Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
By popular demand, I’m reposting my Yom Kippur entry from 2010 while I work on my I’m sorry list for this year (It’s a long list). Have an easy fast.
To my mother, I’m sorry I entered you into the Real Housewives of Calabasas auditions,
To my father, I’m sorry I still have your credit card,
To my sister, I’m sorry I always forget you’re not exactly like me,
To my manicurist, I’m sorry I said China - I meant Vietnam,
To the gentleman callers I didn’t call back, I’m sorry I gave you my real number,
To my editor, I’m sorry I use the term “deadline” loosely,
To my professors, I’m sorry I just voiced my opinion out loud whenever I feel like,
To my housekeeper, I’m sorry I laughed at the Telenovela (I thought cat fights are always comedies),
To the servers whose restaurants I’ve patronized, I’m sorry I can never seem to order off the menu,
To my grandmother, I’m sorry you always think they’re not good enough,
To the non-Jews, I’m sorry we call ourselves the chosen people (I think it’s weird too),
To the yogis I take class with, I’m sorry I communicate that you should move over with a gentle whack,
To my roommate, I’m sorry I insist on playing NPR 24 hours a day,
To that CHP officer, I’m sorry I thought it was funny to give you a Monopoly Get Out of Jail Free card,
To my sorority sisters, I’m sorry I once showed a boyfriend the secret handshake (but I’m pretty sure he forgot),
To the telemarketers who call my house, I’m sorry I think it’s funny to repeat exactly what you say back to you like a parrot,
To the drivers who are near me on PCH, I’m sorry I have to come to a complete stop for hot surfers,
To my landlord, I’m sorry I always start our conversations with “the bundle of rights” theory in property law,
To the girls I teased behind your backs, I’m sorry I didn’t say it to your face,
To all cars in Santa Monica, I’m sorry I believe jaywalking isn’t a crime,
To the TSA scanner people, I’m sorry I never take my toiletries out of my bag but you only catch me half the time so it still seems worth it,
To my writing partner, I’m sorry I put my name first and then said it was only to be in alphabetical order,
To my rabbi, I’m sorry I still make origami in synagogue but very rarely,
And to God, I’m sorry that after I read the New Yorker every week I get convinced I’m an atheist.
This originally appeared in the Jewish Journal in 2010.
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October 6, 2011 | 3:58 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
In 1997, as a teenager, I saw the best commercial ever created. It was part of the Think Different campaign for Apple. There was no youtube back then so I watched it over and over on tv till I memorized the words. I wrote them down on the front inside cover of my diary and I looked at them daily for years. Over the years, I would think about those words often as I imagined Martha Graham clicking her heels together and Albert Einstein’s hair being ruffled. Steve Jobs served as a constant reminder to me that it was ok to be weird or different or even crazy. And so I too would like to join the many voices out there thanking him. Not just for every piece of electronic equipment I own, but for encouraging me to think different and showing me the immense richness the Round Pegs could bring to the world.
If this commercial were to be made today, I imagine his familiar turtle-necked image would be included….
Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
October 6, 2011 | 11:00 am
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
My really good friends have an incredible band called LA Gypsy. I appear briefly in the music video for their new single El Camino which is just an incredible classic feel good rock song. Their album has just dropped and you can order it from their website here. They also have two shows in LA and one is tonight! Oct 6 at The Talking Stick in Venice and the other is Oct. 20th at The Key Club as well as a bunch in New York - all the details are on their website.
They shot the entire video in two days on a non-existent budget and I think they did such a spectacular job. I keep telling my friend Mike, who wrote the songs, that I’m the L.A. Gypsy the band is based on but I’m not sure he’s completely sold on that. The truth is, I’d probably post this even if I didn’t think it was all that great because they’re my friends but I definitely wouldn’t be trying to be a part of their origin story if I didn’t think the work was truly brilliant on its own.
