Monday, October 13, 2014

The Deodorant Struggle (a real thing)

A few years ago, I was going to the store and I asked my younger brother, Zac, if he needed me to pick up anything for him.

"Yes, I need some deodorant." He says.
"OK. Do you have a brand you like?" I reply.
"No, just whatever."
"OK. Do you like the white solid or the clear liquid?"
"Neither. Clear solid, please"
"That doesn't exist."
"Sure it does."

My head exploded on the spot.

You see, in lady deodorant land, these are your choices:

1. White solid - they say it's "invisible" and won't mark up your black shirts, but this is lies lies lies.
2. Clear liquid - you have to get out your hair dryer to dry your armpits or you'll get a wet stain on your shirt... and don't we wear deodorant to avoid this kind of thing?
3. Roll on - this only works for the best smelling people on the planet. Everyone else needs a bit more than the 1-2 drops you get from a stick of Ban.
4. Spray on - no thanks

That's it. Those are your options. You have to decide whether you want white marks on your shirt or wet squishy underarms. Pick the least objectionable option. 

After my brother told me that there was such a thing as a "clear solid" in the boy deodorants, I raced to Target to see if this was actually real. To my shock and horror, it was. A few different brands (Dove, Degree, Old Spice) all offered a clear solid.

I took a few steps to my right to check the lady deodorants and see if I had somehow missed an innovation where clear solids were made for women.

They were not.

Even brands that provide deodorant for both sexes (Degree, Dove) would provide a clear solid option for men, but a selection of white solids and clear liquids for women.

Is the biology of our armpits really different enough between sexes to justify completely different options for this bathroom staple? I just googled "Why aren't there clear solid deodorants for women?" but apparently no one is angry enough about this because there were zero relevant results. We must begin this ruckus ourselves.

Back in that Target aisle, I bought two Dove Men+Care deodorants. One for Zac, and one for me.

I have used boy deodorant since. I sample my options and select the one that smelled the least masculine (I recommend "Clean Comfort" from Dove), but I still feet a bit cheated. Admittedly, it was convenient when I got married, because Austin and I can share a deodorant stick. However, if one of us was traveling without the other, we have a deficit.

Recently I've discovered Arm & Hammer Natural Essentials, which is a unisex clear solid that doesn't smell like man. But even as I write this post, the big drug store deodorant brands (I'm looking at you, Secret, Degree, and Dove) don't provide clear solids for women.

Join me in my outrage. Better yet, make a billion dollars by taking a pink or purple label and putting it on a stick of clear solid deodorant. And make it smell like something other than icebergs and oppression.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Monday night at Harmonious Monks was worlds away from the Saturday night two days previous. Glitter and confetti were swept away, the dim lights were turned up brighter and several large tables in the middle of the restaurant were carried out to make room for a full, 20-piece, big jazz band.

Starting at 5pm, buses from senior centers would show up dropping off dozens of elderly patrons who wanted nothing more than to eat chicken fingers, slowly nurse a Yuengling dark ale, and listen to the songs they used to know when their hips and memories worked a little better. They would come in and take their seats - the same seats they took every week, and order their food - the same food they ordered every week.

My portion of this regular crowd was Jim and Homer. Table 21, every Monday. Jim would order a bacon cheeseburger (well done) with onion rings and a decaf coffee. Homer would order chicken fingers and fries with regular coffee. Jim would always tip me $8.00 and Homer would tip what he could. Homer had recently been widowed, so Jim would pick him up every Monday for jazz night to help him get out of his house and exercise his legs a bit, even if that exercise was just walking to the bathroom (a walk that could take quite a while).

At 7pm, a man named Mark would turn on a microphone and introduce the band. They called themselves "The TBA Big Band", which I think was an inside joke from long ago that no one asked about anymore. Then the music would begin.

And it was beautiful. The sound would fill the room in a way that our covers of Journey songs never could. The patrons would close their eyes and hear more than music, but an emotion seldom felt in the hustle and bustle of the 21st century. Many of the musicians were jazz professors from the University of North Florida and were considered some of the best in their field. One guy, a trombonist named David "Stumpy" Steinmeyer is said to be one of the best trombonists in the world, having played at Carnegie Hall.

The wait staff was considerably smaller on Mondays, consisting of just me, Ethan and Ria. At one point Ria called us the Three Musketeers, a nickname that stuck for a while. One of Ria's regulars, a man named Rodney, loved to talk my ear off about what he called "old timey rock 'n roll". Maybe because I nodded a lot when he was talking or maybe just because he was happy to have someone listen, he made me no fewer than 8 mix tapes of "old timey rock 'n roll". He came in one day, both hands full of cassette tapes waving above his head and a smile plastered on his face. I took them graciously and put them my car so I wouldn't leave them behind. For over a year now they've been sitting in my car, waiting for a tape player to appear in my life and help me understand what Rodney was raving about.

