Friday, May 23, 2008

Reasons To Be Pretty

The other night, I saw Neil LaBute's new play Reasons to be Pretty. It begins with a young couple arguing over the fact that the guy hade made a comment that another girl was beautiful...while his own girlfriend isn't. Her face is ordinary. She is regular. She is not pretty.

And, ever since then, I have been wondering...what exactly ARE the reasons to be pretty?

Last weekend, I was going through my local paper and reading the wedding and engagement announcements. (Which I tend to do, because I'm starting to know a lot of people who are getting married. Now, the New York Times wedding announcements are my absolutely FAVORITE to read...if only because the names of the people always crack me up. Seriously. Check them out on Sunday morning...and report back to me.)

I saw a girl who looked vaguely familiar, and then I saw her name.

And I instantly remembered this girl.

We sat at the same lunch table our freshman year of high school. We weren't friends. Two of my best friends also sat at that table, and we really just talked to each other.

One day, I was sitting in algebra class, and a random girl handed me a note she had found. She had highlighted part of it, because it was about me. (Looking back, I think this girl was wrong in doing so. What good was she hoping to accomplish by highlighting that stuff and showing it to me?)

I read the note.

It was written by the girl whose face I saw in the wedding announcement last weekend.

She was writing to her friend, and the entire note...both sides of the paper...was attacking every girl at our lunch table except for the two of them.

She said that I had frizzy hair.

She said that I had fat legs.

She said that I shopped at Motherhood Maternity.

Kids can be cruel, indeed.

I still remember that note...her handwriting...the way I felt when I first read it. I cried for a long time.

I remember thinking that she didn't say anything negative about me as a person...she COULDN'T say anything negative about me as a person...because she didn't even know me...instead, she attacked my appearance.She also attacked my friend's appearance...and the fact that she had red hair.

(Sidenote...when we confronted this girl about the note, she said that she didn't write it. Her stalker did. Uh-huh.)

So...why was that upsetting me so much? Why did I take this one cruel, superficial's comments so to heart? Why did I let it dictate how I felt about myself for a long time?

And...just as the play questioned...why is everybody so obsessed with what is on the outside, when we have been taught our entire lives that it is inside that counts?

I really don't consider myself a shallow person...or am I? I think Adrien Brody and Sarah-Jessica Parker are wonderful-looking when many would call them "ugly". (Their words...not mine.). I don't spend much money on cosmetics, and I don't even own a blow-dryer. (Or a straightening iron!)

But...for some reason...when that girl attacked the way I looked, it hurt so much more than it would have if she had attacked my personality or brain. I don't know why. Is it because we have been brainwashed into thinking that being pretty is all that matters?

That note/lunchtable incident was over ten years ago...and yet I still remember it. Today, I KNOW that my hair is not frizzy (it is curly), my legs are not fat (they are muscular) and the majority of my clothes are from the (non-marternity) section of Ann Taylor Loft...and yet that girl's words still sting. And yet, I still remember that day...I still remember that girl's face and name...and it still hurts a bit remembering that fourteen-year-old girl who came home from school and cried.

I have a friend who is strikingly goodlooking. As in, I often forget how handsome he is sometimes, and then look at him and think, "SHEESH!" I once commented to him, "You must get sick of people telling you how handsome you are all the time..." and he said, "Who would ever get sick of people telling them they are handsome are???" He was right. Everyone likes to hear that they are beautiful...and the opposite hurts. No matter who it is from.

A couple of months ago, my picture was in a newspaper and somebody commented that I was "fugly". I took this extremely badly, and wondered if being "fugly" (my gosh...HATE THAT WORD) was the reason I've had some hardships over the past few years...difficulty finding a job...hard time getting single...then I realized that, the odds were VERY good, that the person sitting behind their computer making nasty comments about people they had never met were the "fugly" ones.

Like the girl in the play, I definitely have my share of insecurities, and I'm pretty sure if my boyfriend said something similar to me, I would react that same exact way that she did.

Looks don't matter...looks don't matter...looks don't matter...

...but they really do.

And I hate that.

