Newsflash: Men Too Get Distraught While Trying on Jeans August 27, 2012

So there we were in the men’s department at Nordstrom, perusing jeans. I for one was giddy with excitement; not only had I convinced my husband Dan to actually shop for jeans, but he was open to spending the extra money on something a bit more hip.  And I could tell he was serious because he even enlisted the help of a salesperson, a skinny and fashionable twenty-something named Eugene.

We told Eugene we were looking for something in a dark wash, a relaxed fit, without any embellishments.

“Something you can wear to work and then go out to dinner in,” Eugene explained as we nodded in agreement.

And then he happily went to work gathering about a half dozen pairs of jeans, none whose name started with an L and ended with an S.

Eugene makes us at home in an extra huge dressing room where Dan dons his first pair of outrageously expensive jeans.

Dan: Whoa. How am I supposed to get these over my thighs? Uh…yeah, these are way too tight in the thighs. But look, the waist is okay; there’s this big gap here.

Me (smirking): Welcome to my world, buddy. Welcome to my world.

Second pair: Same thing.

Third pair: Same thing, plus too girly.

Fourth pair:

Me: Now those are promising!

Dan: Uh, I don’t think so. (Turns around to reveal said jeans riding high up his ass.)

Me: Oh. Okay, I guess not. If those jeans had a name they would be called “The Eddie Haskell”. Or maybe “Anyone Who Encounters George Clooney”. Or maybe “Obama at Celebrity Fundraiser”. Or maybe –

Dan: Okay, enough! I get it!

The fifth and sixth pairs all had the same thigh issue, even though the waist fit fine or was too big.  I was intrigued.

“Holy crap,” I thought to myself. “It’s like watching myself try on designer jeans. I usually end up leaving the dressing room in a huff, wondering if the fit model was a twelve-year-old girl.”

By the time he was done, Dan was starting to sink into the shopping depression that we ladies are way too familiar with.

“Who are these men who actually fit into these jeans?” he wondered.

“Well honey,” I started. “Eugene, for one. Did you see his waist? It’s probably a 24 at most. His belt was working so hard to keep his pants up I could almost see sweat coming out of it. Plus I’m pretty sure I could kick his ass.”

“These are all made for super skinny people,” he sighed.  “I’d have to lose another twenty pounds. Let’s go look at shoes.”

Wait a minute. Did I hear him right? Let’s go look at shoes? That is right out of the female playbook. We invented “Let’s go look at shoes.” Because every female knows that even if you are feeling bad about your body but you still want to buy something, you go for shoes.

We stroll over to the shoes, but not even the lovely selection of Gucci loafers was able to shake him out of his funk. Every now and then I’d hear him mumble something about “skinny people” and “no jeans for normal guys.”

Again, I knew how he felt. Here we had worked our butts off all summer, eating better and working out. We were definitely in good shape, yet those stupid jeans made us feel like freaks. Who knew that men’s designer jeans were also cruelly designed to only fit stick figures a select demographic? And who knew that men got so depressed about it?

It’s kind of refreshing. But in the meantime it looks like we are headed back to Kohl’s. Sigh.


How I Became a Runner August 22, 2012

I’ve always admired runners; probably because I’ve always found running to be quite tortuous. Even though my brothers, my dad and my two sisters-in-law all ran marathons (yup, that would be marathons, plural), I never really caught the running bug. I was definitely inspired by them all, but not inspired enough to actually strap on running shoes. The thought of running for enjoyment and stress relief seemed like an oxymoron to me, and I was fine with doing my own “running” on the tennis court.

Except I wasn’t fine.

I wanted to be one of those runners. I wanted to experience the elusive “runners high”. I wanted to get up in the morning for a refreshing jog that would clear my mind and ready myself for the day ahead. And yes, I probably wanted the cool running shoes and cute outfits as well.

And so I set out to become a runner. And instead of doing something logical like using the “Couch to 5K” program, I tried a different approach. This strategy could probably best be called the “Cold Turkey Torture Method”, but it worked for me. Here’s how it all went down:

The first thing I did was join a running interest group at work. This would make me accountable to our Friday noon “Fun Runs” (yeah, I chuckled at that too – at first). This was also good because my company then paid for my entry fee into a 5K in September. If I had to run in front of others as part of an organized event, you’d better believe I was going to be prepared. There is nothing that motivates me more than avoiding public humiliation.

The next step of my plan was getting back into kettlebell and high intensity interval training, which I had done in the past. I knew that this strength, mobility and cardio training would really help with my running. Again, this was more accountability. Those classes made me work harder than I would have on my own. The trainers squeezed every last ounce of energy out of me, and that’s exactly what I needed. Some days (in my case, the heavy leg days) I felt a bit nauseous, but that was a sign it was working. In my mind, if I could do those classes then running would be a breeze in comparison.

