Thursday, December 20, 2012

Making the List

I am a list maker. I often have multiple lists going at the same time: marketing, household errands, brilliant schemes for world-takeover.

I write my lists on used envelopes (part of my effort at recycling). I keep a block of post-it notes next to my bed for noting middle-of-the-night ideas that will have evaporated in the morning's light. For me, writing something down liberates my mind. I have captured the thought, the idea, the obligation and now I can return to regularly scheduled thinking.

I once made a list called: Things that are freaking me out. I dated it (I believe that's an important component to making an effective list), and proceeded to spew all the items (mostly unimportant) that were suffocating me. By naming my fears, I was able to confront them, and temper my stress and anxiety.

I  like making new years resolutions: positive changes that I want to create in my life, in my community. One year I made a list of 20 (!) resolutions and posted it on my fridge to be a daily reminder. Did I accomplish all of them? Not all, but many!

2012 has been a challenging year for most people I know. It is a year that brought a marvelous, miraculous being into my life, but also a year in which I said goodbye to a dear pal, a year in which so many friends lost loved ones, parents, siblings, spouses. It is a year in which people close to me are fighting against horrible diseases, depression, loneliness. The world is in rough shape, Darlings. And this is a tough time of year for too many.

I do want to talk about new years resolutions, but before we can plan for the coming twelve months, we need to bring closure to this year with The List of Lamentations. Too Biblical for you? Too heavy? Deal with it, Darlings. Sometimes we have to go through the dark, heavy stuff to get to the other side lighter and more enlightened.

What is The List of Lamentations?
It is your opportunity to put on paper the worries, concerns, grievances, fears and disappointments that have been weighing you down this year. Since this is your first LOL, you have a one-time pass to lament an event/experience from a previous year, but please don't go dredging up a slight that happened in the eighth grade.  There is no limit for your list. There is also no need to go looking for misery just for the sake of wallowing or out-lamenting your neighbor. If you have a legit lament, it will come to mind quickly. Get that crap out of your head, out of your psyche and onto a piece of paper. Your list is personal . No lament is too small, nor should it be deemed trivial. The LOL  is for your eyes only.

N.B. This is NOT a pity-party. This is an evacuation of toxic sentiments from the emotional and physical you.

I have many blessings in my life, what could there possibly be to lament? If you are reading this diary, you probably have a roof over your head, enough to eat, and plenty of basic comforts (luxuries, even) that others must do without. You are still entitled to lament.

To help you get started, I am going to share my list:

-I lament the state of my manicure or lack thereof.
-I lament that my business has not grown as I hoped it would.
-I lament the loss of my former lifestyle.
-I lament the appearance of  newly acquired flab on my upper arms.
-I lament that I sometimes have challenges of communication with my dearly beloved.
-I lament that I am out of touch with too many of my galpals.
-I lament the passing of a close friend.
-I lament the presence of  racism, homophobia, and misogyny in my beloved America.
-I lament the absence of neighborliness in too many communities.

When I look at my list, it feels overwhelming at first. Crying over your list is OK and frankly, very likely. You are owning some dark feelings. You may be remembering a loss or reliving a disappointment and it can be painful.

Perhaps you are looking at my list thinking: how is a shabby manicure a legit lament compared to the death of a loved one or staggering racism?  This is not about comparing suffering or who had the worse year, the most misery. You don't have to explain or defend your laments. I will share that my crappy cuticles affect my self-esteem and that affects many other parts of my life.

Get your list down and you are over the biggest hurdle. It takes courage to acknowledge disappointments, to face fears. I don't expect you to breeze through this in a few minutes. Give yourself a quiet place to reflect on those thoughts and emotions which are not/no longer serving you.

Now we move on, we move forward. There are three possibilities for the laments on your list. You can:


Release is another way of saying Get the F*ck Over It.  For me, the lament of my former lifestyle needs to be released. I have already spent too much energy dwelling on this "loss" and moaning about poor old me. Basta! Was my previous lifestyle better than the one I have now? Not really. And anyway, it's in the past.   So let it go for Pete's sake.  I have a friend who has been lamenting the end of a relationship for the better part of the year. A WHOLE f*cking YEAR. Gone. Please, Darlings, I am sure you have situations and emotions that should be released. Do it.

What about the flabby batwings? Two choices here. I can put my vanity aside and release it or get my ass off the couch and CHANGE IT. It's up to me.

Racism, Homophobia...what can I do about it? This is a lament that calls for CHALLENGE. If I hear someone use a racist term, I am going to call that motherf*cker out, even if it's a friend. Especially if it's a friend. I have a close pal whom I have heard make anti-semitic jokes. Usually the other listeners laugh and I shake my head or make an uncomfortable face rather than rock the boat. You know what, that's not good enough. I have a responsibility to my friends, to my community, to my son to not look the other way, to not tolerate behavior or language that is demeaning to others.

The most difficult lamentation to face is the loss of my dear friend. I have a range of emotions from anger to emptiness to denial. So this is the one that I have to EMBRACE. I will embrace his memory. I will embrace his positive impact on my life and the lives of others. As I told him shortly before he passed on, loved ones live on in us, in our thoughts, in our memories, in our good deeds and our compassion.

Darlings, I pray that you will take the time to do this for yourselves. We can truly start the new year with a clean slate if we make peace with the past.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Day of Reckoning

Darlings -

I bring you a message from The Oracle...

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6, we enter a period of Mercury Retrograde.  Astrologically, a retrograde is when a planet appears to be moving backward through the zodiac. I won't bore you with the details of orbital rotation and planetary motion, simply know that activity is happening "up there". During a Mercury Retro phase, there are challenges to communication and transportation, as well as mechanical breakdown.

What does this mean for you? You may be presented with situations over which you feel you have no control. You DO and you WILL have control, simply pause before reacting and proceed slowly. This is not the moment for hasty decisions. Inform yourself, reflect, and then take action.

I can testify that the communication hiccups common during MR always rear their head Chez Miss O. We're only in the shadow period (before the actual start of the retro) and there have already been a few mild shouting matches for absolutely no reason. I have had to talk myself down, more than once, from going full-fledged "Crabitha". This is a period rife with misunderstanding and disrupted communication, so take a step back before you fly off the handle, and make sure that you are communicating and hearing clearly.

If you are travelling, be prepared for delays. Pack a snack. I'm not kidding. If you are prepared for a possible snafu, you will be able to deflate your own anger before it overtakes you. Yes, there may be glitches and inconvenience, but keep it in perspective, Friendlies.

There is a likelier chance of mechanical breakdown during MR. Phones, computers, and cars will be a source of aggravation. As I am typing this entry, my computer, in fact, the whole wi-fi network is trying to thwart my progress. I will overcome. This could be a good time to back-up documents, to make sure your batteries are charged, to assure that your car is in safe working condition.

Unless you live on Mercury, you know that tomorrow is an important day for the American people. Actually, for our whole planet. It has the potential to be a day of challenges, so be prepared.

-Know your polling place. If you need help, look here
-Know how you're getting there, and help others who may need help/information. There could be transportation and communication headaches, so have a Plan B. Hell, even a Plan C.

Let nothing keep you from casting your ballot. It is your civic duty ... and there is too much at stake.

"The More You Know..." is brought to you by Miss O and The Oracle (TM).

