The Bridal Bizarre: Second Glance

16 02 2014

Screen shot 2014-02-15 at 6.48.27 PMNothing I’ve said about the modern marriage is a lie. Propaganda  has shaped our popular perception of this broken tradition—structurally maintained by religion, the status quo and a desire to foster safe environments for children. Romance is manufactured and consumed by our society at a startling rate—a sad truth among a love-starved populace more accustomed to debt than self-worth. But through all these factoids, the critical puns and witty historical observation, there is something lost in translation—something left that is unexplained. For me, the moment happened last Friday, when my research was met with humanity, my judgment with joy and my confusion eased by close company.

Weather or not I believe in marriage, weather or not marriage is passé, broken, ridiculous or suicidal—whatever marriage fails to accomplish with expectations and promises of forever, it still somehow manages to bring people together (for better or worse) and produce a uniquely human experiences—an experience that makes people remember (if only momentarily) that they’re alive, that we are human.

I watched two small children walk down the aisle in hand with an adult who kept them on course. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know these small children. I looked upon their faces and saw my own youth, saw the misunderstanding, the confusion and endless possibility that lay before them—extending out so much further than the petal covered grass. Then, the mother and father of the groom (still married) hand-in-hand and I saw the past—a past far less complicated than what we have grown to inherit. I smiled thinking that even if they were the only couple in the world not separated by circumstance, that would be good enough. The bride entered from the eastern lawn and the alternative music playing was a symbol of this couple’s sense of self.

I don’t understand what makes some marriages last and others end—whether marriage is about forever, religious commitment or a strange way of collecting property. But marriage is something that I can’t imagine our world without—we need reminders of how delicate and precious we are in-between moments where promises are often broken.

The officiate asked everyone in the crowd to express a prayer, to exchange energy—a thought for this couple’s future through a brief moment of silence. Heads lowered as I stared upon the sweet couple and it was a total mind f***. I swear I could feel the effort of every person within 100 feet of me push their hope, their dreams, their love upon the bride and groom. I felt the whole energy of the beach shift as if they were the last two people on the planet—the earth projecting all of its resources so that they might have the strength to carry on the human race.

I was tripped-out. There was so much love on the beach as the sun was setting—I thought this must be why people go to church. Collectively.

Maybe it’s not marriage that’s broken. The ideas seem fair. They seem like they’re the basis for good intentions. Maybe it’s easier to not believe in marriage because then there’s no responsibility to succeed, no judgment of failure. It’s easier to point a finger in a spouse’s face than look in a mirror. I’d rather be reminded of being human.

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Whitney’s Electronic Christmas Party

19 12 2013

And a happy new year.

electronic christmas copy

‘Don’t Be Afraid’ by Redshirt Theory.





For the Birds

24 10 2013

inspiration Apparently I’m an ageist. I love old people but I don’t every want to be one. When mother suggested a hypnotherapist I became more self-aware of my prejudice.

I tend to get very anxious this time of year. The holiday season is uncomfortable. New Year’s a reminder that I should be bettering myself, and my Scorpio birthday—an even louder reminder that I am getting older.

At age 26, I began microdermabrasion treatments and applying anti-ageing creams to my face in an attempt prevent pre-mature signs of my birthday. I looked closely in the mirror for wrinkles, wondering how it’s possible to occasionally still get a zit in my mid-twenties. Isn’t acne for teenagers?

Maybe zits are just a condition of the mind’s perception. Maybe I still get them from time-to-time because from time-to-time I act like a teenager.

This weekend I went to a party dressed like a retired and fabulous Florida snowbird. My friends are moving to Florida for work and the going-away party was themed for the occasion. I wore geriatric sunglasses in the dark of night to prove how committed to the character I was. About halfway through the dinner I realized that my golf club accessory had been confused for a cane.

Ashley approached me laughing. “Whitney, my little brothers just asked me who the blind girl was!”

Eureka.

At first I was mad that my costume had portrayed the wrong character. I wanted to be a rich, retired, Floridian adorned in excessive pearls—not a crazy blind girl in too much makeup. But I’m a serious lemon-squeezer and thought it better to make lemonade than cry over spilled milk. Lord knows my Florida character needed the calcium.