Oddly I didn’t even start running for a good month or more after I started the kettlebells. Then one day I tried a 2-mile run that included a nasty hill. I stopped once at the top of the hill for about 30 seconds, but otherwise I ran the entire thing. (And when I say ran, I mean jogged.) But still, not too shabby for someone who wasn’t a runner.

Soon I was doing the 2.5-milers every Friday with the running group. I told myself to run my own race; there was no way I was going to keep pace with the others who had been running for years. Plus, I’m not going to lie – this was one of the hottest and most humid summers in Wisconsin history, and those runs were often quite horrible. In addition, all of the runs started with a giant hill. At first I would stop and catch my breath about 3-4 times per run. And then it was once. And now there are no stops, and I can run an entire 5K (albeit slowly) and then some.

So now here is the real shocking part: I’ve found myself getting up at 6:00 am to go running. And excuse me while I watch these pigs fly by, but I like it. I like the quietness of the streets, practically empty except for the dog walkers and a few other fellow runners. As I wave to the other runners, I feel like I’m finally in with the cool kids, or maybe some secret society. I also like the sense of accomplishment I get before I even get to work. I run up the hill alongside several college dormitories, thinking of the students inside who are still fast asleep. And I’m glad I’m not sleeping. Let me repeat that: I’m glad I’m not sleeping.

I can now call myself a runner.



Chances Are, I Don’t Really Care For Your Pet August 12, 2012

Filed under: Humor — aniederkorn @ 9:24 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Not So Much.

Wow, I just became really unpopular with a lot of you, didn’t I? Please don’t look at me like I just announced that I love to pollute. I am just being honest. I’m sure there are plenty of people who feel the same way I do, but they are just too darn polite to say anything while your dog sniffs their nether regions.  I respect your right to have a pet, but I will never be a pet person. My friends with pets realize this, God bless them.  They know to keep their pets controlled and at a safe distance from me, and for that they are awesome.  And for those friends who never knew this about me…well, read on.

First off, I am not saying that I hate animals or want to harm them in any way.  I too tear up whenever I see that commercial with Sarah McLaughlin singing amidst pictures of abused cats and dogs.  I’m not a monster, people.  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to minimize my time around pets as much as possible.

Let’s start with cats.  I am horribly allergic to them, so you can’t really blame me for wanting to stay away from them.  And no, even if you clean your house really well, that won’t make any difference.  I am allergic to their dander, and that sh*t stays around for a very, very long time.  Within fifteen minutes of entering your home I will be sneezing, wheezing and scratching my neck, then making a beeline for the exit.  Just take some Benedryl, you say?  Sorry, but I prefer to be conscious when I visit you.

Secondly, one of the worst smells in the world is cat piss. Have you ever visited The Alhambra in Spain? Its lush gardens are just crawling with homeless cats, and any aroma from the flowers is overpowered by – you guessed it, cat piss. I was supposed to be enjoying this beautiful estate and instead I ended up worrying about how I was going to dodge the piss-happy cats. Another incident I remember was while babysitting in high school. One of the parents told me, “Oh, and stay away from those two corners in the living room. That’s where the cat peed.” Needless to say, I stayed far away from those corners, much like I stayed away from all the dirty dishes they left for me on the counter that night.

Allergy aside though, cats creep me out.  I don’t find them remotely endearing. Kind of like how Karl Lagerfeld doesn’t like Pippa Middleton’s face.  I know – crazy, right? Well it’s the same thing with me and cats.  Not the least bit cute to me. Plus they seem to have this sixth sense that I hate them, so they purposely come by me and rub against my legs.  No, this is not a “sign of affection”.  Those cats are totally f*cking with me. They know that I can’t stand them, but they also know that I’m your friend and therefore I won’t turn the water hose on them while you are present.

Next there are dogs.  I really don’t mind puppies and cute little dogs that I can fit in my purse. And I totally love my brother and sister-in-law’s dog enough that I’d let her sleep with me any time (yes, she is a little dog.) However once those puppies turn into actual large dogs, their lack of self-control is not so cute any more. By the time they “settle down”, I’ve already got paw prints, drool and dog hair all over me. That dog might have had a full day of licking itself and eating things like discarded dirty diapers, so I don’t want it sniffing me, sticking its wet nose on me or licking me with its canine cologne.

Ewww…Canine Cologne.

Next we move onto miscellaneous members of the rodent family.  While I will pet dogs (even the big ones, if they just leave me alone after that), I refuse to touch anything that sleeps in sawdust and emits small squeaks. And as for you “exotic” pet owners, I won’t be strapping a cobra around my neck, cozying up to your ferret or taking your potbellied pig for a walk (unless your name is George Clooney).

But that’s just me. I’m not a pet person.