Be sure to check out the video here:
October 5, 2011 | 1:00 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Foxy Knoxy is out. It used to be that being a pretty twenty-something American college student got you a free latte. Now, apparently, it gets you a pass on murder. I know I know, but the DNA evidence was faulty. And of course it was and perhaps there wasn’t enough evidence to convict her, but I’m not buying that Amanda Knox was completely innocent in the whole affair either. She acted way too crazy to not to be involved somehow – doing cartwheels in the police station and making out with her boyfriend afterwards. Maybe she wasn’t the actual killer but she at least knew a little too much to have a clear conscience.
Being pretty, has always had its unfair advantages. But Foxy Knoxy seems to truly have expanded the limits of what being young and beautiful can get you. Amanda Knox has seemed to have opened the door for the underserved white educated class of beautiful women in this country.
Ten things I learned from Foxy Knoxy’s time in an Italian prison:
1. When I was in college, we used to call girls slutty behind their backs. But apparently now, girls who sow their wild oats in college are called sex-obsessed, depraved wild-orgy having perverts who rape and murder. However, the term for male promiscuity seems to have remained the same: stud.
2. If this had to happen to Foxy Knoxy, at least it happened in Italy where they don’t have the death penalty. She could have been sentenced to death in the States. But then again, when was the last time we executed someone beautiful on death row. For that matter, when was the last time we executed someone who wasn’t a poor black man?
3. They used to say the best way to learn a foreign language is to date someone who speaks it. But four years in an Italian jail and Foxy Knoxy is fluent. Perhaps an even better way to learn a foreign language is prison?
4. If you have a twenty-year old daughter, she probably has a vibrator. Perhaps your next sex talk should include a gentle reminder not to bring sex toys across international borders – they seem to be misconstrued in certain parts of the world.
5. For some people it’s herpes on your mouth and God is punishing you with an STD. For some people they’re just cold sores that can be transmitted by sharing drinks. This is the new Rorschach test that determines which sexual generation you are from.
6. Lifetime will make a movie about your story if you’re a beautiful young college student who gets sucked into some deviant foreign underworld involving rape and murder. But Hollywood will make a movie about you if you are a beautiful young college student wrongly accused of a gory crime you didn’t commit. Apparently Hollywood really does need a happy ending but sensational tv for women doesn’t.
7. College degrees are overrated. Foxy Knoxy didn’t graduate from University of Washington but John Grisham is begging to co-author a book with her. She’s about to begin her career on the talk show circuit and compare million dollar deals to allow someone the privilege of telling her story.
8. If your story is told on Lifetime, you will be prettier than the actress who plays you.
9. Basic Instinct had it right all along. Forget getting away with a speeding ticket. If you’re pretty enough, you can get away with murder!
10. If all else fails, blame it on a black man. Knox got so confused during her interview with police, she told them her boss Patrick Lumumba must have done it. Although this black man had an airtight alibi, Knox luckily admitted to knowing another black Italian man, Rudy Guede and he has been convicted of the murder.
October 4, 2011 | 11:00 am
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
For this current Millenial generation, there is now a new phase of life most young women will experience. There is adolescence, then college, then there is dating losers, till finally we reach adulthood. I know some of the most accomplished, beautiful, smart, compassionate women and yet so many of them had these starter boyfriends in their early twenties, it can’t be a fluke. Some of them are married now, some are still single, but regardless we all seem to be asking ourselves the same question, how did we date those guys for so long? I’m not talking about men who weren’t right for us – I’m talking about genuine losers. Guys that were jobless and mooched off us and took us for granted and never lifted one finger for our relationship and depended on our social life and didn’t realize what they had.
Why did we put up with so much? One friend of mine was waitressing at two different restaurants to support herself and her boyfriend so he could run the business they were starting. This may have started out like an equal division of labor but by the time I met the two of them, she was declaring him on her income taxes and he was drinking, playing soccer with his friends, and later we found out cheating on her. She’s a smart girl and now she’s dating a guy a thousand times more worthy of her but how did she get there? How did I get there? Why did we put up with these total losers?