And so, at almost 27-years-young, I went bar-hoping—pretended to be blind, scored free drinks from gullible, sympathetic strangers and cut in line for the bathroom. I know what you’re thinking: and no I don’t think it’s offensive. It’s my aggressive exhibitionist proclivity that gets hazardous drunk on social discomfort that’s offensive. At about midnight, the bouncer at the nightclub took my golf club.

florida

“Whitney,” said Vinnie, “you’re  going to hell. Like, literally, you just jumped on the fast track straight to hell.”

“That’s ridiculous V-Dog,” I slurred between sips. “That place is  make-believe.”

 

So, I’m aging.

But I’ve still got it—zits and all.

 





Year-Old Coffee

5 09 2013

Every morning I make two pots of coffee. The first one, I brew at 7:00am. It’s what motivates me out of my bed and into an addictive routine Monday through Friday. The second pot I brew in the office at 9:00am. It’s a shared pot for people I have grown to understand and respect, despite moments of paralyzing frustration.

One year ago, today, I started this job. In the beginning I did not make coffee. A year ago I was too scared I would make it wrong, use someone’s special roasted beans and start some kind of vendetta against me. And now? I don’t ask anyone if I can brew and I use whatever creamer I want.

It seems out of respect for time—and my ironic sense of humor—that at least noting the occasion in this ubiquitous cyber space is both emotional stabling and spiritually necessary. Because if there’s anything to be said about dreams or goals, prophecy or destiny it’s this: Whatever you think is going to happen will happen. And not ever the way you think it will, but nevertheless. One day you will wake up and be exactly where you thought you would be—if only you try. Or in my case, write it down.

Many people have asked me how I got the position I have at a magazine. I’ve stumbled over the answer a hundred times because some insane part of brain believes that the conversation should sound like this:

“How did you get your job, Whitney?” asks anonymous friend.

“Well, I graduated from Berkley with a degree in journalism and I was writer for the newspaper briefly while I saved children from burning buildings. Then, I applied to be the editor of the magazine and after no trouble at all I was hired,” I reply.

But the truth is, I was in the right place at the right time. And the truth in that truth is I lied on my resume. I said I had experience I didn’t have, inflated my reputation and glorified every bit of minute, inconsequential b***s*** I did between age 7 and 25. A year ago, I wrote about my first day at work:

This could very well be one of those stories where a downtrodden girl finally gets a break to do something really cool: fashion shoots with real models and coordinating an entire look from start to finish. Who am I to pick hair and makeup looks for models in a fashion magazine? Our character struggles to keep her phony identity a secret while she gets help from a friendly office-mate who shares her love of American muscle cars; keeping her secret safe as she rises to the top only to tell her boss three years later: “Yeah, I had no idea what I was doing when you hired me.” But by then she is too fabulous to get fired and she lives happily ever after.

Or, in a separate but entirely possible parallel universe, she gets fired and finds a new job.

The point I want to make here is that I was scared—I was terrified that I didn’t know anything about my new job or how to do it very well. I was hired to be a graphic designer and am now the editor of the entire magazine. When I had less to give in Photoshop I didn’t curl up in a ball and cry about it. I found other ways to add value to what I was doing, made sure that if I didn’t know how to do something I asked despite the pain each time my pride was stabbed, again and again, until pride was irrelevant because I had a job to do and that was more important. I stayed late, worked hard and above all, I made coffee.

I’ve watched the company grow this year, watched my team get bigger and our voices get louder in the 8th largest city in the United States. Working in media is an incredibly competitive and relentless task and I’m damn proud to be here standing.

And tomorrow when I go to work, I’m going to make the people in my office coffee because it reminds me from time to time that every story has a beginning, though every beginning isn’t as glamorous as we would like.

A few weeks ago, my boss walked into my office.

“Man, you’re really not a very good graphic designer are you?” he asked.

“I was wondering when you were going to catch on.”

 

 

 

 

 

 





Life’s a B**** in Vegas

25 08 2013

Las-Vegas636_0Las Vegas. An oasis in the middle of nowhere—could be anywhere, depending on how much tequila is in those yard-long margaritas. Visit far away places: Paris, New York, Italy or reproductions of the like, and experience the world through a city made of stardust—one that sparkles at night from the glitter of one thousand strippers—the reflective quality of vomit, as one frat boy from Kentucky learns how to drink like an a**h*** for the very first time.

