Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Scorsese Has Nothing to Worry About

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in one of my earlier blogs, but this semester, I decided to repack my backpack and head back to university again. This time, I'm tackling filmmaking. Yes, dear readers, that is right, I'm trying to learn how to direct. It's been a couple months now since I've been taking this class, so let me give you a brief summary of my progress: I suck.

No, no, I'm not fishing for compliments, really, I'm telling the truth. I'm trying, though, I really am, but I'm not exactly excelling like I pictured myself doing.

Before I started this class, I would daydream about being in the director's chair, wearing a beret and really cool black rimmed glasses that made me look very director-y (of course, I am always 10 pounds thinner in these dreams). I yell, 'Action,' like a pro and, 'Cut,' like I know exactly what I'm doing. I look through the camera lens and see a whole new world, and I understand what things like a clapper, shot list and color saturation mean. I do that thing with my index fingers and thumbs and know how to perfectly frame a scene. Yeah, I am so awesome... in my dreams.

Reality, however, is a completely different matter. The other day, we had to submit our first test scenes, which is basically one scene from our movie. Thanks to the help of my amazing classmates, Camera Man and Ms. Mare, my scene moved up from messy diarrhea level to solid crap. During the shoot, I didn't say action once - how did I miss that? - but did manage a few 'Cuts' at the prompting of CM, who God bless his soul, kept trying to remind me to, you know, direct.

Anyhoo, after the shoot, it was time to edit, but of course I couldn't figure out how to use any of the advanced programs. I think if you stuck me in front of a control station at NASA, I'd have a better chance of launching a rocket to the moon. So, I used a basic program that proper filmmakers would be aghast to resort to and  butchered my scene even further. Ms. Mare, who I have since canonized the Patron Saint of Filmmaking (even though I am not Catholic and have no connection to the Pope, although I did go to the Vatican once) spent about four hours with me re-editing the whole thing so I wouldn't completely humiliate myself in front of the class.

Then presentation day came, dah dah dahhhhhhhh (the theme music from The Shining should be playing in your heads right now). As the instructor took the DVD from me to play on the giant projector in the class, I never wanted to be an ostrich so badly, just so I could bury my head in the ground (it is the ostrich that does that, right?). So the scene played, finally it was over, the lights were switched back on, the instructor went back to his desk, sat down and looked right at me.

Instructor: Why was your scene such s____?
Me (removes knife from wound): Um, uh...
Instructor: This is TV calibre, no good for film!
Me (in my head): Hmmmm, I can live with TV. Soap operas aren't so bad. Maybe they could use me at Grey's Anatomy?
Instructor: What is more important than your film?
Me (in my head): Fitting in a manicure appointment sometime this week, because I haven't been able to get one in weeks, prepping for this scene that you just said was complete crap.
Instructor: There is nothing, NOTHING, more important than your film.
Me, sigh, (in my head): Goodbye manicure.

Of course, he was 100% right in everything he said about my scene. But, you know, it still stings to hear it... out loud... in front of other people. So when my turn was done, I was relieved, I thought, okay, my humiliation is over for now. But no. During the shoot of a classmate of mine, one of her actresses didn't show up so she asked me to fill in despite my protestations. After the teacher saw her scene, he turned to me and asked, "Who were you supposed to be? The mother?"

THE MOTHER??? THE MOTHER??? Okay, I know I'm older than these kids, but THE FREAKING MOTHER? I was like, 'No, I'm supposed to be the sister.' SISTER! As in person not possibly old enough to have given birth to a 20 year old! (Knife stuck back in wound.)

And that is still not the end of my tale of woe. Then we had to learn about casting. This was done by placing everyone of us in front of a camcorder, and then replaying our recording on the projector screen in mute, so attention would only be paid to our faces and bodies.