When the evening slowed down and the patrons were done with their dinners, their places were cleared and their coffees were refilled. I would sit at the bar and watch the slow sway of the audience. Sometimes a young couple would come to dance. There wasn't really a dance floor, but near the computer there were fewer tables and enough room to allow Diantha and Josh to spin and turn like professionals for delighted onlookers. She was a trained ballerina, he was just good at spinning and catching her. They would twist and untwist in elaborate and beautiful ways that complemented the music flawlessly. A few times Josh asked me to dance and I would try my best to keep up, but without Diantha's grace and experience, my efforts paled in comparison.

At nine o'clock, the music would end and the buses would come collect their respective participants. Ethan, Ria and I would get to cleaning and back-work, consisting mostly of wiping tables and covering unused lettuce. By nine thirty, I would collect my tips and clock out.

There was something magical about Monday nights at Harmonious Monks. The money was paltry compared to the profitable returns of Friday and Saturday nights, but something about exposing yourself to Gershwin, Whiteman and the people who love them can make an empty life full for an evening. I would leave with $18 in my pocket and a wealth of appreciation for big band jazz.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Back to Boys

Though much of my recreation time was spent at gay clubs and napping in my mom's lawn chairs, I did occasionally still think about dating and heterosexual men.

My ever-mysterious, bum-shaking coworker Jay was still charming as ever and a couple of guys from church were giving me sideways glances now and then. But I couldn't give them proper focus. I've always been the kind of girl who worried about boys a little too much, but at this time in my life there was so much going on in my head that there just wasn't room for extra thoughts about them. I was still coming to terms with the new person I was becoming (or discovering?), which was simultaneously amazing and horrifying.

Say what you want about Taylor Swift, but her description of being "happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time" from the hit song 22 is SPOT ON.

So my time spent with men was a pretty mixed bag. I hung out with Ethan a lot. Once or twice, I went over to Jay's apartment. On one such evening we ended up putting in a movie that he slept through. When it ended, I snuck out quietly. The sideways glances from boys in church turned into a couple of fun game nights with light snuggling. But overall I was without a plan, without a clue and without tons of prior experience to guide me.

Up until this point, I had only kissed two people. One was Alex (my high school dreamboat - there's a series of blog posts on here somewhere all about him) and the other was Jared, my first foray into girlfriend-hood. Jared and I dated for about 6 months before we both got confused and angsty and decided to not date anymore.

That's it. Just the two. When I would have late night gossip sessions with my roommates in college, the talk of the town wasn't how many men you'd slept with - for most of us that number was a big zero - but how many boys you'd kissed. We would giggle endlessly as one girl would brag of her 12, while others were still in the single digits. Sophomoric? Perhaps. Precious memories? Mos def.

I wasn't sitting pretty at 2 because I didn't want to kiss more boys. I certainly wouldn't have minded being a bit more lip-promiscuous, but I never had the sexual confidence that some of my peers flouted as they went about breaking hearts and collecting smooches. Their laundry list of ex-boyfriends always sounded so cosmopolitan. Plus there was the ever-beguiling concept of the NCMO. I never could quite figure out how this worked.

A NCMO (pronounced NICK-mo), for those of you who never attended BYU, is a Non-Committal-Make-Out. It means you're smooching someone you have no intention of dating. I first encountered this concept as a freshman.

Asia: You guys made out?
NCMO girl: Yeah, he just texted me and we met up.
Asia: So is he your boyfriend now?
NCMO girl: Ew, no.
Asia: ??????

Hearing stories like this perplexed me to no end. It was like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. How on earth could this be a thing?

Flash forward to the new, bar-singing, weight-losing, 22 year-old version of me. I wasn't suddenly a vixen with an appetite for carnality (I was still awkward, Mormon me), but I was more confident than I had ever been and was starting to realize more and more that I was at the helm of my romantic experiences.

This realization came to a head one night at the gay bar with Ethan. We had run into a boy that we both knew from high school. He was cute, he was fun, he was straight, and he was looking at me. We'll call him Robert. Apparently it's not crazy uncommon for straight people to hang out in gay bars (who was I to judge?). Plus he was bffs with the bartender or something. He asked me lots of insightful questions about what I'd been up to and had a nice, genuine smile in response to my fascinating responses.

