Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In Which I Reveal Myself to be a Crazy Person

This is for Pamala.

If you don't watch How I Met Your Mother, first of all, you need to be watching it. Second, this will not make much sense to you. You have been warned.

On the subject of Barney and Robin, or The BroTP:

I did not start watching HIMYM until Heather from Go Fug Yourself wrote an amazing analysis of Robin and Ted's breakup on her personal blog, and how she related to it on an emotional level. It made me think that it was worth checking out a half-hour sitcom that could inspire someone whose writing I secretly hold as a gold standard to delve so deeply into her own psyche. At first I just watched random episodes that I channel-surfed across. Then I watched a few episodes online. Then I was watching it every Monday night. Then I Netflixed all of the past seasons that were available and watched them all in a row. Pamala and I started having more and more frequent discussions about the show and the relationships between the characters. These discussions became almost entirely about the dynamic between Barney and Robin. They were sometimes even fan fiction.

Somehow these two fictional characters became an integral part of my life. It could be that these two characters are so well written and so well acted that they seem completely real. It could be (and most likely is) due to my own relationship being at a complete standstill. Whatever the reason, I now find myself completely emotionally invested in Barney and Robin.

When they first kissed, I was thrilled. Then when we found out that they had sex and were going to pretend they didn't (not that it lasted long), I was actually disappointed. I felt like all the build up that the show had been giving us should have led to something more that just a hook-up session. But now I've learned not to underestimate these writers. The direction that they are taking this has me completely on board and convinced that Barney and Robin should be together somehow. It's been there all along. They just didn't see it. Well, ok they did a little (Zip, Zip, Zip), but not at this level. Not when there are real feelings and emotions involved.

There are certainly arguments against these two people getting into a relationship. Barney is not the type of guy who could settle down with just one woman. Robin is not the type of girl to settle down with anyone at all. But there are deeper reason why these two are perfect for each other. They would certainly not be a perfect couple, and the show would suffer if they were. It would be completely against their natures, and Lily and Marshall already have that perfect couple thing going on.

One point is that, although Barney pointed out the reasons that he and Robin would be great together when he mistakenly thought Robin's invitation to play Battleship was a euphemism for sex, those reasons don't apply anymore since both people have gone through significant changes. While this may be true, there are reasons they they should be together that are more meaningful. I think that the reasons they are really good for each other are not necessarily the reasons that Barney stated why they should sleep together. They both secretly want someone they can depend on, but they're scared of getting hurt. Robin is more cavalier about her life, so she has opened herself to the possibility of getting hurt from relationships, but not to the point of being "dependent" on someone via marriage. Barney was utterly crushed after Shannon dumped him, as we can see in that video where he looks like a hippie and is singing and crying about Shannon. Her rejection crushed him and he has been protecting himself from that pain ever since by using a persona that is not really him. His emerging feelings for Robin are evidence of cracks in that hardened shell. She is bringing out the real him; the vulnerable, human Barney.

Conversely, I think that with Robin becoming more independent and stable again with her new job (that Barney got her...), she will be more open to a relationship since it will not mean depending on another person. That seems to be when she does her best with emotional situations. When she is depressed, she ends up hooking up with the Naked Guy. And let us not forget Robin Sparkles. All you have to do is think about the video for “Sandcastles in the Sand” and her behavior with Simon later in her adult life. There is clearly a side of Robin that is just as vulnerable and fearful of rejection as Barney. They have both developed personas to help them ward off potentially hurtful situations, and that is what I think will ultimately bring them together. It seems to be almost like they recognize themselves in each other.

Unlike the rest of the group, Robin seems to really understand that there is more to Barney than what meets the eye. She seems to accept all of the different aspects of Barney without question. Lily is certainly aware of Barney's more human side, but it came as a shock to her. Marshall and Ted still see Barney as a character, even though he has done incredibly substantial things for both of them.

We certainly know how Barney feels about Robin. Throughout the show, he has been much more aware of what is going on around him and what other people want than the other characters (especially Ted). He is almost preternaturally aware of Robin, even from as far back as season one. He immediately picked up on Robin having feelings for Ted, even while Robin herself was still in denial about it. Throughout the show he has mentioned things about her that the others did not seem aware of. Like the fact that she has an occasional cigarette when she's relaxing in the tub. Whether or not he is inherently that perceptive, it is definitely something that he would have honed to a fine edge while developing his skills at picking up women. He sees what they want, what will make them happy, and he becomes it. He gives others pleasure, but he doesn't ever partake for himself beyond a superficial level. I think the thing that is freaking him out with regard to Robin is that she has the potential to make him happy, and he hasn't experienced that since he was with Shannon.