So, my turn comes up and there I am, face plastered on the big screen. Just as I was feeling not so awkward about being in class with 20 year olds; just as I was thinking that even though I'm older than these kids, it doesn't feel like there's such an age difference when we talk movies; just as I was enjoying working with them on different shoots and feeling like one of the guys THAT had to happen. Extreme close up Anissa: wrinkles crinkle around her eyes as she makes really odd facial expressions. Then I hear, "No, no, see, look," from the instructor, as my giant head bobbed around on the screen, "she can never be an actress!"

(Knife... wound... so deep! FADE OUT)

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Beautiful Lebanon

On Friday morning, I posted a new blog entry trashing the show 'Homeland' for its inaccurate portrayal of Beirut as a backwards shantytown. An hour later, a bomb went off in Ashrafieh, killing the head of Lebanon's intelligence unit and several others, and wounding over a hundred. Beirut didn't look like a slum, it looked like a war zone. Again, the media surrounded this tiny, little corner of the world and broadcast images of a crumbling, violent nation. I felt great sadness for the people affected by this tragedy. I was also embarrassed for my country... yet again.

I still stand by what I wrote: Lebanon is beautiful. The mountains are indeed glorious, the capital a sparkling metropolis with a thriving nightlife and beautiful, luxurious shopping districts. The skyline is magnificent, the views and food spectacular. It's just the people that are the problem. Stupid, ignorant, sectarian, religiously fanatical morons that really, deep down, don't give a damn about their country, caring more about corrupt religious and political figures than the land they call home. If Little Bo Peep lived here, she'd have no problem finding her sheep.

I moved to Lebanon, leaving my family behind in the US. I was 21 and full of optimism, enthusiasm and passion for this broken country. Hamra was full of mom-and-pop shops; Gemaizeh and Monot were mostly residential; the downtown wasn't fully rebuilt yet and there was no ABC or City Mall, or any mall for that matter. There was no Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti, American Eagle Outfitters or Gap. There was no Starbucks or Coffee Beanery. I had no internet at home and had to go to the computer lab at the American University of Beirut to send an email. But I loved Lebanon.

In 2005, the prime minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in a car bomb. We were all enraged at his death, well 1.5 million of us anyway, and I went to every protest. On March 14, 2005, I walked from my office near Hotel Dieu to Downtown to topple the government. Our office was multi-religious, so all factions - Christian, Muslim and Druze - marched side-by-side. The major roads were closed, which is why we had to walk. We didn't care. We were full of hope. And I still loved Lebanon.

Unfortunately, the efforts of those 1.5 million people didn't amount to much. In 2006, we were stuck in another war, this time I was evacuated with my family. It was a very painful experience. But when the war was over a month later, I was eager to get back. I still loved Lebanon.

A year after that, the army was engaged in a bitter war against terrorists in the Naher el Bared refugee camp. We supported our troops and prayed for a quick resolution. We lost over 167 good men but at least we were united for a change. I still loved Lebanon.

A year after that, internal factions were at war with each other. Beirut was seized by gunmen wearing masks. They closed off roads and tried to inflict terror on the people. Our building was in the crossfires of one battle, and a few stray bullets shattered the glass of our neighbor's apartment. We went to the mountains to escape the gunfire. We stayed for a week and I longed to get back down to Beirut when peace was restored. I still loved Lebanon.

From 2005-2008, there were many assassinations of key political people and those not in politics but brave enough to speak the truth. It's sad to say, but we got used to the bombings and everyday wondered, who will they get next. But like the rest of the Lebanese sick of the politics, religious hypocrisy and violence, we went about our daily lives as best we could. I still loved Lebanon.

In 2009, the same factions were at it again. We watched from home as Lebanese were shooting at each other, snipers on building tops targeting fellow countrymen because of religion and politics and just plain stupidity. Why are you doing this, a journalist asked, because our leader told us to be here, was the empty and pointless reply. When things calmed, I was happy to get back to my life. I still loved Lebanon.

But now, in 2012, I've had enough. I went to pay my respects yesterday to a man who was killed for simply doing his job and doing it right. I thought as I watched the coffins go by that I hope all the politicians and religious leaders that brought Lebanon to this point are happy now - whatever their color, red, green, yellow, blue or orange, they have managed to paint our whole world black.

