“You are Not Handsome.”

sc0036b468Okay, let me preface this by saying that I clearly haven’t been making a habit of it, but tonight, this post is entirely sponsored by Maker’s Mark and also a couple of glasses of sauvignon blanc.  There will be typos.  I’ll say things I’ll probably regret in the morning, but that’s okay, my mom is out of town and won’t see this until Monday or Tuesday.

Let me start by saying, I am a little fascinated by the attention my last blog has received on Twitter.  Apparently, Jimmy Fallon has a lot of angry twentysomething female fans.  I’ve received several private messages about Let it Go?, some in support and others saying she was too sensitive.  All I can say is, while I do like anything that encourages dialogue, I don’t think it’s cool to hurt a person’s feelings.  If you hurt someone’s feelings, even if you think they are overreacting, just apologize.  You have nothing to lose and who knows how much it might mean to them.  Okay, end of sermon.

When I was swimming this morning, I thought about this young woman I worked with back at the Popover Cafe in NYC in the early ’90s.  Her name was Conan Morrissey.  If I was sober, I might have made up a pseudonym, but I’m not, so that is her real name!  We worked together.  She was an actress with dirty blond hair that bore a striking resemblance to a young Glenn Close.  She had a pedigree, I think she did her graduate program somewhere fancy (Louisville, maybe?)  Anyway, one night at work, we were talking about something and I casually mentioned I thought I was handsome.  I certainly don’t remember a time when I talked about my good looks, but at 25, in 1993, when I ran at least 5 miles a day through the streets of Manhattan, I probably was as good as I’ve ever looked.  Anyway, I said something along the lines of “I am handsome.”  My co-worker, a female who was quite literally the definition of a “handsome woman” told me pointedly, “You are not handsome.”  I was crestfallen, easily.  “Well, cute, maybe?” I offered.  “No, you are not handsome or cute.  You’re just NOT, I’m sorry.”  

And we went about our business and the rest of the time I worked with her, I kept trying to act handsome-ish in the hopes that she might come to me and say, “Ray, I’m sorry, I was wrong.  You are handsome.”  It never happened.  She moved away to Vermont or something to run a theatre company with her boyfriend, who seemed a little gay, if you ask me, not that you did.

Now, my last blog post, about my friend Carreen, who can hold a grudge for a very long time, made me think about myself and the grudges I hold.  I’m not saying I think about Conan every day, but when I do think of her, I do get kind of pissed.  She really knew me at my peak and if I wasn’t handsome THEN, then when?  

I just think it’s a good rule of thumb to tell your friends (or co-workers) that they are handsome or cute or look great in that outfit or that that sweater makes their eyes pop or whatever makes them feel good about themselves.  I think we all have enough negative voices inside our heads that we don’t need the people who are supposed to be our support system to tell us how average we are.  But, hey, that’s me.  

Conan Morrissey, wherever you are, I’m fine, don’t worry about me.  I have people who tell me on a daily basis how cute my plaid shirt is, even if they don’t always mean it.  But if you do happen to stumble across this someday, I hope that by now you’ve learned to be just a little bit nicer.  You could scar a person for life with the things that you say.

And for the rest of you, I’ve added at picture of me with my parents at twenty five. Maybe I wasn’t handsome, maybe I wasn’t even cute. But I’m very protective of that guy and I think he was very special. A little squirrely, maybe, but not without his charms.

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Narcissism

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A couple nights ago, I was curled up on my couch, reading a John Cheever short story. Sadly, every few passages, I would lay down the book, pick up my phone and check my Facebook and more importantly, the stats page on my blog, this blog, easilycrestfallen.com. I thoroughly enjoyed the story about a midwestern writer with some delusions about his writing talents. It rang true because here I was reading a Cheever masterpiece and I kept setting it aside to see what people on the internet might be saying about, well, you know where this is headed.

So yesterday, I was talking to my friend Eboni about how I feel like I’m slipping into a rabbit hole and I don’t know how to get out. She suggested I take a one week break from Facebook, Twitter and most importantly, checking the stats page on my blog, this blog easilycrestfallen.com. When she suggested it, I told her she was cruel to even suggest it, it would be like 7 days without a heartbeat, it would kill me. “Do you know how much LIVING goes on on Facebook in a week’s time?” I might have said. I countered with, “24 hours”, she guffawed. I whispered, “Forty eight hours?” She told me I was going to do whatever I wanted anyway. So, we and by we, I mean I decided that I would take a 48 hour break from Facebook, Twitter and checking those damn stats. She did say I could continue to post to my blog. Actually, that’s the point. Unlike every other time I post something, I won’t be able to immediately run to my stats page or see how many “likes” I’ve received on Facebook. In fact, it will be 48 hours (well, 39 hours and 28 minutes now: I started my sabbatical last night) before I know how my little offering will be received by the masses. I feel like an old-time writer again, like John Cheever even. And don’t be too judgemental about me. Trust me when I say that Cheever was even more of a narcissist than I am.