The following week, he was there again. Our friendly chats began to turn into flirty chats as he offered to buy me a bottle of water (my beverage choices never got much more exotic than that). Then, as per the norm, a David Guetta song came on that Ethan and I could not resist. We headed to the tinsel-rimmed dance floor and shook our stuff. I motioned for Robert to join us.

The fun dancing turned into flirty dancing and before I knew it, Ethan was no longer in the picture and Robert and I were dancing pretty close (not dirty dancing close - I'm not a fan of the bump-and-grind). Then, a second later he was kissing me. I'll admit that it wasn't altogether a surprise, but it definitely wasn't anything I had experienced before. It was a NCMO. I was NCMO-ing in a gay bar. Take that, BYU gossip parties!

After that, Robert texted me once or twice, but we lived on such separate planets that I think we both knew the depth of our connection would have to subsist of a few minutes of smooching in a gay bar.

The next boy I would kiss after that would be my husband.

Looking back at all the gossip sessions where I would marvel at the girls with high numbers and wonder what was wrong with my lips makes me want to go back in time and give myself a hug.

"Don't worry." I would tell 19-year-old me. "It's perfectly alright not to kiss all the boys. Just wait. You'll have a NCMO. You'll kiss a girl. Then there'll be Austin. You don't need to kiss 100 frogs before you find your prince. Remember how Mom always says, 'You just need one?' Well, she's right, as usual."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

SO Dramatic

Shortly after I was hired to work at Harmonious Monks, it was suggested that I learn "Mercy" by Duffy and continue singing "You Oughtta Know" by Alanis Morrissett. Those were my two contributions to the evening entertainment. Mercy went pretty well and became a staple of my repertoire. I sang it every Friday and Saturday night for about a year. You Oughtta Know was one of my favorite songs to sing, but was assigned to another singer after a couple of months.

Then tragedy struck. While rolling silverware one night before the big dinner rush, I saw on the TV in the corner that Whitney Houston had died. Everyone gathered around as we heard the sordid details of her final moments. Ethan was devastated.

When Dennis arrived, he announced that he wanted to add a song to the show in honor of her passing. He looked at me.

Dennis: We're going to add "I Will Always Love You" to the show and you're going to sing it.
Asia: Whaaaat...

I told him that long, ballad-y songs were not really my strong suit and - also - I'm not Whitney Houston so please don't make me embarrass myself trying. But Dennis believed in me and started getting the track ready.

I'll be honest, most nights it was passable. Some nights it was awful. And I can distinctly remember 2 or 3 nights when it was really good. Nights when my vocal cords were loose, strong and soulful. Below is a video that a good friend took of the beginning of it one night.

The crowd enjoyed it and always had nice things to say, but they always had nice things to say about everything. Drunk girls drinking out of phallic straws love everything and everyone.

In Summer of 2012 my aunt got sick. Aunt Jackie is my mom's closest sister and was, at times, like another parent in our household. She moved in after my dad died to help ease my mother's burdens. She helped with science projects, hairdos, and taught me about Janis Joplin and Pink Floyd. She loved when I sang and always made a comment about how it made her cry.

When I lived in Provo, she lived in Lehi and I would go to her apartment every Monday night to watch Hallmark movies and eat quesadillas. She thought it was so sad that I had stopped singing when I went to college. "There's no room for another singer out here." I would tell her. She would roll her eyes and tell me that I was the best singer in America. I would roll my eyes right back.

Right before I moved back to Jacksonville, she was having some pain but didn't want to go to a doctor because she didn't have insurance. A little while after I was settled in Jacksonville, Jackie went to a doctor and found out that she had lung cancer.

Her condition deteriorated quickly. She was in the hospital losing her strength and her energy; the same energy that lit up the room like a candle every time she laughed. The energy that had kept us all going during some difficult times in my childhood. Then one afternoon, she passed away.

It was awful. I got the call from my mom one night while I was at girls camp and I sobbed until I couldn't breathe. Major props to Sherry Warner for sitting with me for hours as I incoherently babbled about how I wished I had helped more with the quesadillas or taken her to go thrift store shopping more. It was odd - I know where we go after this life and I have no doubts that Jackie is taken care of by a loving God and other family that has passed on - but that day, for whatever reason, I just couldn't handle it.

Eventually I was able to breathe again and I joined the discussions about helping with her funeral. My mom asked me if I wanted to sing as part of the service. I knew that Jackie would have loved that, but I also knew that there was no way I would be able to get through a song without completely losing it. I volunteered instead to give a brief history of her life.

A week or so later, we held the funeral (memorial?) service. It went well. Lots of beautiful things were said and I felt the love of family and friends. So many people knew and loved her. The sadness was dissipating like clouds after a hurricane. The heft of the loss was growing light and we were able to smile and talk about things of less consequence like lunch and naps and work.

