Sooo, someone near & dear to me is going through a breakup right now and maaaan, I feel for him. I remember those days when heartbreak was an unwelcome and unruly resident in my heart. A few years ago I was the absolute definition of a hot mess. I'd cry so hard that I'd give myself a migraine, then I'd cry because I had a migraine. My go-to iPod playlist was called "Hang Myself from the Shower Curtain" which I'd blast on high while going for angry tear-soaked runs. Wine & ice cream were my BFFs. Harry Potter and The Golden Girls were my sources of comfort. 

It was however my writing that became my most potent form of solace. Sometimes I'd write letters that I knew I'd never send, other times I wrote emails to friends or entires in a journal. I wrote and wrote and wrote just to try and get my sadness out of my body and out onto paper where I might perhaps set the words on fire and symbolically purge those gut-wrenching feelings once and for all. Alas, I decided against the whole pyro thing and kept a record of my musings. There is one piece in particular that I've always been proud of- not because its particularly profound or groundbreaking but because its very- me. It's real, it's quirky, it's honest, it's sarcastic. It seems appropriate to post now, because sometimes we all need a reminder that we aren't born knowing exactly how to love. I give you "OS101."


You know, when I first enrolled at USC and was browsing through the list of majors available through the College of Letters of Arts and Sciences, I came across several interesting selections: say, Multidisciplinary Activities, or Slavic languages. What does one do exactly with a degree in Slavic languages? I fully comprehend and acknowledge that in this day and age, an undergraduate major does not necessarily have any bearing whatsoever on one's career path. Scholars from both organic chemistry and comparative literature alike are our future neurosurgeons and college professors. But still: Slavic languages. Think about it. That one really narrows the scope, n'est-ce pas?

So I say to myself, as long as we're choosing random majors, I can think of a few useful ones that I have yet to see in any college catalogue. How about "OS101: The Opposite Sex?" And I don't mean gender studies; that discipline has more to do with actual gender roles in society and whatnot. Psychology and human development come closer, but they still don't get to the meat and potatoes of the interaction that for our purposes I'll refer to as "dating."  

Where are the classes on how to date? How to read mixed messages? How to know when to call and when to text, when to keep talking and when to shut the %*#$ up; when its OK to sleep with someone, when you can know for sure that a man likes you?  And I don't mean "like" as in "I like ultimate cheeseburgers." I mean LIKE, as in "I'm going to remain faithful, share the remote, tell my friends about you and be considerate of your feelings even if I don’t understand them.” How do I know when to pursue a romantic endeavor and when to keep it pushin’, when to bow out and accept the end of a love and when to fight tooth and nail to salvage it? 

I want to know if chicks in the caveman days were facing similar debacles to those that I am confronted with today: I mean yeah I have electricity, vaccines, a car, a cell phone, In'n' Out and Pinkberry, but did Cathy the Cavegirl much like yours truly have to wonder whether Tommy the Troglodyte's one grunt versus two meant he just wasn't that into her?!?! In the Elizabethan era, did women walk around with their asses wound up as tight as their teeny tiny corsets, frustration coursing through their veins because the Duke of Devonshire or some other mother!@%#er didn't send a letter with his manservant this week or signed his parchment "I loveth ya" versus "I loveth you?" Was the Spanish Inquisition really just a cover up for more wily intentions? Did Queen Isabel need a nice governmental way to pretend she wasn't just interrogating broads to see which one of those heffers was being knocked off by King Ferdinand??!?!

These are the things I want to know. This is the knowledge from which I feel I could reap true benefit. And I have PLENTY of ideas for curricula: I'm thinking lab practicals, group presentations, powerpoints, focus groups... the whole enchilada. And not the Taco Bell version, the grandma-made-it-from-scratch, this-tastes-so-good-its-got-to-be-sprinkled-with-crack kind. 

The truth is probably that no one, not Albert Einstein, not Marie Curie, not Bill Gates, not even Dr. Phil or Oprah or (gasp) Maury Povich would have been or ever will be able to figure out the opposite sex. None of them can with absolute certainty and unequivocal terms explain to me why women annoy the bejeezus out of men with their emotional outbursts and yet slay them with their passion and their kindness and the look they get in their eyes when he walks in a room. They can't map out for me why men have insensitivity programmed in their genetic code but then show moments of mind-blowing tenderness and comforting strength. Why someone's scent and giggle stay engrained in your memory like they were branded there with hot iron and why someone's kiss can so perfectly mimic the effect of a potent hallucinogenic. No one can tell me why fools fall in love, why unrequited love has to hurt SO much, why I'm so stupid over light eyes and full lips... and no one ever will.

I suppose that's part of the beauty, the magic, the illustrious, overwhelming, all-consuming and let's not forget downright sexy quality that love encapsulates. I think maybe it is because it is shrouded in mystery and so difficult to attain that love continues to be chased by millions with a consistence and fervor rivaling the pursuit of the Holy Grail. Maybe someday, whether with a man I presently know or with one waiting in the shadows, I'll get it. Maybe I will be so all consumed with a love that for once is felt in return that I'll finally believe my own assertion that the purpose off all the shitty relationships that went awry is to make The One truly stand out from the crowd. Maybe you really do have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince, as tacky and cliché as that sounds.

Maybe someday soon the male that continues to capture my heart and slay my senses will reach out and hold my hand. Maybe he's the one but doesn't know it yet. Maybe he's not and I don't know it yet. Maybe I'll meet a hottie at the bar scene tonight and he'll confess that I'm the most stunning woman he's ever seen, and he'll want me to bring my friend Jazzy along for a date with his homie who happens to be Chris Brown look-alike (side note- this was written pre-Rihanna beating. Chris Breezy can now pound sand). Maybe we'll have a dance-off atop the roof of the Bank of America building in Downtown and discover we've found our soulmates amid the wind blowing our hair while the bass of "Forever" pulses in our chests.

Or... maybe my life in its present state isn't so tragic, and with a few tweaks in a few select departments, happiness and self-possession might well be within reach. Maybe it's up to me to find validation within myself and not through an external source. Maybe the ball is in my court. Maybe it's time to make a move. Maybe.... juuuust maybe.

~ Broken-hearted Vanessa circa 2009