I'm not sure if I can be here anymore to witness your destruction, but I still love you, my beautiful Lebanon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Why 'Homeland' Sucks

The real Hamra Street
So I was a big fan of the show 'Homeland' on Showtime last season. I was so happy that the show won like a million Emmy's because of how good I thought it was. Then I started watching season two. OMG, what a disappointment. It only took the first episode to turn me off completely. Showing Beirut as some sort of slum was not only inaccurate but just oh so wrong.

Since when does every woman on Hamra Street sport a headscarf, and an unfashionable one at that? The wardrobe of the supposed Lebanese women looked like they were bought from 1960s Bums R Us, and Yes, We Are Terrorists for the guys. And the cars… the cars! Oh my! They were pre-civil war era wrecks! As if... please, we have more Porsche Cayennes per capita than any other city on earth (or at least, it feels that way).

Okay, so the country has many, many problems. This is not paradise, and we have a lot of political instability that I will not get into. But hello, we know how to dress and don't all walk around carrying AK47s. Believe it or not, we Lebanese prefer designer handbags and fancy cars to shot guns when it comes to accessories. 

It's so disappointing that one of my favorite shows had to resort to cliched stereotypes to get ratings. Just a little bit of research, or one search on Google images, would've given them some insight into how the real Lebanon looks. But no, instead we get shots that were actually filmed in the slums of Israel passing for Beirut.

I guess having gun-weilding terrorists roaming around Hamra Street appearing as an everyday occurrence is much more sellable if Beirut looks more like a set from 'Slumdog Millionaire.' I walk down Hamra all the time, and the only upsetting thing I ran into recently was the LL500 hike in the cost of my Starbucks coffee!

It would be great if the Lebanese joined in some sort of campaign to counter the offensive portrayal of our country on this show. I know we have bigger things to worry about, but still, that doesn't mean we should stay quiet about this. Yesterday, I read an article that the Lebanese government is planning on suing the producers of 'Homeland.' The tourism minister is apparently outraged by the image of a terrorist-filled Beirut. But I'm sure he's not going to do anything about it.

I can just imagine the conversation he had about the issue:
Minister: That show 'Homeland' sucks. Let's sue them.
Aide: Are you sure you want to do something that will benefit the country without any personal benefit for yourself?
Minister: You mean I won't get anything?
Aide: No, this will purely be an act for the better of Lebanon.
Minister: Oh, forget it then.

Hey, just because our government probably won't do anything about it, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't. I sent in a complaint to Showtime, and I encourage all of you to do the same. Let's take a stand for once. Click on the link below and DO SOMETHING!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Night With Madonna

Yeah, I hung out with Madonna - no biggie. What? You mean, you never spent a night singing and dancing with a musical icon? Really? Ha ha! I am so much cooler than you. Madge and I are totally like BFFs now, seriously. Okay, so I exaggerate... a little. But I did get to hang out with her... even though she didn't know I was there!

The day started out like any other, except I wasn't in Beirut, but Dubai. Some people may confuse the two cities together, because they're both in the Middle East and they both have Arabic as their official language, but one is hot and desert like with nice shiny buildings and laws that people actually follow; the other is Beirut. I had planned on going to the Madonna concert in Abu Dhabi as soon as her MDNA tour was announced. Why she chose not to come to Beirut is beyond me! I guess she didn't read about all the amazing protest/road block parties that we throw.

Anyhoo, so it was to Dubai I went, even though I really detest rock concerts. The last one I went to was like 10 years ago when Alanis Morissette came to Beirut. It was so unorganized and I was so exhausted after waiting in the sun for hours for her to finally show up, I vowed never to attend another concert again, with four exceptions: 1. U2; 2. Aerosmith; 3. Rolling Stones; and 4. Madonna. I had been to other concerts that weren't so bad before I moved to Lebanon, like Bryan Adams (remember, this was the 90s and he was big then), Hootie and the Blowfish (again, it was the 90s), Dave Matthews and Live (which was pretty awesome). I am definitely not going to remind you of the MC Hammer concert I went to (that Vanilla Ice opened for) and I am definitely not going to reveal to you that I went to an Amy Grant concert. Oh crap.