That night, I went to the restaurant to work my normal shift. I sang Mercy without a hitch and, other than the odd contemplative moment, was doing fine emotionally. But then Dennis called my name. It was time to sing I Will Always Love You.

I had sung it dozens of times. I knew all the words. I knew all the notes. And on this night, I knew that I just wouldn't be able to handle it. I took the stage and started the song, but about 30 seconds in, the words began to slur together and air was hard to find as I thought about Jackie.

In a super dramatic moment that one could only find in a Hilary Duff movie (Raise Your Voice, anyone?), I ran from the stage in sobs, leaving Dennis and the band bewildered and alone as the track continued to play.

I went and sat on the gross floor in the back near the walk-in freezer and tried to get myself together. It was extremely unprofessional and extremely embarrassing. The only thing that made it better was Ria kneeling beside me saying, "What do you need? I'll get it." and Ethan somewhere in the background of my mind saying, "I always thought that if someone was going to run off the stage dramatically, it would be me."

Another one of the servers jumped up to the stage and finished the song. It was a little odd to hear someone else sing it, but I was grateful that the show went on.

Once I was up again, I took a sharpie and a paper towel and wrote "Dennis, I am SO SORRY. This will NEVER happen again. -Asia." Then I walked up to the stage and set it on his keyboard so that he would see it.

Looking back, it's funny how dramatic that moment was and what little control I had over my emotions. I'm grateful for supportive coworkers and boss who let it roll of their backs like water off a duck. When the night ended (about 5 hours later), people were so exhausted (and some of them drunk) that they scarcely remembered my botched performance.

All of my songs after that night were better and, thankfully, tear-free. And I still sing. In one way or another, no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I try to always find a way to sing. Not because I'm the best singer in America, but because some people like it and, when I'm being honest with myself, I really like it too.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why that guy you like doesn't like you back (and what to do about it)

Over the years, I have been formulating theories on how male-female interaction works and why, frequently, it doesn't work the way we want it to. OK, I am not a scientist or a therapist, but I'm a person with a head and a heart.

People throw around a lot of theories and a lot of advice to each other about how to be attractive or how to deal when romantic entanglements don't go as planned, but I think a lot of it is very, very unhelpful.


1. He just doesn't want to ruin the friendship - this is crap every time. Every. Time. I honestly don't know why people still believe this.

Here's a great scene from The Mindy Project where Dr. Mindy Lahiri faces this lie head on:

(SPOILER ALERT: This is from the April 8th episode. If you're not there yet, skip to #2)

DANNY: I don’t know if you know this, but… you’re my best friend. Sort of my only friend. And I need to have you in my life. I have to have you and this- I’m afraid that this is gonna-
MINDY: No, no, no, don’t, don’t.
DANNY: Wait a minute – you don’t know what I’m about to tell you.
MINDY: I do. I do. You don’t want to risk our great friendship. It’s a bunch of garbage. That’s what guys say – that’s what cowards say when they want to get out of something, but they still want to seem nice. Don’t tell me you want to be my best friend, ‘cause I have friends.

BAM. You go, girl.

2. Maybe he didn't get your text - He did. Modern technology is amazing. Even if he's in Yemen, he got your text.

Look at how excited this man on a camel is to talk to whoever is on the other side of this phone call. Don't settle for anything less than this.

3. Boys like girls who don't know they're beautiful.


Well put, Colbert. Guys don't dig girls who "stare at the ground", are "insecure" and "turn away when I look into your eyes".

4. Here's another example of crappy advice people give each other:

There are approximately zero useful tips in that list.

As I've been thinking about how this whole "dating" thing works and why people lose so much time and self-esteem trying to date the kinds of people they want to date, I've formulated a theory.

This theory comes from my experiences and my observations.


It all comes down to confidence.

We are attracted to people who are confident; people who like themselves and likely don't care whether or not we like them. What we think about them does not affect how they feel about themselves.

Don't let the opposite be true. Don't let your self-worth be dictated by what your crush thinks. For example, a guy you perceive as hot thinks you're pretty and you suddenly feel gorgeous. Or, a guy you perceive as hot calls you a fat loser and you have a sad afternoon.

Not a good system.

You don't want to date someone who is obsessed with you or even overly worries about your opinion of stuff. What a drag. It works the other way too. The guy you're pining after does not want to date you. No one dates piners. They end up sad and their self image goes down another step.
This is a recipe for disaster.


My theory is that we end up with people who have the same confidence levels as we do.

