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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Dreaded Friend Zone : The Sbarros Heisman

  I remember the first time I was put in the friend zone. It was at Sbarros, I had dough in my hair, an apron on, and a confused look on my face. And, thus began my adolescence living in the friend zone. For most of my high school days more guys would view me as a sister than sexy. I always heard things like, "Lauren you're like one of the guys." I got used to being the friend, and not the girlfriend. But, no matter how often it happens it still sucks. And, like the Heisman trophy being placed in the friend zone is like some football player straight taking off with the ball without you. But, before he jets off to score that touchdown he pushes you down, deep into the friend zone with his Heisman hands, and then poses. And, when you get pushed down to the friend zone sometimes it's hard to get up.

   The Sbarro's Heisman
  It was my first high school job. It was not glamorous, but I loved making my own money. I spent my evenings after school getting pizza from a huge hot oven, and serving it to many ungrateful mall customers. White spots of dough were stuck on apron, sweat beating down my face, and my feet ached from standing. The jobs had its perks though. We got free pizza, and pasta every night. And, some nights we'd trade pizza for sweets at the cookie stand. Then there was Paul.

Paul was the goofiest, silliest, guy that worked at Sbarro's. He had black charcoal skin, a giant afro, and glasses. In between pizza orders we talked about our dreams, and troubles. He picked on me, and I picked on him. He gave me the kind of laughs that made your belly ache. And, as a tomboy struggling to find her femininity he always made me feel beautiful with a simple smile or compliment. When girls came to the pizza counter they saw a goofy looking black guy with a fro, but they didn't see what I saw. I saw a cool, funny, ambitious boy, a guy any girl would be lucky to have. One night after shutting down the pizza shop, Paul finally asked me out. My face felt warm, and I could hear my heart beating. I said, yes.

   The date was simple perfection. We ate at the pizza shop for the discount. And, Paul loudly boasted to everyone that we were indeed on a date. I felt so special. We walked through the mall, darting in and out of stores. We had this quirky humor that only we understood. We played in the toy store, and tried on clothes just for fun. On one occasion he even held my hand. I looked up at him, and he smiled. It was so sweet, and I hoped this meant I was on the path to being his girlfriend.

The next few days were a blur. In what seemed like days, Paul had transformed into something else, someone foreign, someone not dorky. The next time I saw Paul his Afro was gone, his glasses were gone, and he didn't want to joke around anymore. I couldn't understand what was happening. It was like Steve Urkel turning into Stefan. I admit, it was like Paul got sexy over night. But, I didn't need all that.. I loved dorky, Afro, glasses Paul. This new look was icing on the cake. During our shift I tried to talk to him, but he was short. I turned around, and threw a piece of pizza dough at Paul to get him to lighten up. He didn't laugh at all. He even asked me to get serious. Where was my Paul?  Had some alien stole him overnight, and inhabited his body ? It sure seemed like it. For the next few days Paul was kind of distant, not mean, but definitely not the same sweet guy I went out with.

Had I done something wrong? Did he notice I farted in the toy store? Oh God maybe he thinks I'm ugly. Why won't he just tell me what's going on?

This is the part I hate. The wondering, waiting, and wishing. What I didn't realize at the time was that Paul was giving me the old Heisman. He just didn't have the balls to say it to my face.

I pulled back as well, and work became a lot less exciting. When the girls came to the counter, more of them watched, and lingered waiting for Paul to look their way. They would wave, and giggle. Then more of them started coming to the counter asking for Paul. I despised these girls. But, the worst day was on one of Paul's days off. He came to the counter with a girl around his arm. I stood there swallowing the hurt, as he asked me to get them pizza. Finally I had to say something.

"Paul what is going on? You have been acting really different lately? I thought that you and I....."

Before I could even finish Paul looked back at his new skinny, feminine girl toy, and said, "You know L, I realized I can't do this one girl thing. It was cool kicking it with you, but I'm going to play the field for a while. But, we're still cool right?"