Now back to Madonna. When I found out someone from my list was performing nearby, I had no choice but to go. It was on my list, people. I decided to brave the crowds, the heat, the waiting in line and the less than hygienic bathroom situation. I stayed with the delightful Ms Sweetie Pie and we drove from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for the concert together with two of her friends, one of whom wanted to be at the venue at 5.30pm even though the concert was supposed to start at 8pm, and we heard the night before that Her Royal Madgesty didn't show up until 10.45pm.

The morning of, Sweetie Pie and I read reviews of the concert and they were not exactly stellar. The two hour wait did not earn Madonna any Brownie points with the audience. (Maybe it had something to do with the 40 degree weather - just a hunch!!) We also read that the way the stage was designed, like a triangle, only those lucky enough to win a lottery to stand within the triangle (called the Golden Triangle) really got a good view of the show, even if you had the good tickets, which we did. So on the way there, Sweetie Pie and I were joking about who we'd choose if either of us won the lottery - only like 50 people were chosen, and they each got to bring a guest.

We met up with SP's friends and we decided that if I won, I'd choose SP and vice versa, and her two other friends would choose each other. (Yeah, we're Lebanese and yeah we worked things out without having to burn tires.) So, SP read that the lottery starts at 6.15, and on the dot, this chick comes out holding an iPad and asks people in line to press a button - you win you get a green wristband that says Golden Triangle and get to be right next to the stage. I could feel the tension in the crowd as she went from person to person. There were some pretty desperate fans in line, decked out in Madonna gear from head to toe, even the guys. It was not a good look for any of them.

When iPad lady approached me, I was totally cool and nonchalant. I was so like whatevs, I don't care, I'll press your stupid iPad button, so not a big deal, whatever, so what and... WHAT?? HOLY COW!! I FREAKIN' WON! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!?!?! ME?? I WON? I WON. I WON!!! My cool demeanor was totally out the window. I jumped up and down squealing like a moron, as if I were on the Ellen Show and she just gave me a check for $10,000 from JC Penny... and then told me I won a new car... and then told me Michael Fassbender was in the passenger seat.

It. Was. Awesome. Madonna, you made us wait for nearly two hours, but when you finally came out, you gave one hell of a performance - you definitely still got it! So, even though you are not Michael Fassbender, you were totally worth it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dancing in the Streets

In most civilized countries, etiquette experts give tips on how to throw the perfect soiree, from scrumptious hors d'oeuvres and elegant center pieces to the proper entertainment and dress code. In Lebanon, though, we like to shake things up a little. I mean, why throw a smashing party when you can organize a mass protest, complete with closing down streets and terrorizing people? That sounds way more fun, no? So, here it is, your guide to throwing the perfect protest, a la Libanaise.

1. Pick a cause: In Lebanon, we don't really care how pertinent a cause is to our country. In fact, any old excuse will do, so just pick something that pisses you off. I'm choosing the killing off of Lexie Grey on Grey's Anatomy. What were those producers thinking? How dare they? I bet they didn't know who they were messing with and I'm sure they're going to really care that there is a random protest in a random country that has absolutely no connection to the Grey's Anatomy writer's room at ABC Studios. This will make all the difference in the world, I just know it, and they'll be forced to bring her back! 

2. Location, location, location: So, the Airport Road is just so blasé these days. I mean just about everyone is choosing to throw their protest there. But please, I am so not a copycat. I am a total original (just ask the salesperson at H&M, who swore to me that no one else in the world bought the same clothes I did). So, I was thinking, where oh where should I choose? Then it came to me... like a bolt of lightening from the cloud of originality: block off any and all electronic/appliance stores that sell TVs so that people can no longer watch Grey's Anatomy. Brilliant, I know. That'll show those Hollywood bigheads. They will really feel the burn from way out here... in Lebanon... a country that is probably one of the most important in terms of global viewership. 