If you have your eyes on someone who likes themselves more than you like yourself, things will not work out. You will be sucked in like a tractor beam, gently patted on the head and dropped off a year later with no idea what happened to you.

This also explains why so many weirdos are obsessed with you: because you like yourself more than they like themselves. You are their tractor beam and you spit them out the same way that Mr. Hottie Body spits you out.

I'm not saying that attractive people exclusively end up with attractive people. Although this is the case many times, it doesn't always work that way. It does make sense that a male 10 would fall for a female 10 because, reasonably, he would like himself about the same amount that she likes herself.

But it is also possible for a male 10 to fall for a  female 6 who sees herself as a 10. But if the female 6 sees herself as a 5 or even as an 8, then Mr. 10 has the ball in his court. And as we all know, when the ball is in your court, it becomes all too easy to drop it altogether. And that's what he would do.

Let's face it, Emma Stone is a mega babe and Kieran Culkin looks like a sleepy asexual ghost. But as long as Kieran Culkin thinks he's a catch, then it doesn't matter. These two totally dated.


How can we become more confident in ourselves? That's the fix, right? If we want to be attractive to the people we find attractive, then we need to match their confidence levels (which, ironically, might mean we care less about what they think and thus may not even care about dating them anymore, but hey - your chances of having attractive babies will increase).

I read in a book once that if look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful everyday that you will come to believe it. Let me tell you, I tried that until my reflection got bored and went to the movies and never felt any different about myself. A mirror pep talk was a feeble suggestion that led to feeble (and by that, I mean zero) results.

I also tried some serious soul searching. But soul searching only gets you so far. I discovered one day that rubber needed to hit road and I needed to actually start making some serious moves in my life if I ever wanted to like myself more.


I had an epiphany one day while reading "No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline" by Brian Tracy. I'm going to be completely honest and say that I've only read the beginning of this book (not enough self-discipline to finish it...), but what was said in the first 20 pages hit me like a sack of bricks.

We gain confidence in ourselves by setting goals and accomplishing them. What? Brilliant! Big or small, we have to set personal goals then work to accomplish them.

And I mean real setting/achieving. "I want to be healthy" is not a goal. Neither is "I want to make more money". You have to have something measurable and attainable with a deadline attached.

"I want to run a 10K in an hour or less by June 4", "I want to learn how to play Pachelbel's Canon in D on the piano by Christmas" or "I want to save $3,000 by September so I can go to New York" are the kinds of goals we should be looking at. Write it down, make a plan and go go go!


We all have our own list of things we wish we could be better at (playing piano, exercising, eating better, finishing projects, reading books) or bad habits we wish we could rid ourselves of (smoking, eating too many Doritos, having a sedentary lifestyle, watching to much TV, buying too many handbags). Figure out what's keeping you from liking yourself more, turn it into a goal, and cross that baby off your list!

Will it be easy? Nope! But that's where the change occurs.

When you're at a good place with one goal, do another one.

As we accomplish things we didn't think we could (or ever would), we come to see that we are much more capable, smart, beautiful people than we thought previously possible. If you start taking care of your body (and I'm not talking about losing weight -- I'm talking about dropping bad habits you know are holding you back from better health), you will start to like yourself more. You will probably also like your body more, but what I think is infinitely more valuable is the change that will happen in your beliefs about yourself. "I didn't think I was the kind of person who could ever _______________. But I just. did. it."

It's a beautiful thing to see yourself for who you can become rather than all the things you're not. Get off the couch, turn off Netflix, sit down at a piano, or the computer or get in your car and make yourself a plan to actually do the things you KNOW you could be doing, but never before had the strength, motivation or presence of mind to do.

Only then can our confidence increase.


Having a larger and better-looking dating pool is definitely a perk of higher confidence, but I think it is far from the only noticeable difference in the life of someone who has truly set and accomplished personal goals.

Higher confidence is a reward in and of itself.

But it also just happens to be the cure of crappy dating/pining experiences.

This is Marilyn freakin' Monroe being a hottie and dancing like a weirdo. The reason everyone thought she was such a bombshell? She thought she was a bombshell too.


As your confidence increases, so does the amount of boys who are obsessed with you.

It only makes sense. If you thought you were a 5 and now you see yourself as a 10, all the 6, 7, 8 and 9s will be your new obsessors -- when yesterday, they were your obsessions :).

Basically all the boys of One Direction will be in love with you.

So will these guys, which is totes fine if you're into it.


I have had my fair share of sad, pining experiences where a boy who seemed "just out of reach" was actually completely turned off by me and my attempts to turn a friendship into something more. I don't really believe that men and women can be close friends without one of them (at some point) having feelings for the other (though that's a different chat altogether), but all the talk of "not wanting to ruin the friendship" sounded like sound logic to me - at least it sounded better than the infamous "he's just not that into you".

