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Monday, January 29, 2007

Getting real

“Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home.” ~David Frost

The time that I got a tattoo was because I couldn’t get my tongue pierced. I wanted my tongue pierced because someone on the Real World had their tongue pierced and since the Real World was the epitome of cool, then I had to have my tongue pierced as well. It all makes perfect sense and so why I receive looks of absolute bewilderment when retelling this story is beyond me. The same goes for the looks of absurdity and questions of how hard I far I fell when I was a mere babe, when I mention that I’ve been watching the same show for 15 years. For I am 23 so I have been watching seven people get real for almost my entire life. Which is really, really sad if you think about it and no, I do not have parents, the television and my booze drinking nannies did all the hard work.

(Hi Madre! Thanks for paying for those piano lessons!)

It was more that I snuck in my Bunim-Murray fix on random afternoons while hiding in the den. I still get my Bunim-Murray fix that way because seeing two drunken girls kiss in a hot tub causes my mother to break out in nasty open sores and convulse. Sometimes I make her watch on purpose because it’s some sort of medical mystery and when the doctors ask me about the rash that developed on her arms and the current catatonic state, I can say “It’s because Brooke and Jen were nude and kissing in front of Tyrie.” Most people just embrace the trainwrecky goodness dipped in ranch dressing, but my mother goes into a coma.

She hates MTV. She hates it with the white hot fire of a thousand suns on a July afternoon in Barstow. She also has taste and intelligence. Her daughter has intelligence but also enjoys watching people behave like imbeciles in public. Because then she can relish in the fact that for once it’s not her becoming so inebriated that she falls out of a shower. It’s someone else’s child. This addiction to MTV has outlasted years and years of schooling and I’ve been known to enjoy countless hours of Laguna Beach when down the street from the Atlantic because looking away would mean missing LC’s slippery slope to missing out on Paris. There may or may not be shouts of “you stupid whore” at the television.

I received an email the other day from Isabel who knows of my well documented dependency of MTV reality television and asked my thoughts on the new show “Engaged and Underage.” Though I’d heard of it, I had no intention of watching it because for now I’m busy worrying about Marcel vs. Ilan: Battle of Foam and Flambé to think about such drivel. Though I can be judgmental if there is one thing that I can see past and defer to someone else on how they truly feel is when it comes to their relationships. The show follows around couples 21 and under as they enter into marriage. Of course it seems crazy to me and of course I am incredulous to it all because I am not in such a relationship that marriage is in the foreseeable future. Nor do I plan on entering into such a relationship anytime soon. And my maturity level is very, very low and I refuse to share my bed with anyone and I’m 23. I am a 23 year old who only says ‘Til death do us part’ to her macbook.

Poor choices are made everyday at every age. So yes these are 21 year olds who are getting married and yes they might be making a huge mistake and their parents find them in dire need of a lobotomy for entering into the sanctity of marriage at such a young age because they could get a divorce. But then again 30 year olds make mistakes in their choosing of a partner as well as 40, 50 and 60 year olds. No one is immune to such a thing. And people of all ages are allowed to divorce. But for some reason watching 21 year olds enter into marriage and possibly fail, makes for some excellent entertainment. Do I agree with broadcasting it on television? Not necessarily. Do I watch eagerly awaiting for the first fight over dishtowels? Hell yeah. I’m human. I also am intelligent enough and have learned enough from those Reunion specials that sometimes things are skewed during production to make a perfectly lovely woman look like a raging hormonal bitch who gets her period 365 days a year. What might be perfectly innocuous argument looks like the beginnings of World War III over the difference between 'eggshell' and 'beige' for the living room wall. And damn it’s hard to look away.

*Quick example: My parents were 28 and 38 when they were married and got divorced when they were 32 and 42. The people I babysit for got married at like 12 and 14 and are still happily married seven or eight years later. See my point?


Anonymous jonniker said...

I met Adam when I was 23. I knew I was going to marry him right away, and sometimes I wonder if I just shouldn't have married him then, because who knows where we'd be now? I agree that it's tough to judge based on age alone, and everyone's circumstances are different.

I love me the MTV reality shows, God knows. But some of their programming - especially when it goes out of its way to humiliate and/or exploit the ugliest side of us - gets under my skin. And I'm not a person who gets things like MTV under her skin.