3. Decorations: Well, you really can't go wrong with burning tires and trash bins. I will not stoop so low as to buy the cheapito ones, though. I'm ready to go all out. I'm talking about either Goodyear or Micheline, people. That's right, the good stuff. I'm a classy dame and imagine the horror if, by some chance, a tire rolls over to some fashionable protestor and they happen to see 'Made in Taiwan' stamped on it. OMG! The shame, the shame. It'll be almost as bad as being caught with a fake Prada! As for the trash bins, you know what they say: 'if it ain't broke don't fix it,' so, I'll be sticking with the big green ones.

4. Party favors: Who doesn't like an old fashioned burning stick? It's the perfect way to say, thank you for coming to our protest and visiting our road block. Such a useful and thoughtful giveaway will also attract more people to my oh-so-worthy cause and send a clear message to TV producers around the world who are thinking of taking out any more of my favorite characters (yes, I'm talking to you HBO and the writers at Game of Thrones). And let's face it, party favors can either make or break a party, so make sure yours are made from the finest wood. If you're on a budget, stones are an adequate substitute - they last longer, but are not as pretty. Plus, you can't set them on fire. But beggars can't be choosers. Just make sure that your guests don't go home empty handed. Anjad a3yb.

5. Attire: Protests should always be dress casual. There are no exceptions to this rule, because basically things can get messy (in a good way!). Some people like to accessorize with a ski mask, but in my opinion that only makes the protestor look like a criminal, or someone who doesn't want to be recognized because they are doing something bad. But what could possibly be shameful about protesting over the loss of our dearly beloved Lexie Grey?!? Why do you need a mask when you are out there for such a good cause that is so meaningful and helpful to Lebanon? Exactly.

6. Food: So, the great thing about such a gathering is that you are not required to offer any food at all. Isn't that great? People are going to be so busy, what with all the tire burning and making sure that people can't get through the roadblock, that they're not going to have any time to stuff their faces with munchies, no matter how yummy. If you want to be a super host/hostess, you could provide water, which will go over nicely especially in the summer. But I recommend a simple BYOB, because at this point, you've done enough, so let the guests be in charge of their own hydration. 

That's about all I can tell you, folks. If you need any more helpful hints, just ask any one of our awesome political parties - I'm sure they'd be more than glad to help you out, because they are the experts after all!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Driving Me Crazy

After a particularly arduous day on the road trying to navigate Beirut's - let's say unique - traffic system, I came home, as usual, in a really bad mood. We've all read the parodies on the hazards of driving in Lebanon, so I'm not going to go there. No, instead, this is my interpretation of what I think traffic signs in this country really mean!

Green=Go; Yellow=Go; Red=Eh, maybe
Green=Go; Red=We'll take our chances
Anything goes


Yeah, right!

Catch me if you can

My car goes right here by this sign that says no parking
Just Do It!

Collective IQ of Lebanese politicians

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back to the Future

Hello dear readers, yes it's me, the world's worst blogger. I won't make any excuses for my late entry... again. But you know, I do have one. Okay, I will tell you... I have gone back to school and am auditing a class at a local university here in Beirut. I know, I know, it's only one class. One hour, twice a week and I can't even update my blog once? You have a point. But hellooooo, did I not just say that I'm the world's worst blogger? Also, I am working on my second novel (which you all better buy... if it ever gets published) and that is taking up most of my writing time. All right, moving along...

So, like I said, I have started auditing a class and I am so enjoying being a student again. It's like a Back to the Future movie, except I'm still my age (bah humbug!). I don't try to look like a student or anything - I'm 38, the jig is up. But I honestly don't feel 20 years older than everyone else. It doesn't seem like so long ago that I was one of them. But it was; I was a student in the 1990s. Biologically, I could have given birth to one of these kids. Arrhhhhhh, I'm starting to hyperventilate!!! I'll just stop now.