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Hello Darlings -

In the not so distant past, I wasted a few hours on this celebrity face matching website . Ok, fine, I spent three days and nights. I was convinced that if I uploaded just the right photo with just the right angle, composition, and lighting, I would, at last, be confirmed as the long-lost doppelganger for one of my celebrity crushes: Salma Hayek and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Maybe I could even be Salma's stunt double or C. Zeta's stand-in. Don't judge.

The results of my "exclusive match" ran the gamut from Andie MacDowell=lovely to a slew of Slavic male models=ummmm, ok. Also, Matthew Perry, Heath Ledger (RIP), Christie Brinkley, Lucy Liu, Chuck Palahniuk, and Heather Locklear. As you can see, it's astoundingly accurate. After my 15th (!) upload, the matcher told me I bore a verrrry distant resemblance to Penelope Cruz, who is best friends with Salma, so that was good enough for me.

Next scene:
Once upon a time, I dated a "person" of dubious character. While this creature was of the male gender, I hesitate to use the term "man" because this cretin was frankly unworthy of the title. Our story was completely ill-advised, and from the get-go, I wondered how I would be able to extricate myself. It was not my finest hour, but has provided me with some excellent horror stories.

On one of our dates, we started talking about movies/entertainment and came upon the timeless (and telling) question: who is your celebrity crush? After a moment of reflection, I rattled off (in no particular order):
George Clooney
Eric Bana
Hugh Jackman
Daniel Craig
Clive Owen
Sean Connery (circa Thunderball. actually circa anything)
Antonio Banderas (pre-"Trashy Melanie Bad Dye-job")
Daniel Day Lewis (circa Last of the Mohicans)
Johnny Depp
Jason Statham
not super original, I know, but your solid A-list of classy Brit/Aussie action bad-asses plus a few bonuses

Then I asked the "person" for his crushes. Wait for it. I was hopeful that his list would include Salma and/or Catherine (my doppelgangers) or Angie (granted, she's a skeletor, but there's no denying that her face is fabulous) or I don't know, Eva Green ( la classe) or Eva Mendes (she's borderline trashy, but I get the appeal, plus she has excellent eyebrows). Give me your Natalie Portmans, your Scarlett Johanssons. Or rock it old school and hit me with Sharon Stone or Kim Basinger.  I said Wait. For. It.

For a moment, I thought "he" would pleasantly surprise me and name a diva like Beyonce or J-Lo. Alas, no. I scrolled through my mental list of alleged sex-symbols. Maybe this creature would blow my mind and say Marilyn or Sophia. Or Dita! Friends, denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

It wasn't just the name of his crush that made me want to run screaming, it was the way he said it. There was a glazing over the eyes and a foamy saliva bubble at the corner of his mouth when he uttered those two shocking words: Mariah. Carey. Mariah Frackin' Carey. Don't get me wrong, I love me some "All I want for Christmas", but COME ON. Aim Higher.  "Ooooh, and Alyssa Milano," his voice was strained, and I horribly imagined his "alone time" in a teenage room wallpapered with Who's the Boss? posters.

Darlings, it takes a village, and there is no accounting for taste, but I'm sorry, Mariah Carey is a dealbreaker. Period. The End.

Miss O, Arbiter of Taste since 1986.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Darlings, Miss O has had her hands full of late, but she recently managed a foray into "public" to report on dangerous wardrobe malfunctions in the French capital. O the humanity! For your enjoyment a Cordially, Miss O triple-header.

Dear Fetus Wearing Hot Pants,

While I'm certain that everyone on the tram enjoyed the view of your cheeks, that look is better suited to cage dancing on Landsdowne Street/Miami Beach/Ibiza than a 60's cloudy-with-a-chance-of-showers mid-week afternoon in the 14eme arondissement. 

I appreciate that you had a neat pedicure, however that does not lessen the severity of this infraction. 

Cordially, Miss O

Dear Young Woman with VAC,

Most of my readers are familiar with the challenges of VPL (visible panty line), but this is the first time I have had to address VAC (visible ass crack). Thank you for providing this teaching moment.

It's true that Miss O espouses a "It takes a village" philosophy, however repeated exposure to your crack during a brief bus ride was the source of extreme discomfort for your fellow passengers. Perhaps unintentional, but you are old enough to know better. Had you been a fetus, you could have played the clueless card. Alas, my calculations put you in your late 30's...Unacceptable.

A few tips to avoid future violations:
-VAC is the domain of hard-working plumbers. Any encroachments on their territory is frowned upon.
-You may want to rethink the ultra low-rise jeans and invest in a belt.

Cordially, Miss O

Dear American Embryo Summering in Paris,

Daisy Dukes and flip-flops?! in the rain?! in Paris?!

Who told you this was a good look? Did you see it in a magazine? on some "celebrity" tartlet? Give me their name and I will go to their house and spank them with a wire hanger.

Surely you don't think you're going to hoof it up the Eiffel Tower in flip-flops or sully the Louvre (or gasp! Notre Dame) with wet feet that have been barely covered while walking around a big, dirty city. It's not remotely warm outside and you most certainly do not have a fresh pedicure so WTF is with the flip-flops?

Put some clothes on for the love of Lourdes. If you have enough money to travel to Paris, then you have enough money to buy a real pair of shoes and some ladylike weather-appropriate attire.

You may not realize it, but you are an ambassador for the US of A.  For better or worse, an entire nation is being judged based on your behavior, attitude, and appearance while abroad. Please act accordingly.

If you are traveling with your parents and they ok'ed this "ensemble", have them contact me immediately so I can stage an intervention for the whole family. 

Cordially, Miss O

Friday, April 27, 2012

What Are You Waiting For?

I wrote this piece last year on Thanksgiving, but it is newly relevant for me today.

Two years ago I thought I was going to die. It was January 2, 2010. I was on a plane from Paris to Bastia on the northern coast of Corsica. Honey had spent New Years with some pals in Sofia, Bulgaria, so I decided to take a long overdue trip to visit one of my dearest friends, Elsa.

The flight was supposed to last just over two hours. A non-event. At an hour forty-five, the captain (a Brit) came on the intercom to inform us that the descent into Bastia would be very windy. Not at all newsworthy, as the landing strip in Bastia is surrounded by mountains near the coast of the Mediterranean. I continued flipping through the in-flight magazine.

A few minutes later, it seemed like the plane down-shifted. Perhaps ironic that I can imagine a pilot downshifting when I don't know the first thing about driving, certainly less about shifting gears, and nothing about the mechanics of planes or aeronautics. Still, I've spent a lot of time on planes.

My first flight was at two-weeks-old from Geneva to Nice. Since then, and I'm being conservative... Twenty-plus long-haul flights to Asia. Long-haul is defined differently by each airline, anywhere from 7-12+ hours. For me, long-haul indicates a minimum of 14 hours. Straight. With layovers and connections, most trips to Asia mean 24 hours of travel. Twenty-plus trips to Asia means twenty-plus trips from Asia. At least half of those trips flying solo. In coach. Unsedated. If you haven't freaked out by your tenth long-haul flight alone, you're probably not ever going to freak on a plane. Ten years of flights from LAX to Nice and back. Ten years of flights from Boston to Paris and back. And just for fun, 19-years of round-trips between Boston and LAX, hardly worth mentioning if only to illustrate that I've put in the airtime.

