kiss me like you mean it. (no, please don’t.)

When I arrived, I wanted to kiss the ground. Yet, I refrained. Possible hepatitis by way of the ground, even the French kind, is still hepatitis.

Anyway. Other places I wanted to kiss, but didn’t, because my rabid love of Paris didn’t mean I was crazy:


I wanted to kiss the triangle things at The Louvre, but I didn’t, for purely security reasons. See that old monsieur photobombing me, by the way? To my right? Mm hmm.


I wanted to kiss The Mona Lisa, but had already been shoved by an old lady who wanted to take a photo (I believe that’s her violent head) and was a bit concerned at being punched in the throat if I dare touched the painting with my lips.


I wanted to kiss Versailles, but it’s Versailles. How much kissing would it take? Years? That place was gigantic. And lovely. And beautiful. And luxurious. And lovely. I said that. I’ll end this now.


I wanted to kiss those Swiss mountains and that Swiss sky, but…isn’t it all incredible? Just beautiful.

Day One - France













I wanted to kiss those verdant hills and endless mountains (more mountains!) in Pontarlier, but, alas, that bar I’m standing next to kept me from physically doing this. Thank goodness.

French Countryside 2



One more. Goodness. Lush. So deserving of basisers sans fin (endless kisses).














I wanted to kiss the Eiffel Tower, but a random backpack left by the site that resulted in no one getting to come closer because of security issues meant I had to see it from afar on a riverboat tour. Nevertheless, awesome view, right? And this riverboat tour was on The Seine! Doesn’t get better than that…












I wanted to kiss the amazing friends who drove me around, took me on endless tours, fed me, laughed with me, and generally loved me up during one of the best trips of my life.

And I did.


belt it up, belt it up, watch it…fall down?

beltsHi, my name is This Square Peg, and I love wearing belts. I will wear a belt whenever I can: with a dress, over a cardigan/blouse, over a sweater. Oh, and I never want to see that word again, by the way. Sweater. After this insane winter, I want to drown in spring and summer for 1,000 months. Anyway, I digress. While my mother, who is a fashion plate and has a very snazzy sense of style, detests belts with every fiber of her being–and therefore wants me to feel the same–I think belts are a great accessory, another way to fun up an ensemble.

But the belt I have on just fell.

Moments ago, as I stood up from my desk, that thing was minutes away from cradling my nonexistent hips. Quite a journey from slightly above my waist to my narrow hips, huh? Well, because it apparently loved said journey to the hips, I was constantly pulling it up to stay in place. Finally, I did what I had to do: took it off and stuffed it into my purse. This has been happening to me lately. My belts are becoming rebellious. A friend mentioned that because I’m losing weight (yay! And we’ll discuss that later), the belts are sliding down. In other words, I need tighter belts. Makes sense, I guess. With this ongoing weight loss, I haven’t purchased any new clothes or accessories because I intend to keep it going until I reach my ideal numbas. But I’ll have to change the belts, if only because the pulling up thing and constantly readjusting becomes a bit of a nuisance.

The rebellious belt, thrown in haste.
The rebellious belt, thrown in haste.

And because I love you and like sharing, I did some research on how to effectively wear a belt. Here’s one important tip I found and a link:

  • Body type is everything when searching for the right belt. If you’re busty, for example, a thin belt will make your bust look larger. So a thicker belt is the way to go. Short torso, lower than your natural wast; long torso, higher than your natural waist.
  • Refinery29 has a cool slide show for different outfits and the belts that go with them.

That’s it! Are you a belt lovah like me?

Keep Your Voice Down When Making Declarations of Love: Random Memory #1

Welcome to a new feature on This Square Peg, where I share the random memories that come to me during my morning commute to work! You’re welcome.

There’s always a catalyst to the memories. This particular morning, as I stepped off the train, I saw a young woman who reminded me of a girl that was in my Introduction to Shakespeare class in college. Immediately, I was

you ain't never lied, Wills.
you ain’t never lied, Wills.

transported back: back to those heady days when I was a happy English major and a Math class fugitive, and specifically, when I was head over heels in love with my Shakespeare professor. Regarding the luurrve, can you blame me? Prof E was a true lover of the Bard (as was I, and still am), handsome, funny, and wore glasses. I swooned from day one.

So the Prof would hold these readings once a week, where members of the class would voluntarily meet and read a play–whether Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe or anyone in between, it was a fun way to get to know each other and discuss literary thoughts and conventions outside of class. Needless to say, I signed up as soon as possible. The night of the reading I joined, we were dismissed for a short break. After a pal and I grabbed something to munch on, we were heading back to the reading room. This was when it all happened, when I suddenly got all up in my feels over my professor. I’ll never forget the following conversation.