So has anything changed since I was in college? Well, unlike some of these kids, I never carried my books around in an oversized Louis Vuitton or Balenciaga. My dad would have burned my check book and shredded my credit card if I spent over $1,000 on a school bag. Then he would have disowned me.  I also still use the traditional pen and paper in class. Mainly because I find it a lot easier to take notes the old fashioned way. Also because I'm lazy and can't be bothered to lug a laptop around.

But everything else is the same. Except I think now I have better hair and better dress sense. I would go so far as to say wayyyy better dress sense. When I was a freshman, for example, all the good times were taken by the upperclassmen and I was stuck with an 8am class MWF, so I would go wearing pajamas. Seriously. Not kidding. My roommate literally rolled out of bed, put on shoes, shoved a stick of gum in her mouth and went to class. I was classy, I brushed my teeth.

By sophomore year, I was able to avoid 8am classes so I looked pretty decent for class to kind of redeem myself for freshman year. Unfortunately, I was totally into the grunge look. I - gulp - wore clogs! Oh, that was hard to admit. But it's true. I wore clogs. With socks in the winter.

I also wore things like this:

I was so proud of my flannel shirt collection. If only I had just admired Kurt Cobain's music. But nooooo, I had to copy off his wardrobe too.

And this is how I dealt with my hair most mornings:

Don't judge me - I was actually considered quite stylish back then.

I think female Lebanese students would have a heart attack if they wore what I wore when I was in college. Funnily enough, I was called a good dresser. One sorority sister told me that I looked like I stepped out of an episode of the original 90210. That was a huge compliment. I had a poster of Jason Priestly above my bed in my dorm room. Another girl in my dorm thought I was some spoilt snob because a lot of my clothes were from Benetton. Yes, you read right, Benetton. Apparently, it was the Marc Jacobs of my day.

Yes, it feels like yesterday that I was some teen with a backpack on my shoulders and a final paper on my mind. Sometimes, when I look in the mirror I think yeah, I could pass for a college student again, you know, if I overlook the gray hairs, ignore the wrinkles and squint really hard... from a distance... in the dark. Yep, I could totally be 18 again!  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Live From Dubai ...

Last week, I went to Dubai for five days and had the best time. I marveled at how the people of Dubai took a pile of sand and made it into a metropolis and how the paradisaical Lebanon has been turned into a pile of crap, with rivers running red with pollution (literally). It made me sad. Before I went, I read an article in - I think - The Guardian, in which the writer completely trashed Dubai. I know the city has problems, like London is perfect. And hello, has he ever been to Beirut?

Yes, there is a lot of room for improvement from a social welfare, ecological point of view, but as a whole, they have done a truly remarkable job. Dubai actually reminds me of that ugly girl in high school who still managed to get all the attention from the cute boys because she basically made the best of what God gave her. Just substitute makeup, hair dos, a nose job, fancy clothes with high rises, high rises and more high rises spread across a terrain dotted with imported grass. That is Dubai. They did the best with what God gave them: a whole lot of sand, a few camels and just a wee bit of oil.

In contrast, in Lebanon, we had it all. Natural grass, beautiful mountains, a glorious sea and a talent/intellect pool that Dubai does its best to woo over to their side. What did we do with it? For starters, we dug deep nasty holes into the mountains. We polluted the sea and rivers to no end, killing all the sea life, and we made our air practically unbreathable with chemical emissions coming from cars and factories. As for the brains, well Lebanon is officially drained. Because they're smart and they could, the majority left to where they can actually make a living and support their families. What are we left with? Just check out the Lebanese politicians. Enough said.

We should thank them for what they have given us so far: a mess. Are they too busy blaming each other and stealing from us that they haven't noticed that our country is in a shambles? Or maybe they have noticed but couldn't care less because their pockets are full and are still getting fuller. I wonder what do they do all day long? Think of more ways to screw us over, the people they're meant to serve? If that's the case, they are doing an excellent job.