11:59 PM  
Blogger GirlGoyle said...

Sort of sad how we take pleasure in watching other people's lives fail myserably. Though I can't deny that it is quite entertaining.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Jennie said...

My parents got married right out of high school and have been married 27 years now. So you just never know, I guess.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous sandra said...

My god, I adore MTV. And will now need to start watching the engaged, underaged people (between episodes of The Hills, naturally).

10:16 AM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

My really shitty and round about point is that it's the individual relationship. Age doesn't matter and since relationships are usually between two people then only they know how they feel about each other and if it's right for them, etc.

If tomorrow I met the person that I know in my gut I'm supposed to be with for the rest of my life then hell yes, I'd get married. But since the odds of that are about the same as a cold day in Hell, then I doubt that would happen.

Like I said, or at least alluded to, age really doesn't matter, it's the individual relationship.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

I never read your tattoo story before. Our tattoos just about match... only my butterfly is purple and blue and on my lower back. I also got it there to hide from my parents and prospective employers, only to turn around and tell my mom a week later. (Her reply, "You know that's permanent, right?")

Only I waited until I was the ripe old -- and legal -- age of 18 and I actually went TO Albany to get it done. :-)

12:08 PM  
Blogger Postmodern Sass said...

And your cat, right? You have to say, 'til death do us part to your cat.

If you have one, that is.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Isabel said...

Thanks for the post. I was wondering what you thought about the show.


"I am a 23 year old who only says ‘Til death do us part’ to her macbook."


12:41 PM  
Blogger Isabel said...

P.S. I was 22 when I got married the first time and divorced by 24. We are both good people...we were JUST TOO DAMN YOUNG to be married.

(I just had to share that.)

12:42 PM  
Blogger Bone said...

12 and 14. lol You crack me up.

Thankfully, I despise reality TV. I don't think I could deal with the drama. I have, however, been known to sit and watch SoapNet's weekly reruns of a certain soap opera for 2 to 5 hours on Saturdays.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

Okay, I kind of feel really old, because the first season of The Real World aired when I was in college. Like, about to graduate. MTV is older than you are.

And to comment on your point: I got married at 22 and left him 12 years later. Now I am with a man who's 13 years older than I am; we are soulmates. :)

1:32 PM  
Anonymous bloggadocio said...

Heather - Sandra and I IM about the episodes. You should join. My current debate is whether LC has extensions?

2:37 PM  
Blogger metalia said...

Ah, I adore MTV reality shows. (Super Sweet 16 makes me want to
weep for the future, however.)

I first met J in college, reconnected a few years after, and got married fairly young. In any event, I completely agree with you; I don't think age *alone* is indicative of a marriage destined to fail. People are getting married later, and the divorce rate continues to remain steady, you know?

(What an uplifting little comment! I'm a bucket of sunshine today!)

2:40 PM  
Blogger e.b. said...

I am glad I am not the only late 20 something who hearts MTV. I can't get enough of it. No matter what crap ass programming they throw at us, we will watch it. In some ways the greater the train wreck the more we are willing to watch.

While we enjoy for the shock value - I wonder if it encourages these behaviors in the younger generations. Do they think they can act slutty because of Laguana, or spoiled because of Sweet 16? Or now get married?

5:22 PM  
Blogger VP of Dior said...

i dont think LC has extensions. although i didnt even know jessica simpson had them until she came out with her own extensions line, so i could be wrong about LC.

i am adamantly opposed to getting married while still in your teens. its ridiculous. those kids on that "Engaged" show look and act like babies.

8:35 PM  
Blogger honeykbee said...

I agree with you that age doesn't necessarily matter (unless you're talking teens cause that is just too ridiculous and doesn't apply) but most people do a good bit of changing in their 20's. You're extra special lucky if you can grow with someone, instead of apart. Not saying it's impossible, just might be a tough road. Bad decisions, of course, are not age specific. The older I get, the easier that is to see.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous kerrianne said...

My one and only tattoo is a result of my mother not allowing me to get my belly-button pierced, but going with me to get a tattoo instead, because, somehow that is all just more logical? Ring you can take out versus permanent inkage on my lower back, when I was SEVENTEEN. Yeah, it will never make any real sense to me either.

6:35 AM  

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