I am superstitious and ritualistic about flying but not fearful. I have a lucky charm (actually a packet of lucky charms) that I have flown with since I was six-years-old, the first time I took the LAX-Nice (connection at Heathrow) trip by myself. I won't fly without it. A couple of years ago, I realized that the packet was not in my suitcase an hour before leaving for the airport. I became hysterical, screaming in a panic. Would I have to test my faith today? I finally found it after ripping apart all the luggage in our dimly-lit basement storage space. Once I had it packed in my suitcase, I was 100% cool, the seasoned traveler.

I don't drink on the plane and I never eat the salad. I think, subconsciously, I want to have my wits about me. In 1999, I became violently ill on my return from Thailand to the States. On the flight from Narita to LAX I spiked a crazy fever and the JAL Hello Kitty flight attendants had to hover over me with ice packs while I tried not to vomit. I was likely sick from some raw veggies I ate in Bangkok before boarding, but I have not trusted in-flight lettuce since.

I always have chocolate in my carry-on. Chocolate is calming and comforting, but more than that, you don't want to find yourself at Taoyuan Airport (Taipei) with a six-hour layover in the middle of the night with no Toblerone on hand. Trust me.

So here I was 15 minutes from landing, perusing the duty-free catalog, when it started. A dipping, then a jarring bump of the plane. Nervous twitters from the other passengers. I was...unperturbed. The captain's voice crackled out again reminding us to fasten our seatbelts for landing and asking flight attendants to take their seats. His announcement was cut short as the plane jolted to one side. Now there were gasps as fear took its seat next to each of us. The plane felt buoyant as on the crest of a wave and just as quickly seemed to be plummeting. Now there was screaming. Shouting. Wailing. From my seat, 6C, I could see the flight attendants' strained faces. The plane heaved and trembled as we continued the descent.

For the first time in 38-years of airplane travel, I wasn't sure we would make it. All those long-haul, lettuce-free flights, and this might be the last one. The seat next to me was empty and the man at the window had his hand over his eyes. Crying? Praying? I looked across the aisle. A family of three holding hands, the daughter in tears. We continued bouncing through the air like a toy in a giant's hand. And then those with window seats could see the runway coming towards us too quickly. The plane was filled with shrieking and sobbing.

I've never considered myself philosophical but in that moment, I felt a strange relief. Relief that I had left the house in order. Relief that I had spoken with my family. I had heard the voices of my mother, father, and all of my siblings within hours of the flight. Somewhat unusual to talk to all of those loved ones, spread over three continents, just before this moment. Perhaps not an accident.

I didn't see my life flash before my eyes, but more importantly, I didn't feel regret of things undone. Yes, there is much more I can accomplish – my tv show on the Oprah network, the book(s) I'm supposed to write – but in some way, I felt peaceful. In those few seconds as we hurtled toward earth, I was able to take stock. You have had a wonderful life, Ondine. You have more blessings than you can count. You have had incredible, amazing experiences. You have had mundane experiences with incredible, amazing people. Your life is filled with love.

I had been gripping the in-flight magazine and now I relaxed my hands. I told myself: God is good. God is great. Maybe this is how it happens?

Friends, I am glad to still be here. I am also glad that I had a chance to look at my life and own it. My wish for you (on this Thanksgiving) is for clarity to recognize the abundance in your lives, for courage to change the things that you would like to be different, for strength to achieve that which you dream of, for compassion and mindfulness of those in need. No one knows when “that moment” will come...let's face it without regret.


April 2012

A few months ago, I learned that a woman I have known since Junior High was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was shaken by the news. Concerned for her and her family, but also, as must always be the case with this horrible illness,  I was overwhelmed by the "Why? How? But she's so young!"  We are, of course, the same age, which brought my own mortality back into focus. Even though we haven't seen each other for many years, I know that she is still the dynamic, positive person I met as a tween. A wife and mother, a successful, accomplished businesswoman, someone I imagine to have a healthy, balanced lifestyle. It didn't make sense to me...not that cancer ever does.

This friend, Elissa, is facing a long road to recovery. 33 straight days of radiation. I know she will get through it with grace and humor. She has a tremendous support group - I love that her close friends back when we were youngsters are still by her side. And, in what I consider a fantastic FU to cancer, she has created a wonderful project 33 Dresses

One of my dear gal pals, Roonie, had an extensive and fabulous jewelry collection, including several heirloom gems and some "important pieces" . Her home was broken into and nearly all the jewelry was stolen. By the grace of Lourdes, she happened to be wearing her best pieces on that day: her grandmother's ring, a bracelet with great sentimental value, a necklace with a large stone. Of course she was devastated by the loss of the other pieces, but the most important ones were on her. I have never shied away from wearing my good things be it jewelry or evening clothes or fancy shoes. And for the record, good does not necessarily equal expensive. After the theft at Roonie's, I resolved to wear my special pieces ALL THE TIME. Because what the frack are we waiting for?

Do I sometimes lament the loss of a favorite bracelet in 2006? (get over it already, right?) Sure, but it gave me many happy years being worn and enjoyed, rather than languishing in a box. I am always exasperated as a designer when potential clients tell me my pieces are "too special occasion" or that they don't have anywhere to wear them. I call bullshit. Wear your beautiful clothes to work. But my colleagues would think it's "too much." Frack your colleagues! Do you feel good in it? That's all that matters. Wear your nice things to the market. Don't wait for a special occasion. Make your own! You are alive and well, isn't that a special occasion?

This isn't just about clothes and jewelry, use your good dishes for frack's sake. Often. Yes, you risk breaking something, but I promise your meal will taste better. And if broken china is the worst of your worries, congratulations, Friend, you're doing alright. Men, do you have beautiful shirts and suits suffocating in dry cleaning bags waiting for an invitation? Wear them NOW.  Sure,  you might have to take something to be pressed, so what. Enjoy today. Carpe Fabulous.

I believe this is the spirit behind 33 Dresses  I invite you to join Elissa (and Miss O) in 33 days of "good stuff".

When "that moment" comes for me, whether I'm on a plane or lounging on the couch, I hope I'm wearing a giant frackin' tiara and my favorite dress!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dear RF...

Bonjour Darlings, back at "sport" this week and I was reminded of some of the chronic offenders that bother/amuse me while I am suffering on the treadmill. The majority are wardrobe infractions, etiquette infractions, attitude infractions, odor infractions...ok, fine there are a multitude, I dare say, a plethora of scenarios that chap my hide while I am trying to get my sport on.

The following CMO calls out half of a duo that I have dubbed "the two Louis". I find it helpful to name these characters whose presence I endure week after week, instead of simply referring to them as Douche #1, Douche #2, etc.

Dear Retired Fellow aka Louis,

I'm no "fitness expert", but I'm fairly certain that leaning on the lat machine for thirty minutes bullshitting about the football results (US: soccer) with your cronies and oggling women in spandex is not considered "working out".  Even in France. Just a tip.

Cordially, Miss O

Hold on a minute, Miss O, I thought admiring women was the national sport of your adopted country. True that, but there is a time and a place for this illustrious activity.  The time...actually, it's 24/7. The place, however, is important. Why do you think there are so many cafes where one can sit en terrasse, even in the dead of winter? The cafe society was created so that people, men, could sit outside and smoke and look at women. C'est simple. In Italy, the natives became restless sitting in one place with limited viewing options, and so the Vespa was born.  In France,  les terrasses are extensive so one never has to leave the comfort of their table. Hmmm, maybe there is a "Miss O Travel Guide" series in the making here...

Miss O, your cultural companion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Germinator

Hello Beautiful Darlings, I hope you have had a good week being kind to yourself.