They are completely blind to what we need. I want to be able to walk down Hamra Street without being scared that assholes on mopeds will rob me. I want criminals to be put in jail and not released because they are connected with some political party. I want to breathe clean air. I want to swim in a sea that won't make me sick. I WANT 24HR ELECTRICITY!! I want to be able to afford to pay for electricity ... and water, and gas, and my phone bill and my own home. It would be nice to be able to buy a new car without paying 40% its value in tax. It would be nice to get government things done without having to bribe people for doing their job. It would be nice to wake up in the morning and not be worried that today, we could be dragged into a war. Yes, it would be nice.

What I don't want is to hear the same politicians blabbering about how everything is not their fault, even though they are the government, and news flash: YES, IT IS YOUR FAULT. If you can't make the changes we so desperately need, who can? Here's a clue: it's not Casper the Friendly Ghost, Peter Pan or Elvis Presley, because the first two don't exist and the third is dead.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sex, Lies and the Internet: Part II

As promised, here is part two of my 'expose' on online dating sites. Today we shall discuss the total perverts! I don't know, maybe you guys won't find the below so offensive. Maybe I'm a complete prude or just plain old fashioned. But honestly, I really don't know what these guys expected when they emailed me with this stuff. Seriously, my picture is about as seductive as one of Mother Theresa feeding the poor! But that doesn't seem to matter - my caption might as well have read "Don't need nothin' but a good time!"

So, here are a few of the messages, that I am literally copying and pasting. Oh, just to let you know, I am not using these morons' real handles. 

[NB: Please don't read on if you find stuff like this offensive.]

Perv1: Hey, did u know that women tend to reach the peak of sexuality in their mid 30's !!
Uhm, thanks for the sex ed PERFECT STRANGER who I've never met. Totally appropriate first email. Yes, totally appropriate.

Perv2: hey babe are u into bondage ?
Okay, first of all 'babe'??? Hellloooo, do I know you? NO! So, don't call me babe! And second, just a word of advice, do not send this kind of crap off the bat. It's a good idea to send an introductory message first, like: "Hey, my name is so and so. I like movies and going out to clubs and would love to hear back from you." If the girl responds, then you can try and see if she's into the same gross stuff as you by giving more details. For example, "I like (porno) movies and going out to (strip) clubs." 

Perv3: I think I want to force u into something else than clubbing. I am sure u'll love that.
I guess I should explain that I wrote in my profile that I'm not a big partier and usually go out 'by force' (yeah, that means you MadGlam!). So the above email serves me right, I suppose. 

Perv4: Ok, I can't copy/paste this one verbatim because this is not Penthouse. It was an email with descriptions of licking and sucking ... ending with "yep, that's how you eat an ice cream!" so you all can use your imagination. It is kind of funny if you take away the fact that I've never met the guy before, and slightly clever so we should give kudos to Perv4 for his originality at least. 

Perv5: What's the AR stand for. If what am thinking of applies on what's on ur mind ... I am  more than happy to share with u :)
So, I very cleverly included my initials as part of my online handle. Don't ask me why! So stupid. Anyway, that's the AR this dumbass is referring to. The rest, however, is beyond me. I must not be very well versed in my pervy vocabulary, because I cannot think what AR stands for. I mean maybe if it was one letter or the other, but both? I suppose if you were a complete pervert you could make any initials sound sexual. Maybe I'm missing something and AR is a total turn on. Maybe I should start using just my initials when I meet hot guys, so when he asks, "What's your name," I'll be like, "Aaaaaa Rrrrrrr, wink wink." Yep, I've got the whole seduction thing down pat, so thanks for the tip, Perv5!

Now we come to the worst one - this message literally made me blush, and it was so explicit that I can't include all of it. So here is a short excerpt. 
Perv6: listen i find ur lips and mouth and above all ur bright eyes extra special...u'll never ever find a man more gentle, [CENSORED], sensitive and always [CENSORED] for girls... i love all and everything about you girls...the smell of ur feet - i can cover them with heavy kisses even if smelly like after a long day in ur shoes and then lick them clean...ur soles r like a merry cream to me... then go on [CENSORED]
OMG!!! The rest of the email is like really, really graphic that I'm embarrassed for this guy. How can he send something like that? The funny thing is that as I was reading it, the first part about the smelly feet grossed me out so much more than the nasty sexual stuff further down. It is just so beyond gross. Who in their right mind wants to lick smelly feet! HOW IS THIS REMOTELY SEXY???????? EWWWWWWWWWW. I almost messaged this guy back just to say, "AYBBBB! Ya aybeshoum aleyk!" But then I remembered I'm not his mom. I also thought about telling him that at one point I thought he could have a future career as an erotica writer, UNTIL I REREAD THE PART ABOUT THE SMELLY FEET. EWWWWWWWWWW. 