Me: I think I love him.
Pal: Who?
Me: Professor E, of course. I’m in love with him.
Pal: Oh, Lord.
Me: He’s amazing. He’s so smart. And funny. And cool. And awesome.
Pal: Ok, [Government Name], chill out, though. Keep your voice down.
Me: I can’t! I want to shout it from the rooftops. I love him!
Pal: Seriously, stop talking right now. Don’t say another word. Don’t.
Me (suddenly freezing and turning toward her): He’s behind us, isn’t he?
Pal: Yeah.

Like clockwork, Prof E walked from around us. Of course, to add to the sweet misery of it all, he turned around, grinned at me, and said he’d see us in the room. What happened next:

Me: I’m going to kill myself.
Pal: You’re not going to kill yourself.
Me: Yes, I am. We’re on the 3rd floor, right? I’ll jump right here, from this balcony.
Pal: Get away from that balcony. Look, it’s no big deal. So he knows you love him. He’s probably flattered.
Me: I want to die.
Pal: Later. We need to get back.

(Can I tell you how cool my old friend was back then? She was the senior to my junior, listened to most of my melodrama with the same dry, unruffled, and hilarious reaction, and let me escape the craziness of college days in her dorm room. The best.)

Anyway, as you can imagine, going back to that room took all the strength I could muster. But Prof E never made it awkward. After that day, we continued to have our interesting discussions, in and out of class, as if nothing had happened, as if I hadn’t declared my love for him on the third floor of the Johnson Center. Sigh. I’ll never forget your rimless glasses, Prof E.

This was brought to you by a random memory.

undies. (not much else to say here)

TMI alert. You’ve been warned.

I’m comfortable in bloomers. Granny undies, big old pantaloons, you get my drift. I understand how troubling this may sound, largely because I’m nowhere near the age where a package of gigantic Hanes underwear should be so appealing. But they are the enormous sirens to my wide-eyed Ulysses, and I always heed the call. I’ll leave you to your psychoanalysis about my devotion, but I did tell you that I was a Square Peg, right?

Captures my mother’s shocked reaction perfectly. Except she’s not a cat. She’s cute, though.

Of course, this post has everything to do with my mother. Because I live with her and I inhabit the bedroom I had when I was 12, she has no qualms about sometimes opening my bedroom door all willy nilly. After all, there was no such thing as “privacy” when I was 12, so why abide by such a thing now? (Needless to say, working on flying the coop once again; love the lady who birthed me more than life itself, but there is major arrested development action going on at home, despite the hilarity that typically ensues.) As a result, when she opened the door one morning as I was getting ready for work–in other words, barely clothed–I wasn’t too surprised. What occurred next: she remarked that I needed to buy new undies. Specifically, she gasped in horror at my grannies, nearly collapsed, and remarked that there was no excuse in the world for what I was wearing. As usual, I laughed it off and commented that I cared more about pretty blouses than the grannies I chose to wear. She tsked tsked, shook her head, and quickly retreated back to her bedroom, whispering all kinds of things about her crazy daughter under her breath.

She’s right though, ya’ll. She’s right. I’ve been lectured by Mom about “being a lady” my whole life, but I didn’t feel like this applied to my fat undies. Well, I had my epiphany yesterday when I was doing my laundry. Those things are the size of Versailles. But without the luxury and gold rooms. They’re big, boring, and shapeless. So, as much as I enjoy marching to the beat of my own square pegs, I reluctantly admit that coming into my own with my personal style should also apply to my pantaloons. Largely because they will fall down on me one day. (If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m definitely buying sizes bigger than what I should be wearing.) Anyway, time to go shopping. Woo hoo?

TMI over. You can breathe now.

Gratitude Friday: A Thank You.

On this much belated Gratitude Friday, I was inspired by the words of actress Gabourey Sidibe during the Gloria Awards (honoring Gloria Steinem), as tweeted by the awesome Awesomely Luvvie:

“I’m grateful to…my 5th grade class because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now.”

I was moved by that profound and powerful statement for various reasons. Mostly, however, what stood out for me was that she was able to look back at that moment in her adolescence and communicate both the pain of the past and the fact that it hadn’t wrecked her. And this made her grateful. But I wasn’t just moved by her words. Those words also incited a memory for me. An indelible, powerful memory of what my 6th, not 5th, grade class gave me one afternoon.

We were in the chorus room, sitting cross-legged on that nubby brown carpet as we waited for our chorus teacher to come back. The next thing I knew, I heard the following chant: “Fish lips, fish lips, look at those fish lips.” I looked up, wondering who the voice belonged to and what in the world they were talking about. There, laughing, was the boy who had bullied me since I joined this new school. And he was pointing at me. The other kids soon followed suit, repeating the sing-songy chant and pointing and laughing. Those who weren’t part of it simply looked away uncomfortably. I remember feeling confusion (I look like a fish?), pain, embarrassment, even laughing a little to lessen the blow. That didn’t work though–the chanting and laughter continued until our teacher returned to the classroom.