With the dicey weather we've been having on the Continent, nearly everyone has fallen prey to a winter cold. The last few days have found me lying on the couch in a pile of Kleenex...I know, it's not exactly the glamorous Miss O life you imagined. Me neither.

Living in close quarters, it is inevitable that Honey and I keep trading germs. It's too stuffy in here, it's too cold, it's dry, one of us is stuffed up, the other is coughing. Hot, right? Romantic. Um, no. And then there are all the germy people with whom we come in contact. Darlings, riding the metro during cold season is a serious health risk. City dwellers are very generous about sharing their germs with fellow citizens. Buh!

While it is important to avoid germs out and about in the world, let's talk about some that are dwelling in your home...specifically in your beauty products. Cue scary music.

Darlings, I am willing to bet that you have a couple (or more!) products that have been hanging around for far too long. Even as a seasoned beauty professional, I am not as diligent as I should be in ditching outdated cosmetics. Why do we do this? Are we being thrifty? Compulsive? Greedy?

Male readers: you are excused from reading the rest of this post (though you might learn something), but why not use the opportunity to adios some of the science projects currently residing in your fridge? No, sorry, even condiments do not last forever.

True confession: I have a Shiseido lip gloss that I bought *cough* a couple of years ago. There is really nothing left in it except fumes, but it was costly and I don't want to part with it. See: Irrational hoarding behavior.

As part of a Lenten resolution to release items/people/situations that no longer serve a positive purpose, and because I just read an article on germy make-up, I went straight to my beauty lab and plucked three offending lip glosses and an eyeshadow that are waaaaay past their expiration date. I already knew that they were outdated but had let them linger there breeding bacteria. Why? See: Irrational hoarding behavior. How can I name this disease so easily? Because I have at least a half dozen (ok, ten) other lip glosses on my dressing table, not to mention the four floating around in my handbag. And some are duplicates.

I believe in a woman's right to choose and in a woman's right to multiple lip colors, but even I have to admit that fourteen lip sticks/stains/tints is pushing it. For your amusement a peek at Miss O's former dressing table/beauty operations center.

and this picture, taken after a weekend of Bridal shows.
How do I know it was Bridal season? Note the "spare hair" prominently featured in the center of the photo. And no, that is not a mascara wand lying about, it is an eyebrow brush. This picture is dedicated to my dear friend, Neeners.

My current workspace is a tenth of the size but I still manage to cram it full of powders and potions. What can I tell you? I enjoy being a girl.

But let's get back to germy cosmetics...
You may be surprised to realize that cosmetics, like condiments, do not have an infinite shelf-life. We should be tossing make-up, especially mascara, often, like every three to six months often.  Products with wands such as lipgloss or mascara pick up bacteria from your face and deliver it back into the tube. Yucky. (Mascara Tip: do not pump the wand in and out of the tube, it creates air bubbles which feed bacteria and creates clumpy eyelashes). If your mascara is thick, clumpy, or has a curious odor: Toss it. Ditto if you've recently had a cold sore or pink eye. Throw the products away and start over fresh.

Drier lipsticks and powdery products (eye shadow, blush, bronzer) can last longer but you should not keep any make-up more than 18 months, two years tops. If you have a product in your stash that is more than two years old, stop reading and go throw it out. Right now. I'll wait.

Can't remember how long you've had a product? Here's a nifty idea:

If you use powder or concealer, make sure to wash your brushes regularly. (N.B. powder and concealer, especially ones you dab directly onto your face, should be replaced every six months) You can't imagine the scary germs lurking on make-up brushes. Yucky.  Even better, use disposable sponges...and dispose of them.

Products that are hydrating contain extra water, which, after a while can be a become a bacteria feeding ground. No, thank you. To keep your products in good condition, make sure they are tightly sealed in a cool, dry place. Please do not leave your foundation lying around without the cap on, the same goes for eye-liners (sharpen them often), and all other products. When in doubt, better to ditch it. 

What is the state of your make-up bag? Sticky with spills and stains everywhere? Yep, it's probably swimming with germs. Don't bother to try to clean it, just give it the heave-ho and get a new one.

What about moisturizers and other skin care products? (Nearly) all products these days have a PAO symbol, it looks like this:

PAO=Period After Opening (i.e. this product should be used within 12 months of opening) and M=months, not millennia, Darlings.

Ok, Beauties, you have been informed. No excuses! Protect your health and get rid of any creepy, old cosmetics taking up valuable real estate and I bet you'll have room for a new lip gloss. Hooray! No, Miss O is not an enabler. She is an empowerer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love the One You're With

Love the One You're With. What does that mean? If you've been following our posts over the last few weeks, you know that it sure as hell doesn't mean settling for a loveless story just because it is convenient or you don't know how to get out of it.

What it means, my Darlings, is love the person looking back at you from the mirror. That's "the One" you need to love more than anyone else. Until you truly love yourself, don't bother getting involved with another person.

You already know my credentials, so here Miss O will speak with authority.  I have found that those people who stay in dead-end relationships are stuck because they don't think they deserve better. They don't have a high opinion of themselves and so they allow any douchebag with decent hygiene to take advantage of them. If you believe that you are a wonderful person, you cannot allow yourself to be treated poorly. If you have respect for yourself, you will command respect from others. If you don't, why should anyone else bother?

If you are looking for a mate to be your life raft, the story is already doomed. If you think finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, and "being loved" is going to turn your life around, lift you out of loneliness and "complete you", it could work for a little while. In the same way putting a band-aid over a ax wound could stem the blood flow.

However, if you think you're already pretty f*cking great, and a significant other will be the icing on the cake, then you have a damn good shot at finding the real thing. My point: You have to love yourself FIRST.

When I met Honey I was having the best hair day of my life. I had splurged on a new 'do with the fabulous Sebastien and walked out of the salon thinking: I am the cutest girl in Paris. No small feat in a city teeming with babes.

I was supposed to have had a date that night with a Russian Count, who called me to say: Dahlink, I can't see you this weekend, I have to fly to Stockholm blah blah blah excuses excuses excuses. Are you angry?
I checked my pulse and thought: Nope.
The Count actually said: I hope you don't meet your future husband tonight, I will be so jealous.
Did he think I should be sitting at home pining away?
I simply replied: We'll see. I hung up and thought: I am fabulous and brilliant, and my hair and I are going out on the town. You snooze, you lose, Dahlink.

Honey has since confessed that he didn't really love my haircut, but I was emanating such an "I'm awesome" vibe that it was like a tractor beam he couldn't escape.

February 14th is a day fraught with anxiety and stress for many. If you are single, the fact seems to be rubbed in your face. If you are coupled, the ridiculous expectations are no fun. I sent her two dozen roses but she was pissed because I didn't write a card.  You can't win. It really is no different from the day before or the day after. I know that you know this logically, but sometimes it is hard to see past the cupid and hearts conspiracy perpetrated by the greeting card mafia..

So to take your mind off it, I am giving you a homework assignment. It doesn't matter if you are happily/miserably attached or single.

You are going to write a love yourself. No protesting. You will do it.

It can be flowery, it can be bullet-points. I don't care. This assignment is mandatory, and you will write it down. Or type it, if you're one of "those" people. You've never written a love letter? Now's your chance. I am asking you to tell yourself what's so great about YOU. The things you appreciate, the quirks that are loveable. At least one of the points must be a compliment about the physical you.