Strangers from all over the world come to get strange for a million different reasons that all too often begin with a bad idea: The bachelor party; The 21st birthday; EDC and ecstasy. Shall I continue? The girls’ trip is an altogether different kind of animal. One that should be feared or taken more seriously when one drunken girlfriend chimes up at the neighborhood bar:

girls trip“Hey! You know what? Like, we should all go to Vegas! Girls’ trip!”

Collectively, women are far more dangerous in a group than men are. Women are smarter, better looking and way more creative when it comes to rejection.

The expectations of a girls’ trip to Vegas are pretty simple: get as much from as many people as you possibly can.

For women, the thrill is all in the details—the details of looking hot. It’s looking as good as you can so that you can get as much as possible for free. Free drinks, free club cover, free food, free, free, free, free. Las Vegas validates one of the many quasi truths in our society: that young pretty women are important for being young and pretty—and in Las Vegas, women cash-in big on this nightmare to an excess that would make any reasonable man questions his gender and the superstition that men are in-fact superior intellectual beings. Case-in-point:

The nomadic girls’ battle battalion consists of several strategic players—girls that individually are less valuable but collectively are the sum of an impenetrable circular force on the dance floor. Only as good as the weakest link, the girls’ group strives for balance in circumstance that is inevitably imbalanced—as men and women fight for control in a seemingly out of control city.

The Body.the body2 Every girl group needs a super hot, grade A piece of a** to bring men down from their hotel balconies and into the pool. The hot girl has one of the hardest jobs—she’s usually the reason men show up, but she’s also the reason they leave. Body babes are cold and usually not very interesting by virtue of their hotness.  But they’re meat on a hook that maintains a successfully lethal girls’ group in Vegas.

the brain 2The Brain. Who hasn’t had a run in with the police or security in Las Vegas? The brain is easily marked by her sobriety. While everyone is taking shots, she is having a relatively good time sober—watching out for the herd, making sure no one takes off their clothes. She can talk the group out of bad decisions; talk them into worse ones if it so pleases her. But don’t let her sweetness be distracting—this girl will bite. The brain is also the girl that gets into fistfights at the bar over feminist theory. Don’t ever try to explain to her why women can’t fight on the front lines in Afghanistan.

the boss finalThe Boss. The leader—the girl with more experience than the rest. She is spontaneous, the life of the party and usually the first person to disappear with a guy—and then reappear with someone else. The boss usually does most of the strategic talking after the body has pulled a bait and switch. She’s witty and uses innuendo to entice weak men into dilemma. She enjoys watching men cry and believes she is doing the world a service by taking advantage of their checkbooks. She is confident and interesting but deeply disturbed by her inability to trust people.

the brain

The Boyfriend. This girl somehow always manages to find herself in Vegas when she is in a deeply committed relationship subjecting her morality and commitment to tests with serious consequence. This gal usually will try to reason with the others over why going to a strip club is a bad idea when it’s clearly an amazing idea. Everyone makes fun of her for being so lame though in reality the rest of the girls are secretly jealous of how happy she is. “Why did we bring her?” No one will ever really know, but the girls’ trip wouldn’t be complete without someone in the bathroom FaceTiming their boyfriend at 3:30 in the morning.

THE HOUSE BUNNY

The B****. No need to explain this one. If a gal isn’t a body, a brain, a boss or a boyfriend, chances are, she’s a b****, which means she is doing whatever the brain or the boss says the group is doing. She’s there to make-out with random strangers so that other random strangers think they stand a chance and get in line to buy shots. She adds girth to an otherwise slim girls’ group, and for men it’s all about numbers, so the more drunk girls the better. Don’t be ashamed ladies—b***** really do make the world go round.

So the next time you go on a girls’ trip to Las Vegas, make sure you’ve got all your bases covered. Push your tits up, spray on some sweet perfume and have a blast making fun of how stupid being young and stupid actually is. But don’t take my word for it—take a look and see for yourself!

Rainbow





Women’s Work

9 01 2013

We grew up

with paper cups,

promises leaking out the sides from too much sun.

Then mom cried

when we got the carpet wet

becuase a woman’s work is never done.

Daughters cry back,

said we were sorry

as daddies scoop us up,

kiss our soft forehead and say:

It’s okay little girl.

