The Death of the RSVP

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Sure we all have a lot going on, but when did flakiness become the rule (instead of the exception)?

These are all actual responses to a get together I planned to host – in my home, that required real supplies, and actual food/drinks (not just a seamless delivery or meetup at a bar).

“I think so!”

“Can I let you know? I think I have a dinner that night so I’m not sure yet.”

….no response….

“Ah sounds so fun and I think I should be free. Would love to join and can confirm tomorrow!”

“I’m not sure, but keep me in the loop.”

 “I plan on coming…”

And the subtext was…

…if I plan ahead and go to the gym before work (but I probably won’t).

…if work isn’t too crazy.

…if nothing better comes up.

…if I don’t decide I’d rather watch Netflix by myself.

I can read between the lines. It’s like everyone liked the idea of getting together, but no one wanted to actually commit until they knew definitively there wasn’t a more appealing plan.

Or maybe they wanted to just wishy washy enough that when they decided to bail at the last minute, I, as the hostess, wouldn’t be surprised.

Then, the day before – when any good party planner has already made the bulk of the preparations for the get together (read: spent money on booze and food) – the cancellations started to roll on in.

“Sorry to be a total flake, but something came up I need to see about.”

“Sorry to be lame, I have a tinder date… I don’t want to be alone forever lolz!”

“I feel like death. I’m trying to rest up so I can be well for this weekend!”

“I don’t think I can make it. I got a big week at work!!!”

And the sad thing is – I expected them. It has become so common for people to cancel on plans via a quick text with little to no notice, it wasn’t a shock.

But it was a disappointment, because no matter how much you expect it, when you’ve made preparations for having company, it’s a bummer when they pull out. Luckily for my not-attending guests, it’s hard to hear frustration through a text message. And even though your guest is doing the rude thing, the polite way to respond isn’t to say…

“What happened to making plans, and then scheduling other things around it?”

“Tinder dates can happen any damn day of the week – except the one you already had a thing.”

“How late are you really working homey?”

It’s to say…

“No worries! Let’s get together soon!”

“Have fun! Maybe he’s the one!!”

“Ugh work is the worst, but at least I’ll see you this weekend instead!”

It’s to let your guest off the hook, and smooth things over, when what you really want to do is tell your friends that they’re the absolute worst.

Now, sometimes, it’s true. Things do come up after you’ve already made plans – and being sick is a legitimate excuse, but this isn’t that. It’s an epidemic of refusing to say you’re going to do something, then actually do it.

Of course we all occasionally skip the birthday party you said you’d go to because you’re tired out and need a night on the couch, and you know that 10 other people will be there at there at the bar with cake and candles. Bailing happens.

Yet lately, it seems like a weird bystander effect – you know, the one that makes no one call the cops when they witness a crime because just think someone else is going to do it – but socially. Everyone thinks that someone else will be there. Someone else won’t bail. In big groups of friends, it’s easy to get away with. Except what if, what if one time no one actually shows up?

Or it’s the constant connectedness. There was a time when if you were having a birthday party, you had to mail invitations. Then to respond, you had to pick up the phone and talk to a person – or at least leave a recorded voice message saying if you’d make it. Now, invites happen by group text, by facebook invitation, or evite. It’s a lot easier to ignore the RSVP when there’s no personal contact involved – or to write a quick message cancelling with lots of emojis and exclamation points that seem to capture how disappointed you are to miss it. There’s no disappointed tone of voice. No frown to see.

Or maybe it’s invitation fatigue. There are so many things to do all the time, we get tired, panic, and don’t respond to any of them. Or we genuinely want to go, say we will, then feel overwhelmed and bail. But here’s an idea – what if, we just commit to the things we can realistically do and then use google calendar to remind ourselves?

In many ways, it’s actually easier to remember what we have to do than it was in yesteryear. We have iPhone alerts, and google calendars that sync across devices. There’s no more writing it on one calendar, but not seeing it when you’re at work and it’s at home.

There is uber and lyft so we don’t have to worry about a designated driver (at least in metropolitan areas).

There are services that will deliver us gifts within two days, wrapped if we please. I can even order a card online and have someone else write it and mail it for me. Still I find myself constantly frustrated by flakiness and refusal to commit.

Wouldn’t we all be a lot happier if we just decided to do what we want (and stick to it)?Can you relate?

And until everyone gets their ish together, at least there is this guide to getting people to ACTUALLY show up.

Image by Pexels.

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I Hate Me Some [Fill in the Blank]

verbal fadEvery now and again there’s a verbal fad that really grates on my nerves (see butthurt).

Everything “AF”? I love that enthusiasm. All the feels for “low-key ____”? Sure. It’s fun.