Sidebar: when I teach Charm School, the first lesson is: How To Accept a Compliment. Most people are incredibly inept at responding to a compliment. Why oh why is our first instinct to be self-deprecating? to put ourselves down? Enough with this rubbish, I say! Be honest: when someone gives you a compliment, do you say thank you and mean it? Or do you deflect and turn it against yourself?

You like my dress? Oh, well I've actually gained weight and can't wear my other clothes waaaah waaah waaah. NO.
You think my hair looks good? But my skin is a mess and I don't have a boyfriend. UNACCEPTABLE.

I'm going to quote my girl, Whitney:
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

Back to your letter...I know there are things that you love about unique, wonderful you. Please, Darlings, take a few minutes to do this for yourself.

I'm going to give you a head-start with a sample Love Letter to Me.

Dear Miss O,

Have I ever told you how happy I am that I get to spend my life with you? I think you're terrific, and I am lucky to be near you everyday.

I love you from your delicate ankles to your well-groomed eyebrows and every part in between. I love that you can sing the St. John Passion from memory and also the complete oeuvre of Hall n' Oates. I think it's pretty neat that you don't take sh*t from anyone, and that you color-coordinate your closet. I find it adorable that you want to eat ice cream even when it's frackin' freezing outside. I love the way you don't give a f*ck about styles or trends and have created your own original look. I appreciate that you are a dedicated friend to me (even when you have to call me out) and those you care about.

I am proud that you're my "One". I heart you and I hope that we will be together for many more years.

xox Miss O

Ok, Darlings, now it's your turn. Write your letter (or print it out) and save it somewhere special to look at if you forget how magnificent, how loveable, how awesome you are. After you finish writing, go to the mirror or take out your compact, and tell the person looking back: I LOVE YOU. Go do it. Now.

You are loved, Darlings. Now pass me those chocolates!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Last week we attended a birthday dinner for the adorable husband of one of my sassy gal pals. As we were getting settled in our seats, the hostess caught up with one of the guests, a friendly Canadian chap, seated next to me. 
" So how's work going? How's your love life?"
"Well..." he began with sigh, "I called my ex today."
I had a mouthful of fondue and could only shake my head vehemently in protest. He looked surprised at my interest. Mind you, we had only been introduced five minutes prior.
Once I could speak clearly without a mouthful of cheese, I said, "Don't do that. You're not being helpful to either of you."
He was slightly taken aback, but something flickered in the back of his brain," F*ck, I think she's right."
The hostess interjected,"She's going to be a lot tougher on you than I will be, but I'd listen."
"When did you break up?" I asked.
"Ten days ago."
"Are you in love with her? Do you want to get back together?"
"That's a no. So why are you calling?"
He shook his head.
"Give me your cell phone and I will delete the number for you. You can end this right now."

Occasionally readers have the nerve/balls to ask: What makes you such an authority, Miss O? I tell them the same thing I tell girlfriends who say: You're so lucky, you found a nice Honey. Your life must be swell.

I put in the time, People. I have gone on dates with a dazzling array of jokers. I have heard every shitty, cowardly line that the male mind can invent. I have witnessed shocking, egregious behavior in the dating arena toward myself and my friends, male and female. Also, plain-old, crappy, disrespectful, douchey behavior. I have comforted girlfriends who suspected that their boyfriend was g-a-y.  I have a buddy who has been fending off a stalker for almost two years. I have listened to pals who were betrayed and went back in for more abuse because they were "in love" or didn't think they could do any better. I know about disappointment and heartbreak and loneliness.
I have been stood up, dumped on my ass, lied to, cheated on. I have been hit on by my friends' husbands. I have had my hottest male friends confess that their wives are not attracted to them.  I have had wives tell me that they haven't been intimate with their husbands in months. I have been propositioned by couples to join them in a threesome to renew the spark in their sex lives. I have seen marriages that I thought were perfect dissolve into sadness and divorce.
I know a woman whose new husband was sexting someone else during their honeymoon. I have a friend who was walking down the aisle, faking a smile, all the while thinking "No, no, no, I don't want to go through with this!" They divorced six months later. I know a woman whose husband cheated on her, and ultimately left her, while she was eight-months pregnant. I have a pal whose girlfriend lied about taking the Pill so she could get pregnant and force his hand at marriage. They, too, are divorced.
I have also met great guys who weren't a match for me, and we were able to transform the story into real friendships. I have introduced friends who fell in love and got married. I have seen couples that seemed improbable on paper blossom into wonderful relationships and marriages. I have been a first-hand witness to love at first sight and marriages of 15-plus years that are going strong. I have seen amicable separations and divorces. I have seen friends survive crushing heartbreak and move on to find real love. Despite all the ways that people can hurt each other, Miss O remains an optimist when it comes to love.
I would never call myself a dating expert, nor do I aspire to that dubious title, but I have been around for several lifetimes, Darlings, and I've been taking notes.
My friends know that I am a good listener, sympathetic, that I will comfort a sad soul at any hour, but that I am also obligated to tell it like I see it. Darlings, this is not because I have all the answers, but because I am a good mirror, albeit one that shows you the uncomfortable things you might rather avoid acknowledging.
Lately I have been making women cry. Three young women in particular. They each chose to confide in me, and after listening, taking notes, and asking pertinent questions, I had to give them the bad news: that their relationships did not have a future.
One of them has been in limbo for months, her mate has been less and less available (but not clear about the status of their relationship) and doubt has become her constant companion. I simply told her: this is not your guy. But he loves me, she protested. Come to find out that her guy already has a new girlfriend and is moving on without a backwards glance. She is, naturally, devastated, and can't believe that she will ever find love again.
The second has been in a long-term relationship of 2+years. She and her boyfriend fight all the time, they have no intimate life, and her family is concerned for her safety. When I asked her if she was happy, in love, she said no. When I asked her why she was staying with him, she said she was afraid of finding herself alone.
The third has been with her boyfriend for 4 years. She is a beautiful, vibrant young woman and her partner is twice her age. She has been troubled lately and when I inquired if everything was alright, she shared that her boyfriend won't touch her. I asked if this was a new development, a phase, something they could talk through. It's been the status quo for three years. Do you feel like something is missing in your relationship? I asked. Yes, of course, but I don't know how to get out of it.
And this, Darlings, is where I am asking you to find strength and courage to take charge of your lives. It's not easy to end a relationship but staying in a toxic situation because you don't want to be alone is not a solution. It is a recipe for disaster and depression. Refusing to see the truth about someone will only bring you heartbreak in the long run. Settling for less than you deserve, less than you need, because you don't know how to extract yourself will only bring resentment and hostility. 
It's ok to be alone, Darlings. It's ok to be single. In fact, it can be very good for you. It can make you stronger.
Being on the receiving end of a break-up is not easy. Who likes to feel rejected? With time and experience, I have come to realize that the guys who broke up with me did me a huge favor, and in some cases helped me dodge a bullet. I was involved with a decent guy who on our second date asked: what are you doing with me? I thought he was being cute, self-deprecating. I should have listened. As the weeks progressed, I heard a little voice asking me: why are you dumbing it down when you're with your boyfriend? I ignored it. When he finally broke up with me, I tried to talk him into staying together, I tried to persuade him how terrific I was. Luckily he had the balls to stay his course. A few months later, it suddenly dawned on me that we were not a match, never had been, and he simply realized it before I did.
Sometimes it is easier to move on, to recover if your mate is a total douchebag. I had an ex explain to me in graphic terms what his sexual needs and preferences were (fear not, there will be a whole post dedicated to this episode) and I was easily able to conclude that we were not compatible, and I breezed the f*ck out of that sh*tshow. 
We have already discussed that men seldom want to be the bad guy and therefore can keep you in limbo, or rather purgatory, for a story that has no future. You must be courageous. You must not settle.  You can and will survive a break-up
Darlings, I beg of you, do not stay in a relationship for the wrong reasons or because of fear. It is always better to be alone than in bad company.
As we count down the Season of the Douche, I leave you with a quote brought to me by my dear friend, SW.
“... while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”
- Nikki Giovanni

Thursday, February 9, 2012

All My Exes Live in Texas - Part Deux

Darlings, in order to continue our ground-breaking survey of the Season Of the Douche, I have unearthed some treasures from the Vault.

