Yes, Virginia, Smoking Is Still Bad For You.

Y’all, I have some news for you. This may come as a shock, so prepare yourselves. No drinking hot beverages or carrying glassware for the next declaration.

You ready?

Smoking causes cancer.

Wait. What’s that you say? You already knew this? They covered this in school program after school program, when you were a kid, to the point of cramming it down your wee, smoke-free throat? Well, that’s interesting, since I have decided everyone my age is now a smoker.

Last weekend, as mentioned in my rambling post about cute professors, Mae and I went to a much beloved Texas icon, Gruene Hall. It’s, essentially, a regular bar/music venue, only with more faux-cowboys and wood floors. It’s also filled with college students and post-college twenty-somethings having a very, very good time. And smoking. I swear, every damn person under 30 lit up a cigarette at some point, including some of my very own friends.

Y’all, I’m confused. Did the CDC release a memo saying that smoking is now totally okay for young, cool people? Do skinny jeans and ironic mustaches somehow counteract cancer cells? If so, that’s pretty awesome. More leg stranglers for everyone! Only…I feel like I would have heard about that. You know, being an almost-doctor and all. Last, I checked, smoking still causes cancer, among other awful conditions. Like actual cancer, not the magic cancer fairy from Neverland. It doesn’t only exist, when people shout rousing choruses of “I do believe in Cancer! I do I do!”

So, what’s the deal? I know that our generation loves to rebel, but this seems ridiculous. DARE wasn’t showing us all those gross missing-jaw photos, just because they want to ruin our fun. Cancer isn’t something you just choose not to believe in, like Santa Claus. Smoking isn’t dressed in a red, jolly suit; it’s dressed in a tar-colored cloak of death. Like, the kind you don’t come back from, after a nice chat with Dumbledore in King’s Cross Station.

Also, that whole “I only smoke, when I drink!” thing? Bullshit. I’ve seen that movie, friends. Your cravings don’t magically appear, just because you’re holding a Cosmopolitan. The appear, stick around, and pester the shit out of you, until you’re suddenly saying “I only smoke, when I drink…and wake up, and come back from work, and feel stressed out.” Awesome. So, you’re a smoker. Even if you only did it when you drank, what’s the reasoning? You’d like a little tar breath, with your hangover? You think Ernest Hemingway was an awesome, totally not dysfunctional at all role model? No. The man could write, but he was not an ad for healthy living.

I will give you that smoking looks cool. More than most people, I grew up watching old movies. Cary Grant makes a cigarette look damn attractive, let me tell you. But in reality? Nobody wants to kiss someone with bad breath, except other people with bad breath. Is that what we want, Millenials?  We want to kiss people with bad breath? I feel like we’re better than that. We’re sure as hell better than pretending we’re all immortal.

Look, we’re all going to die. That’s the human condition. Let’s not hasten it up, just because all the other hipsters are doing it. Keep your Snidely Whiplash moustache, but – please! – lose the damn cigarette.

– Grace

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This is My Brain on Men

There’s something you should know about writers, kittens. We’re fucking crazy.

It took me twenty-one years to realize I wanted to write books, but the signs were there all along. I had a preoccupation with movie plot holes, took unnaturally intense pride in my perfect AP English scores, and would cut a bitch over an Oxford comma. The true warning, however, was my predilection for creating fantastically detailed romantic scenarios in my head. When wee-Grace liked somebody, she would daydream precisely how the meet-cute would occur – down to outfits, settings, and extensive dialogue.

Wee-Grace: Oh, you dropped your pencil, cute boy!

Cute Boy: So I did. This pencil actually means a lot to me – it was a gift from my late dog. Thank you for returning it, Wee-Grace.

Wee-Grace (blushing fetchingly): No problem.

Cute Boy: You wouldn’t let me buy you a milkshake to say thanks, would you?

*Wee-Grace explodes into crush particles*

Embarrassingly, I still do this. And – you should know – it’s only because this blog is anonymous that I’m even admitting such a thing. Mature, worldly feminists are not supposed to indulge in trite fantasies best left to romantic comedy screenwriters. We’re meant to be cool and collected, not bowled over until a man recites Gertrude Stein and bakes us a cake. That’s all well and good, but tell that to my brain, when I’m in the throes of attraction. Take this weekend, for example…

Mae and I navigated the treacherous stretch of I-35 between Austin and San Marcos, in order to spend a weekend making merry for Captain Thoughtful’s birthday. We were going to float the river, watch Batman, and go to Greune Hall (the oldest “dance hall” in Texas). It would be fun, low key, and filled with good barbeque. What I didn’t know? CT’s super cute, super smart, super witty friend Professor McGregor* was going to be along, as well.

Try as I might to play it cool, my brain cataloged every shared glance and laughing exchange. By Saturday morning, I had a full-blown crush and two more days to get through. The Crazies can only be held at bay for so long. When it was decided to go to Gruene again that night, they broke through my mental fortress like Harry Potter into Gringott’s.

Talk of swing-dance lessons had me envisioning an elaborate dance routine, complete with twirls, lifts, and one of those only-in-movies deep dips/lingering looks. A too-tight concert had me imagining secretly grabbed hands and shouted flirtations. Y’all, I had it so bad I was even making up scenarios involving FIFA video games and decidedly close couch sitting.

Contain your surprise – none of this happened. I know, you’re shocked, right? But..here’s the thing. Something actually did happen this weekend. Without daydreaming or hyping it up or any of the silly business I am all too lured by, my Sunday afternoon was one of long, impassioned conversation and – dare I say it? – connection.

Crap, y’all.

My day-dreaming adolescence and cave-like writing life didn’t prepare me for that. In a novel, I’d skip to the end and make sure it had a happy ending. In real life? I’m listening to Best Coast and writing blogs, instead of sleeping. What does a normal person do, when reality becomes better/scarier than fiction? I don’t think I’ve been this into a guy in forever. At least, not outside of my head…

– Grace, who is too discombobulated to post anything deep today

*Picture your funniest, most interesting professor in college. Now, mix in a dash of Ewan McGregor. And a beard. 

How A Teenage Girl Almost Made Me Cry

I overheard a teenage girl say something at a Blockbuster that almost had me in tears. (Yes, I still use Blockbuster and yes I almost always eavesdrop on other people’s conversations.) I still can’t believe it and it’s still ringing in my ears after a week so I thought I would share it with y’all and maybe you can help me get some perspective on it.

Teenage girl: Yeah, I saw that movie, there is a rape scene in it but the girl who was getting raped was ugly so it was just gross. 

I literally felt as if the Earth dropped out from under me when I heard her say that. WHAT. THE. FUCK.  Would the rape scene not be gross if the actress had been pretty?? Rape is always gross, it is always demeaning, it is always horrifying, and never under any circumstances no matter how pretty or ugly the girl is, is rape acceptable. NEVER. I am utterly and completely horrified at her attitude. I don’t have the words, I just don’t have the words to adequately express my shock and dismay at hearing a teenage girl say something like that. Later, when her words were replaying in my head, I got a bit teary. Teary because her words made me angry, and sad, and frustrated, and I felt helpless. Helpless because how do you even begin to make a someone who says things like that understand how wrong, how absolutely wrong they are? How do you make them understand?

I don’t know. Do you?