAST sexy threesome, where the lubricant is tears. If he talks about another woman so much that you know her middle name, but he doesn’t know yours, then you’re just the therapist who he gets to put his penis on, and when he’s finally over her, and he’s done with therapy…well, you get the picture.
5. If your friends hate your boyfriend, either they have personal issues, or they have a point. Don’t ditch one for the other, and don’t take out the trash until you know who stinks.
6. Look at THEIR friends. If the guy you’re thinking about dedicating your time to hangs out with druggies, cheaters, douchebags, idiots, criminals, or losers…then chances are he’s one of them…or a United States Senator. Same difference. If you lay down with dogs, you get fleas…or in this case, chlamydia.
7. Sex isn’t everything…unless you’re not getting any, then it becomes everything. It’s only a matter of time before you start buying batteries in bulk and trying to figure out how big your co-workers’ dicks are through their slacks. Say “hi” to Human Resources, for me, will you? And, no, you can’t move home when you get fired, so get it together.
8. Beware the social chameleon. If a person flips a switch and changes completely when he’s in public vs. when he’s alone with you…RUN. A stable person doesn’t need more than one personality, and hopefully that one personality doesn’t fall under the heading of “dick”.
9a. There is a fine line between being realistic and settling. Yes, no person is perfect, but do NOT settle. Don’t date down…EVER. You will regret it. Every time.
9b. Be totally okay with being “alone” (Which you never truly will be, because you should surround yourself with people who love and support you.) Being with someone, for the sake of being with someone, will make you more alone than you can ever possibly imagine. Picture what you realistically want in a relationship, and wait for it. It’s better to be single, with even the faintest hope of something great, than chained to a lifetime of mediocrity because you feared loneliness.
10. Be your own best friend. If, standing outside your situation, you can see that if your BEST FRIEND was in that same situation (relationship, etc.), that you would slap the living shit outta her…then slap away, bitch…save yourself.
11. Lastly, and this is so goddamn important… You will change and grow and evolve…but let that be on YOUR terms, and be with people who love you for who you are TODAY. If you want to change him, or he wants to change you, then you don’t love each other…you love an idea. Ideas aren’t always good, and ideas don’t always work. Just ask DeLorean, Hitler, and Trump’s hair stylist. People aren’t projects, and your relationship shouldn’t need a Pinterest board and a hot glue gun.
And there I leave you…for now. As I’m writing, I’m thinking of so many MORE things, but they will have to wait for another day and another post. In the meantime…have fun tonight, my sweet, sweet girl. Have fun…let him hold your hand, but tell him to keep his tongue in his mouth. It’s a first date…not a frat party.
As I start my 16th year teaching special education, I’ve had the pleasure of spending much of the last couple of weeks with some new teachers, who are just starting out in their careers, and it’s made me reflect on what I believe, who I am, and what the REAL lessons are in education.
1. You know how you’ve been able to go around just calling people “motherfucker” and flipping them off, when they’ve been shitty to you? Yeah, well, you can’t do that anymore from 7am-4pm. The irony is that you are going to be disrespected more in the next ten months, than you have in your ENTIRE life, and you’re going to have to respond to it with a quiet dignity that you didn’t know you possessed. And yes, as long as it doesn’t come out of your mouth…mentally calling an eight-year-old a ‘dickhead’ is perfectly acceptable.
2. I don’t care how amazing your teaching skills are, or how good the lesson is that you planned…it can all be undone with one well-timed fart. Doubt me? Try and pull out your A-Game lesson, two hours after they serve burritos in the cafeteria.
3. That support staff you’ve sorta met? Yeah…start kissing ass now, because if you piss off the nurse, the custodians, the assistants, or God forbid the school secretary…you are so totally screwed. And I mean a solid, up-the-ass, no lube or foreplay, pillow-biter, because those bitches run everything you care about. Even the principal is scared of them, and with good reason.
4. Do not, under any circumstances, get a class pet. It is hell on you, and worse on the animal. No creature on this earth has EVER aspired to be the thing that 35 second-graders annoy the shit out of, on a daily basis. I’m 90% positive that in the Hindi culture, that in order to be reincarnated into a class pet…you have to run over a busload of nuns carrying kittens. If PETA knew half of what was going on in classrooms, they’d forget the fur industry even existed.
5. Password protect your phone NOW. You think I’m kidding, but I have yet to see a school year where a teacher’s phone WASN’T stolen, and I’ve seen them stolen by kids as young as 6. Having to replace your phone sucks, but you know what sucks more? Having no passcode on that thing, and now the entire eighth grade has everyone on campus’ private phone numbers AND those five pictures of your boobs that you sent your ex-boyfriend when you were drunk.
6. Be wary of parents who want to help too much…they’re better spies than any CIA operative, and you are their only interest. If you have a parent who insists on helping, give them off-site assignments like copying papers or planning parties. You want any more convincing? Look at the relief on their own child’s face, every time they leave.
7. The first two years of your career are going to read like the first ten seasons of House. You are going to catch diseases that you didn’t even know existed, and certainly can’t spell, and no amount of hand washing is going to save you from the twenty times a day when a child literally sneezes in your face. Which brings me to…
8. You’re going to spend countless hours of your life on the internet researching new material to enrich your classroom, but I’m about to give you the only website that will get you through this first year, and probably every year after…
The Most Important Website You’ll Ever Need…
To end…I’ll give you my 9th and most important tip…and this one I’m dead serious about, and it’s the one that means the very most to me… The kids you get, are the kids you got. Parents aren’t hiding the good kids at home. You have to find a way to love them…ALL OF THEM…because the one thing I know to be true…kids will not work for people who don’t care about them, and man, do they know. I can name a thousand kids who can’t read, but I can’t name one that doesn’t know when a teacher doesn’t like them. So, please…don’t be that teacher…find a way…
You are going to get kids with a myriad of disabilities and home issues, some of which make them nearly impossible to handle, but try and remember…these kids didn’t ask for them. They didn’t ask to be different or socially screwed up or have shitty parents. And yes, they’ll be a pain in your ass or make horrible choices, and make you want to tear your hair out, but, under it all…they’re kids. They’re scared and sad and confused, and they need you. You might be the first person to find something wonderful about them, that they didn’t even know about themselves. You might be the first person to make them feel safe at school, and give them hope that they CAN do this. You might be the only person who tells them that you love them, and I hope that you do.
I promise that they’ll move mountains for you…if you believe that they can.