N.B. These posts date from the early pre-Honey era (circa 2004-2006), so while the scenarios depicted may not be fresh news, they are still relevant to our study.

Warning: this reprint contains adult situations and strong language

Once upon a time, ok, it was three years ago (Editor's Note: this is now almost a decade ago), I was drifting off to sleep in the arms of my sweetie, when he nudged me and said, "I have to get going." I figured I was dreaming because no man in his right mind would say that to me in the middle of the night...unless he had a death wish.  The time was 3:14 a.m. I felt him shift in the bed and repeat his previous statement.  I slowly turned to look at him. Let me assure you that even in the dark, the death stare is effective. "Baby, I have an early tee time." Those last three words still hanging in the air, I bolted upright, jumped out of bed, threw his clothes in his face, and calmly said,"Get the fuck out of my bed." Ok, maybe it wasn't that calmly.

Man, you should have seen the look on his face.  I don't know if it was the tone of my voice or the shock of having something thrown at him, but he was stunned. One minute ago, she was a peaceful, sleeping cherub and, a fully-armed battle-ready hellion. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief. Then ensued a brief shouting match...

Miss O: I said get dressed and get the fuck out of here!
Him: What's wrong with you?
Miss O: Me?! What's wrong with you? An early tee time?! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!?!
Him: You goddamn women are all the same!

By this time, we were standing at the front door which I had flung open. I'm sure all the neighbors were enjoying the heated exchange.  He had managed to get his jeans on, the rest of his clothes were clutched in his right hand. I was wearing a lovely black lace nightie, barefoot, hair streaming.

All of a sudden, a moment of clarity came to me. I felt my fist clenching and thought, "if I swing, I can knock him down". My second thought was "I'm already dressed fabulously, let them take me away." My third thought," No jury would convict me after I testify about the 'early tee time' comment."

The cretin made his departure, unscathed, while I was still considering whether a jab or hook would be more effective. We continued to trade barbs as he made his way down the stairs. "We women are all the same? You're right. We're too fucking good for you!" I have no doubt that my neighbors were impressed with my liberal and creative use of the F-word.

Anyway, said cretin reanimated several months later in the middle of a dinner party.  Here I am having a sit-down for eighteen, when Mr. Early Tee Time strolls in like it's nothing out of the ordinary. I was baffled, but, ever the consummate hostess, politely offered him a cocktail.

Miss O: What's going on?
ETT: I need to...see...speak to...tell you...
Miss O: Let's step into my room. (shutting the door) Is everything ok?
ETT: I'm in love with you.
Miss O: !?!?!?! $%^&*!?!?!? Are you drunk?
ETT: Baby, please.

"Baby, please" is one of my favorite phrases. My other favorite is "I was a fool..."  I never get tired of hearing that one.

Long story short, Early Tee Time's reanimation was brief. When we saw each other the following week, he was already singing a different tune called "I love you, but I can't commit". Oh, sure, he tried to reanimate three more times, before finally leaving town. I really prefer that exes leave the state, if not the planet, once we part ways. So much more convenient.

And here, Darlings, it is easy for me to see, in hindsight, that I was not clear in ending the relationship. We were neighbors and therefore I was worried about seeming "bitchy" or "bitter" or "crazy" at such close proximity. So I did myself a disservice by letting Early Tee Time enter and exit my life at his whim, instead of shutting it down once and for all. Also, WAY too many times, I gave him the benefit of the doubt thinking: He'll get his act together. He said he's in love with me.

Listen, Sisters, talk is cheap.  You deserve a mate whose behavior and actions make you feel like a treasure, not a sad sack on the mark-down rack.  Repeat after me: I am a treasure.   

Don't ever let yourself be devalued.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All My Exes Live In Texas - Part One

Darlings, in order to continue our ground-breaking survey of the Season Of the Douche, I have unearthed some treasures from the Vault.

N.B. These posts date from the early pre-Honey era (circa 2004-2006), so while the scenarios depicted may not be fresh news, they are still relevant to our study.

Why is it that ex-boyfriends always "reanimate" just when you're "over them", "moving on", "getting married to someone else"? Sorry fellas, but this is a phenomenon that is exclusive to men. Ex-girlfriends do not have the gene to keep turning up like a bad penny. Sure, they may be locked away somewhere, but they don't attempt to regain contact/check-in/catch up after an inappropriate amount of time.

What is an inappropriate amount of time? Opinions vary, but let's say you haven't spoken in three years and the reason you broke up is because he cheated on you with a classless trollop, for example (any similarities to a real break-up are purely coincidental.) That, on Planet Miss O, would be considered inappropriate.

I have an impressive (!?) roster of exes who like to reanimate every so often. I have never understood the motivation. Guys, please enlighten me. Is it to see if your ex is still thinking of you? still in love with you? forgives you? Are you bored? unsatisfied? romanticizing the past? Seriously, I would love to know.

I believe that men have a sixth sense when it comes to contacting their exes.  Not two hours after bidding adieu to a particularly hideous ex, my phone started ringing off the hook. It started with, drum roll please... The Moroccan. Followed shortly by... The Poet, whom, incidentally, I haven't seen in FIVE years, and who, oh yes, MARRIED SOMEONE ELSE. To be fair, I think The Poet not exactly apologized, but at least owned up to some bad behavior in our relationship. I say I think because his call was at an ungodly hour and I was in the midst of some serious REM beauty sleep. Reanimation seldom takes place during normal business hours. (Editor's note: we may revisit posts on The Moroccan and The Poet should I be so inclined. Briefly, they are exes - only mildly hideous - who, along with "Chris Mafia", are MVP's of reanimation.)

I concede that I must be partly to blame. I am obviously not making a very clean, clear break with these characters. One of my dear friends ended a long-term relationship by writing in lipstick on the mirror: "I hate you heart, body, and soul". That's pretty clear.  Doesn't really leave room for negotiation. I, on the other hand, am more of a "Have you packed all your things?" while I attempt to restrain myself from inflicting bodily harm and escort Mr. I'm-in-a-Place to the door. As satisfying as a smack to the chops might feel, who wants to get involved with People's Court?

Update: Darlings, I am suggesting that a cessation of ALL interaction and communication with exes can help to avoid reanimation and thus limit exposure during the SOD...and ultimately help YOU to recover quickly from a break-up. I know that this theory will not go over with some of you.