As you can tell, this whole online dating thing has not been working out so well for me up until now. I've gotten 68 emails to date, and according to the 'matchmaking' expertise of this site, my best 'matches' so far are liars, perverts, or guys from Israel. Hmmmm, so my choices are feeling like I'm in a porno movie or being shot for treason? Great start.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sex, Lies and the Internet

Recently, I was hounded, literally hounded, by ... well let's just call her Little Miss Bossy ... to sign up for an online dating site. She's been on my case forever about this issue, giving me the usual so-called pros: you have nothing to lose, you never know, increase your pool of acquaintances ... blah blah blah. Anyway, after a while, I thought, yeah why not? Let's give it a shot. So I did.

I know there is this whole taboo about online dating sites here, but I figure there is no harm in meeting new people and it's so easy over the internet. You don't really have to do anything except answer a few emails. So I signed up using a different name, of course, and you would just not believe what has crawled out of the woodwork so far! (Before I go on, I just want to clarify that some of the guys that have contacted me seem really nice and cool, but they don't make for good blog material, so obviously, the decent ones will not be mentioned. I only say this because I don't want to make it sound like I'm bashing these sites, which I'm not, and that it is possible to meet normal people.)

But for now, let focus on the LIES!!!

So, I can understand why some people will opt not to put a picture. Maybe they're hiding something, or maybe they are just embarrassed about being on a dating site. Who knows? Personally, I don't respond to messages from guys without a photo because I figure, if you're embarrassed, then don't be on the site, and if you're hiding something, I am not interested. Also, between you and I, I'm going to assume that no-picture dude is ugly. Wait, did I just say that out loud?

Anyhoo, what's even worse is the guys that use fake photos of hunky celebrities - I've had several of those. It is beyond pathetic. I mean do they really think we're going to believe they look like Jason Lewis, Samantha's hot boyfriend on Sex and the City? There was also this one guy who had two pics of himself from a distance and then a closeup pic of ... Clive Owen! OMG, what a LOSER!

Maybe I should try putting up an obscure pic of me so no one can really see my face and then use a close up of Angelina Jolie. What? Is that a stretch? You mean I don't really look like her even though we have similar coloring? Reallllyyyyyy??? I dunno, I think like Clive-Owen-NOT Dude, I could get away with it. And when I meet guys in real life, and they are shocked, just shocked, that I'm not Angelina Jolie's twin, I could just say, 'Oh, well this is what I look like from a distance.'

But the worst fake picture offender was this guy who used a photo of Dirk Benedict, the original Face from the 1980s show The A-Team and the original Starbuck from the 1970s Battlestar Galactica. I bet he was thinking, 'This actor is from the 70s and 80s, no one in Lebanon will know that I'm not Dirk Benedict. So what if his hair is feathered and the jacket has shoulder pads? I can totally pull this off.' Loser just doesn't cover it.

I also never respond to guys with fake photos, but this one I just had to confront. So I emailed him back and asked why he was using Dirk Benedict's photo and if he is some sort of die-hard A-Team fan or something. This is his response, copy/paste, I kid you not:

'i want know you . i want friend together talk . plase write me mail'

Then he gave me his email address. Oooooh yeah, I was so tempted after that!

But the lies are not as offensive as the pervy emails some nasty guys thought would somehow get me to email them back. I don't know what they were smoking before they started typing, but let's just say they definitely didn't sign up for the site to find their soul mates!

So, stay tuned to Part II of Sex, Lies and the Internet to read all about the perverts!