But when I met my husband, I had a different experience altogether. I had just accomplished some pretty serious goals (health-wise and job-wise) and was feeling pretty proud of myself for doing hard things. Austin was just a bad A business man who wore nice clothing and did his own taxes. Basically, Austin was (and still is!) a goal-setting machine, making him feel pretty satisfied with his life and pretty confident in his ability to woo hot ladies.

The only reason we ever ended up in a serious relationship, then a marriage was because I had the confidence to walk away sometimes, to tell him no sometimes and to not be available every time he wanted me around. These were things I had never really done before. It was hard because he's an amazing guy and I wanted him to like me, but I knew that sitting around waiting for him would cause him to lose interest and disappear.

One night, he was playing volleyball with a group of friends from church. I was waiting for him to be done so that we could chat and flirt and I could show him how amazing I was. But he was taking FOREVER. So there I was, just sitting, waiting for a volleyball game to end when I realized: "I am sitting around waiting for a volleyball game to end. That is lame."

So I left. I didn't tell him I was leaving and I didn't make a big drama moment out of it -- I just went home. It felt a little odd at first, like "Am I really going home? Why would I do that? I don't know. Let's just do it before we change our mind..." But as soon as I pulled into my driveway, I got a text from my future husband. It said: "Where did you go?"

He knew I had the confidence and self-control to do other things with my time besides watch him play volleyball. It probably would have been better if I was going home to do something amazing like swim laps in my pool or knit a sweater, but what stood out to him was my ability to walk away.

I surprised myself in this moment and learned that I could do things I was previously not strong enough to do. I felt like a catch.


1. Be careful of compliments. Insecure people love compliments because it makes them feel justified and temporarily better about themselves. Confident people appreciate a compliment with a nice "thank you" and move on.

2. Don't set goals just to impress boys or girls you are interested in. These need to be your goals. If your crush thinks that skateboarding is cool, setting a goal to be a great skateboarder is kind of counterproductive. 

What do YOU want to be better at? If your crush is not impressed by fancy cakes, but you have an interest in becoming a better cake baker, then put on an apron and pull out the flour. He or she will become interested in cakes as soon as you show them the confidence to be yourself. And if they don't? You've got a great hobby and new skills to impress someone else with.

3. There is a big difference between confidence and cockiness. I'm not saying men love women who are full of themselves. Often cockiness is a sign of insecurity.  Men like women who like themselves. And vice versa.

4. If you're currently pining after a boy or girl who does not feel the same way about you, listen to my birthday twin Snoop Dogg...

It will probably be very hard. You probably think that he or she is your best friend. But as long as you are pining and he or she is not committing to a relationship with you, you are wasting time. Stop texting, stop hanging out one-on-one. Set a goal for yourself (unrelated to this person) and make yourself so busy accomplishing your goal that you have little to no time to spend with this "best friend".

Remember, dropping bad habits raises your self-esteem.

Or you can just move 2000 miles away. That's what I did.


Basically, I just share this info because I wish someone had told me this years ago. I knew I was having a horrible time with dating and I knew it was because I didn't have any confidence, but I couldn't connect those dots.

I hope somehow, in some way, someone somewhere benefits from this info sesh.

Remember, you are amazing. But as much and I (and everyone else) tells you how amazing you are, it means nothing until you believe it. And you're not going to believe it until you prove it to yourself. You have to raise the bar for yourself. You have to do things you don't feel like doing, things that seem so far out of reach. But, you just have to start by writing down your goal and taking the first step to accomplish it. Remember these simple, but powerful words:

Also these words, which are slightly less simple, but still pretty good:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Gay Bar

I worry that as I describe my interactions with Ethan that he will be seen as a gay male stereotype or as the token LGBT presence in this story. But he's not. He's not my evidence that I'm not homophobic and he's not included just for comic relief or political correctness. Ethan was a true friend. He taught me new things about myself and about life. He lived nearby to me and he took me dancing.

On the night of our first clubbing experience, I could hardly contain my excitement. I was going clubbing. Like they do in every movie and TV show ever made about twenty-somethings. Yes, it was a Wednesday (we obviously couldn't go on Friday or Saturday) and yes, it was a gay bar, but I didn't care.

At 10pm (yes, 10pm. Apparently people don't party before then. It was torture waiting that long.) I drove to Ethan's house to pick him up and was met at the front door by three large dogs. They stared at me through the glass until Ethan appeared, shoving them aside with his legs and opening the door. He was no where near ready, which further exacerbated my impatience about getting to the club.