It’s amazing, the blueprints that are created in seconds, in tiny moments. That moment in time created quite a few. For one thing, an interesting habit reared its head as I got older: covering my mouth when I laughed. Later, it became disdain when I looked at myself, my lips, in the mirror. Later still, it transformed into wondering if people were looking at them when I spoke. It wasn’t until I reached 30 (we will discuss the wonder of 30 in another post) that I looked in the mirror one day and was fully, exhale-y, and absolutely satisfied with these lips, this face, and everything in between.







So, like Gabby, I’m grateful to my 6th grade class because:

  • I wouldn’t appreciate these lips that look like my grandmother’s and my father’s if you hadn’t put them on blast.
  • I wouldn’t decorate them in the rubiest of Ruby Woo lipstick by MAC if I hadn’t come to appreciate the fullness of the shape you felt the need to highlight.
  • I wouldn’t be as grateful for this soul-searching journey that I was forced to go on if you hadn’t forced me to take that ride in the first place on that painful afternoon.
  • I don’t blame my old bully or those other kids for what happened anymore. I don’t blame the ones who looked away in discomfort. From what I could tell through those words and other statements she made, Gabourey Sidibe has reached the peak of her self-acceptance journey. And she’s not the only one.

Fake Limps and 5Ks.

So, quite randomly this morning, I made a mental note to do a search for 5Ks in the area and sign up for one as soon as possible. Moments later, I found myself marveling a bit. We’ve come a looong way, baby. Follow me, won’t you?5K

  1. This is the girl who chose to take zeroes for the day rather than dress up for gym class in high school.
  2. This is the girl who forged her mother’s signature (I wish I was kidding) to excuse her from gym class in high school.
  3. This is the girl who faked a limp in order to get out of participating in the mile run for gym class in high school. (And my gym teacher let me hold the stopwatch, too.)


This 5K will be my fourth one. I marvel. I really do. Obviously, back in the day, not being one of the fast or the coordinated meant I had no desire to do anything related to phys. ed. Add to the humilation of dressing out in the proximity of a personal bully who loved to highlight the many imperfections of my adolescent physique and there was no way I was going to voluntarily ever enjoy something like exercise. (The treadmill in my parents’ home was used to hang clothes. You get my drift.)

But we grow. Bullies go away, school ends, and doctors give you the side eye when they look at those adult lbs on your medical chart. As such, I began voluntarily exercising when I moved into my first apartment many moons ago, which had a gym on the bottom floor. The treadmill was my equipment of choice, and it still is. Nothing like walking and listening to music and sweating. Post high school horrors, I’ve always enjoyed walking, whether leisurely or for a 5K. The best part is that I move to the beat of my own drum, at my speed, and at my level.

No fake limps necessary.

walking3 walking2 walking1

The Thing about George Clooney.

Clooney and his boo, Amal. Photo courtesy of People magazine.
Clooney and his boo, Amal. Photo courtesy of People magazine.

You don’t want to hear about the other thing about George Clooney, which is my undying admirating for this generation’s Clark Gable and his suits and that salt-and-pepper hair. And I won’t do that to you. However, it’s the present thing about him that has captured my attention. Rumors abounded this weekend that Clooney had become engaged to his latest girlfriend, Amal Alamuddin. It’s news because Clooney was the perpetual bachelor; the Lake Como villa owning playboy who asserted over and over in various interviews that he had no interest in remarrying (he was briefly married in the late 80s). That playboy image was repeatedly emphasized by Clooney’s revolving door of interesting girlfriends: models, more models, cocktail waitresses. (If you care, the Huffington Post has a pictorial of all the girls he’s loved before.) So this news about the engagement has gotten most medial outlets into a right tizzy, and I get that. What I find interesting and ultimately stinkin’ awesome, though, is that Amal is nothing like the girls he’s dated in the past. She’s a lawyer, an Oxford grad, an activist, older than the ladies he’s used to…It’s a win for smart, older ladies everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, please. I’m sure the ladies of the past that graced the halls of that droolworthy villa were smart, intelligent women. But Amal is rocking my world, ya’ll. She’s a brainiac and she’s in her mid-30s. And that makes me happy. I’ll elaborate.

This past weekend, some friends and I had a long, enlightening, and hilarious conversation about the sassy single life that most of us live. In between raucous laughter and quiet moments, some of us wondered why it seemed that the younger set (like, really young, at times) are entering into matrimony like gangbusters when the majority of us in my age group and older who have a desire for marriage are not. There weren’t many answers to that Big Question. Who really knows? And that was essentially how we concluded our discussion.

But the fact that Clooney, who I don’t know and will never meet (I mean, unless I happen to find him in Italy, completely by accident and not as a result of an exhaustive search or anything), in choosing to officially make it 4eva with this apparently cool lady, speaks volumes to me.  Our lives are diametrically opposed–we in Normalville, USA, do not live the lives of celebrities and Oxford attorneys. And I certainly don’t believe that Clooney will somehow set a precedent for all men. I just think it’s stinkin’ awesome, and puts an interesting spin on the conversation I had with my friends this past weekend.

Now…can you find villas on Google maps?