"But I want to keep him in my life. He's my best friend. Waaah, waaah, waaah. Can't we still be friends? "

And here is where Miss O is compelled to dispense the tough love:

A. Grow a pair. If your ex is like 99% of human males, he would rather stick a pin in his eye than deal with a confrontation and deliver the bad news that he's just not that into you...or own up to being a dick. So you have to have the balls to get yourself the fuck out of this going-nowhere relationship.

B. Can you still be friends? Let me ask you this: do your real friends make you cry all the time and doubt your self-worth? are your real friends inconsiderate and careless with your feelings? I didn't think so. This guy is likely not a real friend...and therefore deserves no more of your love and energy. Sure, there are rare cases where you can remain amicable after a break-up, but they are few and far between, so better to protect yourself and your heart.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cosmic Thing

Dear Darlings, with January 2012 already in the books (frack, that month went quickly), let's take a look at what Feburary will bring us cosmically.

The Sun is now in Aquarius (as of January 20),  the most independent sign of the zodiac. Aquarians are known for their free-thinking and unpredictability. These unique creatures live on their own terms and cherish their freedom. During the Sun's transit through Aquarius, all of us, regardless of sign, have the opportunity to embrace these qualities. At the new year, I urged you to take out the trash, to rid yourself of people or habits that were holding you back. Now I ask: are you living a life that is true to yourself? to your dreams?

Sun in Aquarius is the moment to break out of your comfort zone, to leave familiar routines. I have a verrrry familiar routine of procrastination and I am giving it the heave-ho with the help of Aquarius. Sun in Aquarius is the time to embrace your individuality. Are there people or circumstances that are limiting you and what you want to achieve? Tell them to step off. This doesn't mean you have to isolate yourself or go it alone. Go ahead, try something unconventional, be a rebel...and find some like-minded people to join forces with.

On January 23 we entered the Year of the Water Dragon. It is a fortuitous time to pursue to an important goal, a fresh beginning. You see, Darlings, the planets, the Universe are conspiring to help you. Let them.

The planet Mercury is busy this month. Mercury rules communication, perhaps you'll remember that during Mercury Retrograde communication is total crap. We're not in a retrograde (thank the Lourdes) but communication is highlighted. This can mean some serious (tough) conversations which can turn at a moment's notice. So think before you speak. Don't worry, I have problems with that one too. I can attest that last week Honey and I spent 48 hours in deadlocked hostile communication and shortly after it was smooth sailing. Take advantage of Mercury's transits to identify easy solutions you may have overlooked.

I don't want to overwhelm you with planetary movements, I leave you just with this last bit of information...and information is POWER, Darlings. On February 3, Neptune moves in to Pisces. If you know anyone born in Pisces, you know they are the creative, dreamy type. Neptune is an outer planet meaning that it moves slowly, and therefore its shift into a new sign is noteworthy. Neptune in Pisces = big time creativity, especially for writers and musicians. Being both of those, I have no excuse not to produce. You may also feel a pull toward spirituality. I don't know any artist who's work wasn't made better through the inclusion of spirituality.  Don't think you're an artist? Then use this period for exploration.

I recently read a post about better habits for writers. All of the advice was excellent, but my favorite point was: F*ck Dreaming, Start Doing. Put those dreams into action, Darlings. Turn your visions into reality.

The Oracle wishes you all the best for a creative, independent month!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dear GG...

Darlings, I don't judge people by their size or their silhouette (only their f*cknots and posture), but sometimes (often) one's build needs to be taken into account when choosing garments. That being said, I understand that not everyone enjoys getting dressed as much as I do. Sometimes it's a chore.

I certainly don't dress to the nines when I go to sport. In fact, I am so pissed about being there in the first place, that I wear the extremely unimaginative ensemble of shorts, t-shirt, and a ponytail. Shorts: either black or khaki. T-Shirt: either green, blue, or white. All of the above items came from Tar-jay. I am almost totally unrecognizable from my "regular" appearance. I do, however, take it to the limit if I am playing tennis: full Wimbledon Whites from head to toe. Yes, that includes visor, tennis skirt, and Stan Smith Adidas. Why? Respect for the noble sport...and mental intimidation of my opponent.

Look, if people want to get gussied up to sweat with matching wristbands and color-coordinated spandex, God Bless 'em. If they don't, I simply advise/strongly request that they wear something clean that fits. Which brings us to today's CMO.

Dear Geriatric Gentleman in the HotPants,

While I applaud folks of all ages going to sport and maintaining their form, the sight of your  shriveled "coin purse" peeking out of those petite nylon shorts leads me to believe that you need to go up a size. Or get a mirror. You're welcome.

Cordially, Miss O

Miss O, taking it to the limit one more time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stranger than Fiction

Darlings, thank you for your enthusiastic response to Miss O's teachings on the Season of the Douche. Since I love real-life, "ripped from the headlines" teaching examples, I offer this gem, which, fortunately, dates from last year's S-O-D.  The level of douchebaggery is too hilarious not to share again.

This communique arrived in my inbox on Thursday, December 30, 2010: 
"Hi [Miss O], I was cleaning up my email folder and saw your message.  I don't think we had the chance to get acquainted.  I am not sure if you're still single or not but if you are, do you have an interest to speak by phone and make plans to meet soon, maybe even spend the coming weekend together or the following one? I am being genuine about this so let me know.  Where do you live by the way and what's your phone number to call you, assuming you're interested to hear from me."

I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Attached was an e-mail exchange from, wait for it...2006!!!!!
OK, where do I start?
A. Gotta give a guy credit for trying.
But B. You must be crazy thinking you can ask me out for the weekend on Thursday. Girl, please.
Moreover C. You're asking me out for New Years Eve on December 30th? Bitch, I know you just didn't.
Mostly D.  You last contacted me in Two thousand-fucking-SIX. Have I been in a coma for four years? Have YOU?
You can bet your Darling asses, I will respond.  It won't be as scathing as you might imagine. 

Something like: Dear Person, thank you for your note which I read with...horror/shock/amusement. Perhaps you have been in the witness protection program for the last four years, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt for the egregious delay. Where do I live, by the way? In FRANCE. Alas, I am not single. I am married and my husband carries a gun. No, I'm not kidding. Best of luck in your future romantic pursuits. Might I suggest that a timely response is more effective than one that is FOUR YEARS LATE? Cordially, Miss O
You're welcome, Darlings.
Miss O, telling it like it is since 1988.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'Tis the Season

Warning: this reprint contains Strong Language and Adult Themes.

Darlings, By now you have recovered from the excesses of the Holiday season...but what about that other season that coincides with the end of year festivities, with the birth of our Lourdes? It runs from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day...I am of course, speaking of The Season of the Douche.

What?! You've never heard of it? Oh Darlings, please. It is an annual phenomenon during which creatures, usually hideous exes, usually men, crawl out of their caves and "touch base" with unsuspecting humans. If you don't have any hideous exes then you can borrow some of mine. To be fair and accurate, some of these offenders are more hideous than others. Some are merely pesky, misguided, nostalgic or clueless and some are bottom-feeding pond scum.

Though it is an annual event, the Season of the Douche always takes me by surprise. Maybe it's wishful thinking that, finally, a year will pass without some poor dating decision coming back to haunt me...I guess I still have some karma to work off, because they (the aforementioned douches) keep coming back.

I have already discussed the occasional, unwelcome reappearance of these creatures  in "All My Exes Live in Texas" (forthcoming second edition). During the Season of the Douche, it's like the crypt has been opened and all the zombies feel compelled to make an appearance a la Thriller.