I followed Ethan into his room to lay on his bed and wait for him to choose the perfect look for our outing. Before he would let me enter, however, he put some items in a mysterious box and shoved it under his bed with a maniacal little giggle.

Finally, he was ready. And, admittedly, he did look good. He had just purchased red high-top sneakers and had built his outfit around them. He had diamond studs in his hears and his hair perfectly coiffed. We loaded up in my car and headed to Riverside.

The club was a dark building in a part of town I had never been to before. The parking lot was fenced in and the only defining feature was a neon sign that said "In Cahoots" with a neon Pride flag below.

When we entered, I showed my ID (so exciting!) and got stamped on the back of my hand. I tried to mimic Ethan's cool calm as we entered and took our seat at the bar, but I was so fascinated by our surroundings I'm sure I looked like Aladdin entering the cave of wonders.

The bar was in the center of the room, large and circular, surrounded on all sides by tall stools. Outside of the stools, there were small cafe-style tables and chairs that took up the rest of the floor. At the far back of the room was the dance floor. It was one single step up from the rest of the floor and was surrounded on three sides by wall-covering mirrors, similar to a ballet studio. Draped in front of the mirrors was electric blue, plastic, floor-to-ceiling fringe that would sway around with blasts of the AC. Hanging from the ceiling were several seizure-inducing lighting fixtures that would pulse and change color based on what the music was doing.

As previously mentioned, this was a Wednesday night so the club wasn't very full, but had enough life in it to keep Ethan's interest. It could have been empty for all I care. I was, as they say, "just happy to be here."

Ethan ordered his usual tequila drink and bought me a ginger ale and a bottle of water. Ethan knew many of the employees and it became clear that he was somewhat of a regular. I sipped my soda and looked around.

Suddenly, the lights went out on the dance floor. The few patrons who had been dancing took a seat at a table. A door I hadn't noticed before opened on the stage and a tall, sparkly figure emerged. She was dressed in a gorgeous evening gown and walked with the grace of a ballerina. Her makeup was big and dramatic.

She was the first drag queen I had ever seen (while I'm not certain which pronoun this particular performer preferred, I have learned that many of them like to be referred to by the gender they are outwardly presenting). Music to Whitney Houston's "Dance with Somebody" began and she began to lip-sync with great bravado and presence.

My jaw dropped. I looked at Ethan and he smiled back at me. I couldn't take my eyes off of her as a spotlight followed her around the club. She "sang" to everyone she passed and even danced a little with a few. She took her place back up on the stage as the song ended. She bowed as we applauded, then disappeared back behind the door in the mirrors.

"Have you ever seen a drag queen before?" Ethan asked.
"No." I replied.
"Well, they perform here all the time. Like every 90 minutes or something. It can get annoying if you want to dance."
I smiled and nodded, soaking in the experience.

Speaking of dancing, I pulled Ethan to the dance floor when a David Guetta song we both knew came on. It was amazing. With no mob of a crowd to push through, we were able to really dance, uninhibited by limited space. A few people got up to join us and before I knew it, we was dancing with a group of fellow Wednesday-night club patrons. As I jumped and turned and moved around, I imagined what a photo of this would look like. It wouldn't look too remarkable. It would just look like a group of people clubbing. I couldn't have been happier.

As the night went on, Ethan drank more tequila and at closing time (about 2:30am), he had to be escorted out by some of his friends who worked there. I walked him to my car and drove him home.

As the months went on, the Wednesday night routine of In Cahoots became familiar to me, as did the faces inside. Ethan and I talked more and more about our lives and what we wanted. When Ethan got drunk, he became very philosophical and found me quite profound. I told him that I thought Jay was cute and received a quick "No. Not Jay. He's not good enough for you. We need to find you a prince."

I wasn't sure Jacksonville had any princes for me. I had left go-cart boy in Provo and still struggled with letting him go. Sitting on a curb with my gay friend certainly wasn't going to get me any closer to finding love, but it seemed easier than opening my heart again.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tom Cruise

