Advil won’t touch your headache and no matter how many times you brush your teeth, you can’t mistake the smell of agave. You swear it off for good and you really mean it this time. For months, even the smell of limes makes you gag. But then, out with your girlfriends one night, someone yells, ‘Tequila shooters!’ and you’ve fallen off the wagon once more. Your steely resolution has dissolved and, naturally, one shooter follows the other, until, what’s that old saying? One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor. The vicious cycle repeats.
2. Glitter Nail Polish
(Most of) you men out there won’t understand this one. And, for your sakes, I’m elated. I once heard that glitter is the herpes of the art world, and no truer words were ever spoken, especially in regards to nail polish. You’re feeling festive and you think, ‘why not?’ Glitter nails? Harkens back to youth, makes you smile as you swipe out a text. In fact, even cheap glitter polish resists chipping (which may be why we buy it in the first place). But when the inevitable chip presents itself and it’s time to remove it, that glitter polish is stuck on like Krazy Glue.
You find yourself on the bathroom floor, 2/3 of the way through a bottle of acetone polish remover, wisps of cotton swab stuck to the chunks of glitter that just won’t let go, swearing to the powers that be that if they just help you get it off your right hand, you’ll consider offering up your first-born. Then, inexplicably, as in the experience of childbirth, the unpleasant memory of your struggle is forgotten. Before you know it, ‘funfetti’ is all the rage again and Sally Hansen has another of your $3.
3. Holidays Back Home
Grandma’s ninety years are catching up to her, not that age has anything to do with it. She’s always told you that your eye-makeup makes you look like a street-walker and that, if you’re not careful, Hell will be a short trip. Though alcohol is expressly prohibited, you strongly suspect that you’re not the only one with a buzz. Sibling rivalry is alive and well, three generations deep, and despite the fact that you’re clearly at the top of the pile, you find yourself on dish duty for your 28th year. The turkey is dry as a bone, crazy Aunt Leta is screaming about the Nixon administration, and just as you’re about to check out (permanently), your mother hugs you and tells you how much it means to see your face on [insert holiday]. Then you know. Thanksgiving 2032 is already booked.
4. Waiting Tables
Faking a smile and pretending to be besties with table 14 is your expertise. And, though it’s gnawing at your soul (and sobriety), it’s also paying your rent. Sure, you’re more educated than half the schlubs you cater to, but they make no bones about snapping their fingers to get your attention.
And it isn’t just the self-important customer. It’s the late hours, the smell of food on your clothes and hair, the berating you receive from the kitchen staff, tipping out the food-runners and bartenders who really didn’t earn their share of your money (if we’re being honest), and, of course, the “side work.” After running your nightly marathon and kissing so much ass your face hurts, you’ve still got to stock the mustard and take out the trash.
Just when a string of lunch shifts and a butt-grab from a drunken old man have you scribbling your two-week notice on a cocktail napkin, you hit the jack-pot on Friday night. Raking in enough for a car payment on a Jag, you wad up that napkin and hold out another week.
5. “Call Me Maybe”
You hum it. You text it. It comes out in conversation, rolling off the tongue with ease. “Call me, maybe!” your mom says as you’re driving away. Without meaning to, you’ve allowed one of the bubbliest songs of the 21st century to become part of your vernacular. “How could this happen?” you beg of the universe. “I don’t even listen to radio!” But the damage has been done. You’ve contracted an ear-worm you’d be hard pressed to extract.
Then, one of your hipster friends of the slam-grass movement finds out your dirty little secret. The shame you feel has you reluctantly deleting “Call Me Maybe” from your iTunes library, making pathetic attempts at a cover-up like, ‘Call me never again! Ha- ha!”
But, as with all addictions, you’ll be back. It may happen in the shower, in the car, or on the dance floor, but that adorable Carly Rae Jepsen and her siren’s song will never truly let you go. She’ll be calling sooner, rather than later.
6. American Airlines
You’ve been sitting on the tarmac, squished into your little 8” of personal Hell, for 45 minutes. The plane is progressively growing warmer (ironic?) as the pilot periodically comes on and tells you, “Folks, we’ll be off the ground in just a few minutes. The crew is still tinkering with one of the engines.” Excuse me, what?
Drinks haven’t yet been served and you anticipate at least another 45 minute wait for that bathroom cup-sized gin and tonic. Just as your firing off a tweet about how you’ll #NeverFlyAmerican again, the flight attendant/ prison guard snaps that the “’fasten seat belt light’ is on and that means no portable electronic devices!” You quietly slip a valium under your tongue and think happy thoughts of the destination to which you are flying, knowing next time you’ll be smart enough to fly Lufthansa.
Several months go by and it’s time for your annual autumn hiatus. As you fantasize about the pristine beaches of your Pacific island getaway, your recent vow to boycott American Airlines conveniently slips your mind. “Honey, look” you exclaim, “On American, it’s less than $500 round- trip! Think of the money we’ll save!” Money? Yes, you saved a bundle. But a little piece of your soul was just chipped away.
7. Fast Food
In college, your high metabolism had a high metabolism. It ran circles around itself — an impressive feat, really. You stayed up all night studying (or drinking beer upside down from a keg) and, being that you were broke and didn’t have a kitchen anyway, you walked down to the student union and munched on fast food for your every meal.
You swear you never saw a single one of those calories coming. It was as if you woke up one day, nearing thirty, and your body had traded itself in for a slower, chunkier version 2.0. It didn’t even consult you on the matter! But you’re not stupid; you’ve seen ‘Food, Inc.’. The fast food had to go (especially if you planned to keep the beer). Organic produce and vegetarian cookbooks make their way into your life and new attitudes toward health and fitness are adopted.
And then one of those damned tequila nights sneaks up on you. Your good intentions and inhibitions fly right out the window of your (designated driver’s) car as you yell, “Taco Bell!” from the passenger seat. You inhale a Nachos Bell-Grande (fraught with grade D beef) and gleefully wash it down with a Baja Blast Mountain Dew. It feels so right in the moment, so delicious. But morning light casts an ugly shade of shame on your jiggly thighs as they climb back up on the wagon.