With the advent of Facebook, it is easier than ever for cretins to harass unsuspecting women.  During this past Season, the bad news was brought to me via FB from two offenders. They just had to reach out to me. Why? Good fucking question.

The first, who we'll call Matt, sent me a friend request with a note: "Hey, it's great to find you here." Um, what? Your douche-itude was established 5 years ago. On what planet do you think I would be happy to hear from you? Delete. The second sent me a friend request with no note. I didn't recognize his picture. Not because it was blurry or "artistically cropped"- the face simply did not ring a bell. Additionally he has a very generic name, we'll call him "Mike Robinson". I couldn't place him.  I ignored the request. Then I received a separate e-mail: "Hey, it's Mike, how have you been?" Creative, witty, non? The A-ha moment arrived, immediately followed by the "Smirk of Disdain". That joker?! Why in Lourdes' name would I want to be in contact with you?

These two are only minor-league douches, but still annoying reminders of a lapse in judgement. 

Through my investigative reporting, I have learned of other distasteful happenings during the S-O-D. One recently divorced friend was subjected to douchey (read: unnecessary) communication from her eunuch of an ex-husband.  He probably thought nothing of "reaching out", but this contact sent her into a tailspin. "Why, Miss O, why did he call? Why now!?"  He's a douche. Period. The end.

Maybe you've been in a serious relationship for years and think you may be exempt from the S-O-D? Sorry, Sister, no one is exempt, but hold tight, there is only a month to go!

We have previously explored the concept of reanimation and as before, I welcome your insights. I understand nostalgia, but not if your shared history ended on a sour note. Yes, Miss O has a very good memory. To wit, I recently received a note from an old sweetheart - we haven't had contact in 15 years. My douche-detector tells me that it is a simple, friendly greeting devoid of sketchy intentions. Lovely, fine, nice to hear from an old pal. I accept. But, if my last words to you were: "I think you're a fucking idiot." Then, no, I don't want to K.I.T.   Ever. In this lifetime or the next.

A final cautionary tale in which the ugly underbelly of FB fully reveals itself. A dear pal of mine, Miss S, received a friend request from a hideous ex. Their story had not ended on good terms. Naturally, she was incensed. I know the guy. In the light of day, he seemed normal but his douchey potential was lurking just below the surface. There was no note with the request (unacceptable) so she clicked through to his profile. Why had he suddenly reached out? She arrives at his page to find that he has blocked all of the pertinent information except for the fact that he is now ENGAGED. No, no, no, no, NO! This is why women become crazy. He didn't have the balls to tell her himself, he led her to find out through his FB status. She called me, raving, " Why?! WHY?!". Repeat after me: He is a DOUCHE.  Sometimes it's that simple. 

I have friends who struggle with closure at the end of a relationship. They want answers, explanations. They consider meeting with their hideous ex to search for meaning. They ask themselves: could I have done anything differently? They go over every conversation. Was there a red flag that was missed? Darlings, more often than not the answer is found in a single syllable. Ever noticed how douche contains the word "Ouch"? Not a coincidence.

Have you been touched during the Season of the Douche? Please share your heart-warming/horrifying story!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Love is Blind...and Deaf

For the first time in a long time, during my shower this morning, I was inspired to sing. I am a lifelong shower belter, but lately I haven't been feeling particularly energetic (especially before noon), let alone performance-ready.

From somewhere in the vast recesses of my underwater repertoire came the first lines of I Dreamed a Dream, my favorite Les Miserables solo. It felt like putting on an old, comfortable shoe. Familiar, imbued with nostalgia, an object of affection. Can shoes be imbued with nostalgia? Mine are.

As I sang through each verse, with greater and greater emotion and dramatic intention, I imagined Honey (who was sitting in the next room), thinking to himself: What a gem I found! I am the luckiest man in the world. Not only is my Sweetheart wonderful, but such a talented singer, such a passionate performer. I am moved by her voice, her artistic expression...

When I was in college I sang with a lass who was approached by a cute boy after one of our concerts. He had been smitten by her voice, and they ended up dating for a couple of years. I thought that was incredibly romantic and hoped that one day Prince Charming would be summoned by my dulcet tones. In fact, I did serenade Honey on the night we met but I doubt the "acoustics" of the famed Fifth Bar did my voice any favors.

By this time I was splashing about in the shower "air conducting" as I approached the exciting finale. Cue strings. Poor Fantine on her deathbed. The audience would have been in tears. The money note (hold it, hold it, maximum drama) and then, hushed, molto espressivo, the last, heartwrenching, tragic line.

I pictured Honey, eyes wet with emotion, waiting to embrace me as I came out of the bathroom in my robe. I turned off the water expecting to hear the rustle of tissues as he tried to pull himself together, but instead of sniffling, I heard loud squawking from the computer and bursts of profanity.

"Honey?" I edged my head around the bathroom door.

"Ah Putain! Tu le crois?!" (translation: For Frack's Sake! Can you believe this?!)

"What's going on, Sweetie? did you hear me singing?" I coo.

"What? Oh, yeah, for a minute...mais ca c'est degueulasse. Il nous a VO-LE. Cet arbitre est a-VEUGLE. La honte!" Clasping of hands, pacing, vigorous shaking of head.

(translation #1: What a crock! We were ROBBED. Freaking ref needs a new pair of glasses.)
(translation #2: I heard you singing, but then I turned up the rugby highlights to drown you out.)

Damn. Miss O's Broadway Revival: 0, Sports Channel: 1

Ah, love.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dear SFE...

Darlings, as you know my "gym-time" is endured for the betterment of health blah blah blah but also for your amusement, and in some extreme cases as a cautionary tale. To be fair, I am occasionally (always) in a crabby mood when engaging in "sport", so please forgive if my observations appear harsh or judgmental. Even Miss O cannot be magnanimous 100% of the time.

This "episode" prompted one of my first open letters in the Cordially, Miss O format, which I have found is a useful vehicle for imparting wisdom, advice, and gentle critique.

Dear Skinny French Embryo at the gym wearing full make-up and a f*cknot, with your trashy bra-straps showing,

If I ever catch you looking at my Honey again, you're not going to make it to fetus. Are we clear? Good. I'm so glad we had this chat. 

Cordially, Miss O

When this missive was first made public, there was an outpouring of support from the community which helped to diffuse what could have quickly become an "international incident". There was a precarious moment when the Miss O Death Stare (TM) reached Defcon 4 but I am happy to report that no casualties were sustained. As to the fate of the aforementioned SFE, I had nothing to do with her fall down the stairs, nor her near-suffocation in the steam room. Nothing.

This incident raised a number of queries from the Miss O readership.
A. French people go to the gym? 
B. What, pray tell, is a f*cknot?

Miss O is an educator, and as such, is delighted to share her knowledge and experience. So...
A. Yes, a handful of french people go to the gym. Besides Honey and those select few who genuinely enjoy being sportive, the rest are grade-A douchebags (and that's just the girls). I will be writing at length about the specific flavors and habits of these specimen.

B. A f*cknot (or f*ck-knot) is a hairdo intended to heighten the wearer's desirability by indicating that the creature in question has just hit the sheets and may be amenable to further unclothed adventures.It can be recognized by a state of disarray with excessive volume/knot at the back of the crown. When naturally achieved in the privacy of one's home, the f*cknot can be charming. However, taking the f*cknot on the road, whether legitimately earned or falsified, is strongly discouraged.

Here endeth the lesson.