I love you.

You’re perfect.

A girls’ peace of mind leaves the day her fist learns to fit down her throat

to purge away the parts that make her a woman.

It becomes a woman’s work

to find her reflection in broken mirror depictions of what a woman should be,

what they see

while we,

struggle.

It’s women’s work

to defend our choices turned black and blue,

saving our lives at the price of a person

by choice.

It’s work!

Pretending everything’s okay when he asks

because it’s uncomfortable to cry in the arms

of a man that is not

a father.

Our grown bodies

tied to a tide of frustration

that waves red twelve times in a year that we count in seconds,

waiting for the moment that someone might not be afraid of this cycle…

might think…

it’s beautiful.

Might not think it’s strange that a woman can bleed for five days and live to become

a mother.

No longer a slave

to her ambition

because a mother’s work is never done,

and a woman’s just a girl

that believed she had the power to make a choice.

She

will be praised for her sacrifices and shunned for her success until she is broken.

She

will destroy her self-esteem and pick it up with strong arms that project from his body.

She

will replace the woman with more girls inside her belly.

That’s a woman’s work:

To deny the struggle of sisters and daughters, mothers and women.

To chain the choice and be anything other than

woman.

To teach young girls to believe in their dreams

then clip those white wings with sharp scissors.

She

is now part of this world.

So we pray

and we pray

that she

will some day

be better

than women’s work.





Birthday Fantasy

31 10 2012

whitney-butler-funny-blogI can’t believe this.

I’m in a public gym on a Stairmaster having an erotic fantasy.  What is going on with me? It’s a few days before my birthday, I’m about to turn 26 and I’m projecting a steamy shower scene from an endless staircase.

Perfect.

Am I the only 25-year-old kind-of freaking out about being 26?

Trust me, this isn’t melancholy over passing the proverbial threshold of the early 20’s. It’s not about how making out with a stranger in-da’-club no longer satisfies my abnormally chauvinistic sexual prowess. Nor is this about the youthful excuses that are slowly becoming socially non-applicable:

“Yeah… sorry about the house. I was really drunk. Tell you’re parents I said my-bad.”

“Sorry Jason, I’ve just never done this before. I don’t think I’m ready.”

Nope, that’s certainly not going to work anymore.

This isn’t even about the fact that shopping at Forever 21 now makes me feel more self-aware of my eminent super-morbid obesity.

Actually, I have no idea what this is about, because right now, I’m having an erotic fantasy at the gym about someone a barely know. What was I talking about?

At 26, I guess I was expecting more. I was expecting to be further along and not having to shovel dirt into an empty hole of promise made to an entire generation of 20-somethings, all trying to figure it out during some particularly serious national bullshit.

It’s a big scary world out there people and I don’t mean to sound dark, but the bottom line is this: being 26… kind-of sucks, and not because of the aforementioned inequalities between myself and those still on the underbelly of adulthood, clinging to their aspirations like baby monkeys.

Twenty-six sucks because those aspirations are entirely possible and I’m the only thing standing in the way of realizing them. But resources have become increasingly more limited across every plane of personal growth and prosperity this beautiful country has to offer.

“But Whitney, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”

Shut-up Grandma!

When you were 26 you had a husband, kids, a house and social security. Your man enjoyed real wage increases and the Federal Reserve wasn’t ruining everyone’s life savings. I work 60-hours a week on a 10-99 contract for God’s sake. Where’s my benefit? Oh that’s right, I can have an abortion.

So excuse me for my lack of celebration. I’m too busy being an emotionally introspective writer-type who occasionally has amazing fantasies at the gym.

However, I promised myself to be progressive about this birthday; to stand bold and take command these feelings that may just be disillusioned anxieties creeping up my backside like icky black spiders. The spiders are just hyperbole, but the feelings are real – however disenchanted they may be.

But instead of letting those feelings thwart my birthday promise, I’ll be busy looking at the bright side of gaining invaluable life experience, priceless seconds of unadulterated joy and the company of people I am truly honored to share this journey with. I’m very excited about getting older. I’m not too impressed with 26, but equally as excited about 30, as I appear to be in this fantasy. So I’ll just shut-up and keep climbing.

Find out what I was doing last year when I turned 25!

An angry love letter! 

Why is this dog so racist? 








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