But lately, everyone is saying and posting, “Love me some [fill in the blank].” And it drives me nuts.

It adds SO many unnecessary words, when you could just be saying, “I love puppies.” Or marshmallows. Or whatever strikes your fancy.

It co-opts a dialect from the South and Appalachian, where most of the people I see using it just.aren’t.from. Which, just sounds odd when it’s not a person’s typical way of speaking.

I didn’t want to blame Toni Braxton, and her 1997 hit I Love Me Some Him because, let’s be honest, anyone listening to Toni should be playing Unbreak My Heart or Let It Flow.

And then.

I found this article, that credits Toni as the original snowclone creator. The Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack will never be the same for me again.

What do you think? Do you say, “Love me some ……”?

Image by Prawny.

Links!

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Here’s what I’ve been reading on the internet lately.

My immediate post-college career would have been so much easier if this existed already. I wish every office had them.

YES to Elizabeth Warren. “Fifty years later, violence against African Americans has not disappeared.”

No wonder it feels like money goes so quickly round these parts. New York gets only $86.73 of $100.

If I was going to get a tattoo, it would be one of these gorgeous works of art.

Illustrations of celebrities and their younger selves, side-by-side.

This app would really cut down on the amount of pepper spray we might need to buy.

Turns out, the internet doesn’t make us isolated and lonely. Hooray!

How exercise makes us happier.

Finally! Thank you, Australia, for setting a good example.

My new hobby for when I retire.

Do You Act Your Age?

*Originally posted as In Which Everyone Realizes I’m Actually 50 or 80 as the case may be

Ever since I was a child, people have remarked about how I never really act my current age. My mother said I was born a little adult, and the librarian backed her up by calling to report that the fiction I chose was not age-appropriate. Growing up, my sister used to say I had the habits of a middle-aged man. Fast forward to now, when my friends regularly proclaim there must an old woman trapped in my young(ish) adult body. Then I read this post on Yes and Yes, and it got me thinking about what exactly I do to give everyone this impression. So I decided to make my own list, a condensed story of my life, where I tend toward a senior citizen. Here are some of things I love that are not age appropriate.

Casseroles

I like to eat them, and I like to make them, and not just at holidays like Thanksgiving. Hot melty bowls of veggies and meat usually covered in mayonnaise and cheese with a delicious crunchy topping? Sign me up.

Crossword Puzzles

They’re the only reason I ever take the AM New York from those pesky subway workers, or buy Star magazine.  Actually, let’s just make that puzzles , in general. I love putting them together, especially if they are covered in glitter feature cute animals.

Scratch Off Lottery Tickets

Though I have to go into the sketchy bodegas that usually feature pet cats roaming around, and degenerate gamblers playing strings of numbers, every now and then, I need to satisfy my itch for a Cashword or Win for Life. Hey guys, if you don’t buy the ticket, you can’t ever win.

Clogs and Nightgowns

I own them and wear them, even though I’m pretty sure they are only made for the Swedes and people living in retirement homes.

Crocheting

I find it relaxing to make scarves and hats while watching TV. Maybe its my short attention span that requires me to do multiple things at once for entertainment. Or maybe I am just secretly an old woman on the inside.

USA Network

You know those shows that only your parents watch during the summer? Like Royal Pains, and Suits, and that one your mother can’t stop talking about how handsome the lead guy is, White Collar? They’re my favorite shows too.

Bonnie Rait, James Taylor and Aretha Franklin

It’s not the classic music that is SO HIP to listen to, or scores you points with the hippies at music festivals. It will, however, let you bond with your boss. These guys feature heavily into my iPod playlists, and I may or may not own their Christmas albums.

I Speak in Proverbs

If you’re spent time with me, you’re probably so used to me using expressions like, “That’s handy!” or, “Under mackerel sky, they ground’s never dry” that you don’t even notice them anymore. At least that’s what I tell myself when I let a, “Go to town!” slip out in the workplace when a coworker asks to do something. Or when I find myself clucking my tongue and thinking, “Willful waste makes for woeful want” when I see someone throwing out food. My strange little expressions picked up over the years from my great-grandma, aunts and uncles, and country childhood go unnoticed to most, right? Right.

Punch and a Cheeseball are Book Club Refreshments

This one’s two-fold. I have a book club. When I used to host it at my apartment, a typical snack was a big bowl of punch (alcoholic of course), and a cheese ball or dip. Sound like something you’d see at Aunt Gertrude’s holiday party? Also for book club I have been known to suggest a Nicholas Sparks book, and secretly read a Norah Roberts novel in between selections here and there.