My heart shattered in a dozen pieces. We were most certainly not cool. My first taste of the friend zone cut deep. I started looking for jobs the next week. I couldn't stand it. I felt like I had egg on my face, and everyone could see it.  I was played, by this new suave Paul. And, something in me felt like I wasn't good enough. I think that's part of why the friend zone hurts, it's almost like saying, "I like you, but you're not good enough to be my lover."

It's been more than 10 years since that first friend zone experience, and it still hurts the same.

My Recent Heisman
After an intense revelation that me and my new suitor indeed wanted to be together, I thought I had sailed out of the friend zone. And, somewhere between reconciling and forgiveness I was sure romance would follow. I was so wrong. In fact, apparently I'm also deaf. My suitor said he said nothing about reconciling, and I heard his words all wrong. He was tired, confused, and just trying to make me feel better. Buddy spare me that kind of friendliness next time. How is that for a Heisman shove? But, we could still be friends, right. I think I'll pass. Turns out I was a rebound love that gave him the strength he needed to propose to his ex-girlfriend. Figures.

Here I am, my heart in a dozen little pieces like the little girl I was before. And, I know there is no turning back from this friend zone. As I look up from the grass being kicked in my face from the force of this Heisman player, I am left wondering when will the game stop. And, when will the next player, pick me up, dust me off, and say, "Let's do this together. Be my girlfriend." Because, this friend zone can be a lonely place if you linger too long.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Are You a Facebook Fame Monster ?

Facebook is the perfect food for hungry, and thirsty fame wannabes. And, I think all of us could admit the little social networking site has tapped into our secret desires to be popular, desired and adored. This is why I think Facebook is so genius. It feeds something most of craved in high school, popularity.

Most of you know this feeling, the little tinge of excitement you get when people like your latest clever facebook status. Because that means somewhere out there in the world wide web 10 people took time to click and "like" your status. That required a little thought, and a click of the mouse, but it does wonders for our social egos. It's hard not to get intoxicated off that feeling.

I post, I tag, I like and comment. But what I am really doing is reaching, calling, asking-- doing you really like me? Do you really care about me?

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about joining Facebook during its infancy. In the good ole days it was just a website for college students, our own exclusive Internet society. Now the folks at Facebook opened the Pandora's box to every, Tom, Dick, and Harry to have a facebook page.

At first I thought going on Facebook was like being socially naked, letting any and everyone have a peak at my inner life. Sure I decide what goes up but each time you're giving a piece of yourself. Reluctantly I took the plunge, diving into a new world of networking where the rules were not exactly clear and the opportunity to be loved and liked was so much better than the real world.

Friend requests came pouring in. From the old high school flames to my arch nemesis everyone wanted to be in my social world. As I watched my friend count climb from one to 601 .. My ego bolstered with every request. But who are these 601 people ? Would they speak if I saw them on the street ? Would they every pick up the phone to call me? Probably not.

Although, they may not speak to me on the street or remember my face ..thanks to facebook they remember my birthday, send congrats on my weight loss, and send comforts on my breakups. This is the status of facebook friends... And with every add something in me feels more desired than the request before. Don't pretend you don't know this feeling. Why else would we add every person who takes a liking to our photo or quirky comments ?

Its like the fame and notoriety  I always wanted in high school but never attained. And like celebrities I think we can all appreciate how  Facebook gives us the chance to reinvent or reintroduce ourselves. No more am I the chubby, boyish black girl who hid behind her chunky braids. I have shed that young persona, and Facebook helps me flaunt. All my former chunky, last chosen at the dance girls can feel what I am saying on this. Who doesn't want to show the people of your past how far you have grown? Hell that is basically what High School Reunions are. Facebook has given the world a glimpse into the real me... The quirky, silly girl who loves her dog, and The Rock... I can show all of that off - ... I think we all can appreciate facebook for showing the world the real us or at least the us we want to share

To Facebook or Not to Facebook
I honestly thought about shutting my page all together after a recent rift....  Considering what Facebook does for my social life and swagger... I think I'll keep it around for a while.

 Considering that most of us will never reach Kardashian or Bieber fame I say relish in your facebook celebrity. Drink up the facebook love ..the support on the bad days, and the smiley faces on the great days. I think we all deserve to feel a little famous and fabulous even if its only on facebook.

To my facebook fam love you : )