When I rolled out of bed the next morning, my eyes were wide open. I couldn't wait to go back to Monks. My head was still reeling from the dream that had been the previous night. I had a happiness hangover. I checked my email, took a shower and twiddled my thumbs waiting for 5:00 to roll around. When, at last, my wall clock displayed the correct time, I threw on my black pants, t-shirt and sparkly eyeliner and headed out the door. Back at the restaurant I was greeted by Ria, Ethan and Jackie, all getting ready for a repeat of the previous night.
And a repeat it was. I was given my tiny section, smiled my way through being a terrible waitress, danced a lot and even sang You Oughtta Know again (this time I had Dennis give me my opening note. It went off without a hitch). I was getting used to hearing odd names for drinks...
Customer: I'll have the Liquid Panty Remover, please.
Asia: Um, ok.
Asia walks to bar.
Asia: (to bar tender) Something about panties.
Bar tender: Coming right up.
and (true story)
Customer: Do you have Bacardi?
Asia: I dunno. I'll check.
Asia walks to bar.
Asia: (to bartender) Do we have Buck Hardy?
Bartender gives Asia a concerned look and pulls out a bottle of Bacardi.
Asia: Dang it. I've even heard of that one.
and I was trying to remember the names of my fellow server/entertainers. I ran through them briefly in my mind again: Megan, manager, tall with beautiful dark curly hair, song repertoire including Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac and Bonnie Raitt; Ria, manager, small and Filipina, always covered in sparkling jewelry; Ethan, tall and thin, bleach blonde hair, song repertoire including: Billy Idol, The Beatles, LMFAO; Candy: Short, with long dark hair and big bangs, song repertoire including Etta James, The Cranberries, and support harmonies; and Jay, dark hair, dark eyes, song repertoire including: The Beatles, Bob Seger and support harmonies. These were my new comrades-in-arms. My new crowd. My new scene. Still trying to get the smell of bleach out of my nose from how pristine my BYU experience had been, I welcomed them with open arms.
At one point during the night, I was in the back putting together a salad when Jay came around the corner to fill some water glasses.
"So, what's your deal?"
I was startled by the question. "What..?"
He smiled. "You know, where are you from? Are you a student? Are you married?"
"Oh, um..."
I'm gonna cut this conversation off here. I don't remember what I replied, but I'm sure it was sad to watch. You see, Jay was handsome. He looked a bit like Tom Cruise (more on this later) and my awkwardness around handsome boys was pretty embarassing. I still had a-ways to go before I was confident enough in my new environment to give sassy, non-mumbly answers to questions from cute boys.
This embarassment only skyrocketed from here. Later on in the evening, I was clearing empty plates from my tables when I noticed that Jay had disappeared. I hadn't seen him for a little while when Dennis took the mic to introduce the next song.
"Tonight at Harmonious Monks, we have a special guest. All the way from Hollywood, give it up for Mr. Tom Cruise!"
Then, from the employee restroom at the back of the restaurant, Jay emerged wearing nothing but white socks, a button-down shirt, sunglasses and white briefs. He had a microphone in his hand and a smile on his face. The band began to play "Old Time Rock N' Roll". Jay jumped up on the stage and began to sing and shake his hips around. All the women went crazy and literally started taking cash out of their pocketbooks to stuff into Jay's... whatever. I didn't watch. My face turned a flourescent shade of purple and my hand shot up to block my eyes. I had, literally, never seen so much of a man's thigh.
Once the song ended and my face had resumed it's normal coloring, Jay changed back into his normal work clothes and resumed business as usual. It was getting late in the night and my eyes were beginning to droop, but no fatigue has ever stopped me from dancing. When the speakers started up with their usual Pitbull, Sir Mix-a-Lot lineup, I was shaking it like a polaroid picture with the rest of the crowd.
The night ended with the same panache of the previous night: at 2am the lights came on, security escorted remaining patrons out of the building, napkins and glitter covered the floor. As I wiped my tables, I listened to Ethan, who was somewhere across the room, listing names of liquors we sold, replacing certain words with gay references (for example: Queer-noff instead of Smirnoff) and getting a chuckle out of himself. I smiled and continued cleaning. Suddenly, Jay appeared.
"Hey, it was nice to meet you." He said with a smile.
"You too."
"Sometimes a few of us from Monks go dancing. You should come."
"That sounds great." I said, trying to contain my enthusiasm.

- - - - -

The next day was church. I was always somewhat relieved that my weekends ended on a spiritual high note. Sometimes my employment in the bar would expose me to the dark under-belly of young adulthood. Sometimes I heard too much profane language, smelled too many foreign substances on the clothing of my coworkers or saw too many customers staggering around, unable to hold their own body weight because the drinks they had consumed. These things would bring a gray cloud to muddy my otherwise blue sky.
But when I was able to shower away the sweat, beer and glitter, put on my Sunday best and remind myself that the good in the world is worth waking up early for, the clouds would dissipate and I would once again feel the sun warm my skin.
And as long as I was floundering in my quarter-life crisis, I may as well have stability somewhere in my life. And, not coincidentally, it was not at the bar where I would meet my future husband.

Total Pageviews