I don’t know why I like all of these older-lady things. Maybe it’s because of all the time I spend at my grandparent’s house growing up (Hi Gram!), or maybe I was destined to be age inappropriate from birth.

Anything I forgot to include friends? What do you like that’s not typical for your age?

Links!

links

Here’s what I’ve been reading on the internet lately.

Phew! For everyone freaking out about turning 30 this year, you’re still in the ideal age range to get married.

So true (especially can openers!) Lefty Struggles.

I think this is a pretty genius idea to get food that is normally wasted to people who need it. Let’s follow Spain’s lead!

Summer may be ending, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop listening to the President’s Summer Playlists!

The only thing cuter than a baby panda is a baby panda sleeping in a basket.

Lisa Frank, the early years.

A great way a lot of people haven’t thought of to Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Team Idris.

10 daily habits of exceptionally happy people.

Brooke from One Tree Hill (as she will perpetually be known in my memory) shares her secrets to a happy life.

The Best Pizza in NYC

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Ever since I visited Chicago this summer, I have found myself having many favorite-type-of-pizza conversations. It’s a topic that New Yorker’s never get tired of talking about, and everyone has lots of opinions about where to get the best slice. After careful consideration, when people ask me if I liked Chicago pizza better than NYC (it’s delicious, but no), and what’s my number one place, here’s what I say. With this many yummy options to choose from, you can’t pick just one.

*Warning: If you haven’t eaten lunch yet, you should probably stop reading here.

Favorite Everyday Slice: Muzzarella’s

No one is going to travel very far when they are craving a slice while sitting on their couch watching TV. The best spot in my neighborhood is my number one for a few reasons – 1. They deliver slices 2. Their cheese slices is on point, along with their white and lasagna. The basics are reliably tasty.

Favorite Special Slice: Artichoke

While 99.9% of the time, I get the artichoke slice because it is a small piece of cheesy oozy heaven, their crab and margarita slices are delicious in their own right. If you’ve got the time, and stomach space – sit down and order a fresh pie and have a drink, it’s even better when you’re not standing, scarfing down your slice in the tiny area outside.

Favorite Neopolitan: Motorino

Do yourself a favor and order the Brussels sprout pie with smoked pancetta. Or if that’s too exotic, the cremini mushroom. You won’t be sorry.

Favorite Sicilian: South Brooklyn Pizza

I am still devastated that their East Village location closed. Their pies are expensive, starting at $25 before you even add all your favorite toppings, but they are so, so worth every single dollar. Their dough is outstanding. You won’t leave even the smallest bite of crust behind.

Favorite Wood-Fired Pie: Zero Otto Nove

I visit this standby when I am in the Bronx at my alma mater, Fordham. Don’t even bother reading the menu, just order La Cirilo for the table as an appetizer as soon as you sit down. You’ll be the hero of dinner once everyone tastes the sweet-savory butternut squash and truffle oil combination.

Favorite All-Around Best Pizza: Juliana’s

If this place was more conveniently located to where I live and work, I am pretty sure I would eat it once a week. If you’re looking for the best pizza in NYC, this one gets my vote. I’m generally not a huge fan of waiting  in line for food, but in this case, it’s worth the wait. Just TRY not to eat at least 3 slices (spoiler alert: you won’t be able to do it. It’s so good, you just can’t stop after two).

Image by British Mum

How What We Read/Watch Affects Happiness

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We all spend a lot of time reading and watching things on screens these days. There are health problems from it (you’ve heard of “tech neck,” right?), and marathoning has become a couch sport – not just a long race for athletic types. Now, a new study by Civic Science (that I read about in the September issue of Women’s Health mag) reveals that what we choose to spend time scrolling through can predict whether we’re happy or sad.

On Social Media

People who spent time creating and pinning to boards on Pinterest fared the best, because it’s a platform that encourages creative expression. It’s less about getting validation or approval from others, and more about fulfilling your artistic (or cooking or decorating) impulses, which is more pleasurable.

On the Big Screen

Whether you’re watching oldie-but-goodies on Netflix, or catching the latest blockbuster at the multiplex, those who chose dramas were happier, while people who took in horror movies were the bluest. While the latest slasher can be entertaining, it’s hard to relate to the characters, or picture yourself in the film. People who can commiserate with the actors on screen get more out of watching.

On Television

Sports fans rejoice! People who watch five to 10 hours of their favorite teams a week fare better emotionally than those who don’t log any time cheering (or yelling as the case may be) at the TV screen. Fan girls and boys gain a sense of community with their fellow fans, and feel a part of something bigger. Those who skip the fantasy leagues and read a book on game day miss out.

Image by Craig Sunter