Another friend of mine wasn’t allowed to acknowledge their relationship publicly on facebook so no one would knew they were a couple (he also was determined later to be a cheater). Another girl dated a wannabee actor who was so poor, she was paying for most of his food, then she finally got him a bartending job where he promptly spent all his time getting wasted at the bar with his new friends and developed an adderall addiction. Another friend was constantly complaining about her boyfriend who she didn’t think was very smart and would publicly embarrass her by saying crass idiotic things in front of her co-workers, yet she stayed with him for four years.
And then there’s me. I too was in love with a loser once. Of course, at the time I didn’t think he was a loser. I thought he had promise and was about to make it big and was cute if you looked at him from the right angle and my personal favorite: he’s just smart in a different way than I’m smart. Once I got out of that relationship and became alerted to the coterie of men that were out there to date in comparison, I slowly realized the truth. I too, had been dating a loser. But that’s the thing about love. It doesn’t just blind us to our partners. It blinds us to what we should expect from any partner.
I know there’s a temptation to use a bit of revisionist history when analyzing past relationships that didn’t work out. So if it were just one or two of my friends, I’d be hesitant to make this blanket statement. But it’s true for so many women, it seems to be a legitimate phase that most women in their late twenties or thirties have gone through. I think a lot of us girls were struggling in our own careers or even struggling to understand what we wanted out of life after college, so perhaps a lot of what now makes them a loser at the time seemed to make them struggling actors/entrepreneurs/musicians. But now, I know where some of those guys are, and none of them seemed to have really achieved the level of success where we thought they were heading. But many of us are now dating men who are treat us well and prioritize us and gainfully employed. So why did we put up with it?
Perhaps, this is because many of us had our first serious relationship after college. For the baby boomers, relationships got serious in college. For my generation, hook-ups were serious in college. College is not conducive to relationships. You move in a circle of friends and most men want to play the field and there aren’t that many serious relationships around you. So you sort of quasi-date, but for many of my friends, our first serious relationship and the first man to truly impact us emotionally, came along in our early twenties. The first time you fall in love is monumental. It rocks your world and shakes you to the core and you become addicted to the feelings love and intimacy provide. So for the first time in our lives, we were in love and we kept those guys around because it’s hard to break-up with someone you still love. Why didn’t we realize nine months into the relationship that these slackers were lame and dump them right then and there?
Perhaps some of it was fear of being alone or a fear of not doing better. But the fact that I personally know hundreds of women who went through this phase, it seems to me it was more generational. Perhaps as we came out of college, also insecure about our own career plans or life decisions, we chose to be more conservative in our relationships. We all had big dreams and big plans and were making big daring decisions that our parents had not made. And so the one place we chose not to be daring was boyfriends. We were brave enough to move to New York or the Phillipines, brave enough to pursue filmmaking or investigative journalism, brave enough to take assistant jobs that paid nothing and didn’t give us health insurance, brave enough to travel the world or become a ski instructor for a year while we figured it out…but we weren’t brave enough to do it alone. At least not right away. None of my close friends are still dating the loser guys they dated in their early twenties. And it taught us all valuable lessons – I appreciate all the little ways my boyfriend is thoughtful now even more because I was in a relationship with someone who wasn’t nearly as thoughtful. Every time Mr. Dreamboat takes me to dinner now, it’s not just being taken to dinner that I appreciate; I appreciate that he remembered the day before to make reservations because for years I dated someone who didn’t even care enough to make reservations on my birthday. So can I really regret dating a loser in my early twenties? It’s hard to say I have any regrets when I’m so happy with where I am now. But then again, I wonder if someone had said to me a year in, wake up, you’re dating a loser and not all men are like this, if it might have saved me the headache of the next two years of my life in a relationship with a guy that was living off of his parent’s allowance.