That brings us to the question of whether or not Barney could make Robin happy. Clearly the Barney that sleeps with a different random woman almost every night through various ruses and games would not be tolerated. But what about the new Barney, the bundle of raw emotions? The Barney who smashes tvs when he learns that Robin is sleeping with Ted again? How would Robin feel about that Barney? Keep in mind that Robin did date Ted for a long time, and he is about as sentimental as you can get. Also, the boost to Barney's ego that would result from Robin accepting him would bounce him right back to the level of awesome that we know and love.

The only thing that still remains in question is how Robin actually feels about Barney. My pet theory is that Robin has feelings for Barney as well, but she is not letting herself acknowledge them. I hope that as Barney's feelings for her lead him to action, however subtly, she will become more receptive to him. My fear is that she is completely aware of how Barney feels about her, but she feels nothing for him beyond friendship, so she is avoiding the whole topic. I alternate between these theories every single time Barney and Robin interact at all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

25 Things About Me (The Food Version)

I already did the 25 random things thing on facebook, and this morning I was thinking that I could probably do an entire 25 things about me and food. I have a lot of weird food habits.

1. I prefer that items on my plate not touch each other. I used to be very bad about this as a kid, but I am much better now. There are still times when things touch and it bothers me. In that case I will not eat the part of the item that was touching something else.

2. I usually do not drink while I am eating. I drink after I am done with my food. The exception is spicy food. If I have a glass of milk, I will save it until the end and then gulp it down as fast as I can. I really like to drink milk fast.

3. I cannot stand bananas in any form. The smell makes me very nauseous. I can't even handle banana in other things, like smoothies. I have refused to let coworkers throw banana peels in my trash can.

4. I do not like most green vegetables. Exceptions are broccoli, artichokes and green bell peppers. I will eat other vegetables, but I really do not enjoy them.

5. I eat most symmetrical food in a circle. Like sandwiches. I eat all of the crust, ending on the top. Then I eat the rest in a spiral. Hamburgers too.

6. I don't like chocolate. I know this is one of the strangest ones, but it's true. I occasionally enjoy a piece of good chocolate, like one of those Ghiradelli's squares. But I don't crave chocolate ever. And I prefer my chocolate to include nougat, caramel, or toffee.

7. I love hard candy. Jolly Rancher's, lolly pops, Sweet Tarts, bring it on! Especially sour candy. I have eaten Sour Patch Kids until my tongue started to bleed. More than once.

8. I don't like nuts. Of any kind. I will eat cashews, but only a small handful. Wait, do water chestnuts count? Because those I love.

9. I occasionally obsess over whether something is technically a fruit or a vegetable. Like cucumbers and strawberries.

10. When I am drinking something other than milk, I find it very difficult to drink the last half inch of liquid.

11. I have to concentrate very hard while swallowing pills. If I get distracted, I will somehow only swallow the water and then I'm left with a melting pill in my mouth.

12. I do not eat mushrooms or onions. And yes, I can taste them. Yes, even if it's just a little bit. You can put them in whatever you are making if you want. I'll pick them out.

13. Bleu cheese freaks me out. Gorgonzola cheese it totally fine. I have no idea why.

14. I don't like Swiss cheese. It tastes like metal to me.

15. When eating french fries, I have to eat more than one at a time, but they must be of equal lengths. I will select two or three fries of equal length, ketchup them and eat them together.

16. I prefer regular, simple coffee with just sugar and milk. I don't like specialty drinks. They tend to leave some sort of film in my mouth.

17. I never add salt or pepper to my food once it is on my plate.

18. I like to have ice in almost all of my drinks. I have put ice in beer and milk.

19. I am left-handed, so I place my silverware on the left side. I also place my drink on the left side, but I reach across my plate with my right hand to take a drink.

20. If I am eating chips, I have to eat only one at a time. I cannot eat several chips at once, no matter how small they are.

21. I do not like pie. Of any kind. Fruit should not be cooked. I especially hate fruit syrups.

22. Once I find a dish that I like at a restaurant, I rarely deviate from that dish.

23. I have never met a potato I didn't like. I could eat potatoes with every meal. Including breakfast. I once had a stew in Ireland that had five different kinds of potatoes in it. I was in heaven.

24. I don't like eggs. I will eat them, but I really don't like them. One exception is California Eggs Benedict at Cajun Kitchen, but I think that is because everything at Cajun Kitchen is amazing.

25. In spite of all of my weird food rules, I will try anything at least one time. But if I decide that I do not like something, that's it. You can say "Oh, but you've never had it this way." I still won't like it after trying your favorite. I promise. And no matter what anyone else says, to me, tapioca pudding will always be fish eyes. End of story.

So, what do you think? Am I a total freak? Or are you even weirder than me?