And I really hate that they matter to me.

Diana Rissetto

Monday, May 19, 2008

I like Prince William

Maybe it's because my name is Diana. I was named after Princess Diana, and I think that most girls born in the 1980's have wanted to marry Prince William at some point.

I still have a daydream that I'll meet Prince William one day and he will shake my hand and go, "Ah, yes. That is a very easy name for me to remember."

And there's another, very superficial reason I would like to marry Prince William for.

So I can wear fancy hats.

William's lovely girlfriend, Kate Middleton, wearing hats.

Last week, William's cousin was married and Fergie and Andrew's daughter wore THIS hat to the wedding...

I want that hat.

I don't know wear I'd wear it...but I want it.

I guess if you were born into the royal family of Britian or dating the future King, you can get away with wearing such hats.

If you're just a nice girl that works in...oh, a bookstore or an office or something...

You would just look really really stupid.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Tony nominations came out today!

And I would like to extend my personal congratulations to all of the nominees (because I am sure that it will mean a lot to them. I bet Kelli O'Hara hasn't really been able to enjoy her day until she knew Diana Rissetto was very excited for her...and I AM...every time I see that girl onstage, I cannot believe that I am watching the same girl from the last show I saw her is this the same girl who was being kicked in the head by a Shetland pony just a few years ago? She is awesome!)...especially those from some of my favorite shows of the year...August: Osage County, The Homecoming, In the Heights and South Pacific.

However, there was one name missing from this morning's list which I would have kinda liked to have seen...(okay, that is an understatement. I was sorely, SORELY disappointed that this person was not nominated. I was stuck on the train this morning, and received about eight text messages regarding this performer...and throughout the day, random people kept IMing me with, "How are you doing?" and "Sorry about your boy")

Because anybody who knows me and has spoken to me in the past five years knows who "my boy" is when we are talking theatre...

Cheyenne Jackson...somebody I care about very much as a person, and somebody I absolutely love watching onstage. I first became introduced to Mr. Jackson on one very very hot, humid August afternoon at Broadway in Bryant Park. He was performing the role of Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie...I was the starstruck and wide-eyed intern with the show Chicago. We stood under a tent. We talked. We then went our separate ways...then the entire city went dark with the Blackout of 2003. (That has nothing to do with the story, I just think it's interesting.)

Over the past five years, I have seen Cheyenne be buried alive, ride a motorcycle onstage, perform in two Macy's Thanksgiving Parades, dance around with flowers tucked behind his ears, singing, "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man of Mine" and strip onstage at Lincoln Center...I have held my breath and watched him in United 93 on the big screen...the most difficult movie I have ever sat through. I have watched him on The Today Show, Larry King Live and All My Children! I have been there to see him play Superman, an Altar Boy, a naive pornstar, a thug with snakes tatooed on his neck, and, currently, a clueless but lovable boy with a dream (to open a roller disco!) in Xanadu.

I once heard a woman in an audience comment on Cheyenne..."He is like George Clooney. So handsome...but he doesn't take himself too seriously."

Absolutely right, random woman!

He is a delight to watch! Funny! Charming! A completely natural!

And the boy can SING!

Mr. Jackson's performance in Xanadu is wonderful. I have seen the show eight times. When I saw it the first time, I commented, "I want to see this show every night." (I obviously didn't end-up doing that.)

And although Mr. Jackson won't be able to add "Tony-Nominated Actor" to his list of credits (just now), he will have to make do with...

-having the "best thighs on Broadway"!!! (according to a review of Xanadu from The Associated Press)
-being one of Broadway's favorite do-gooders!!! Over the years, Cheyenne has performed at numerous charity events and is a spokesperson for the ASPCA.
-his movie career taking-off!!!
-starring in Damn Yankees this summer!!!
-having a really great dog!!!

And, above EVERYTHING...

-rating very very well on Diana Rissetto's List of Favorite Guys EVER, landing an even better spot than Jerry Stiller, Tom Brokaw and Harry Connick, Jr.

Twenty-seven Tony awards and 19 Oscars and 12 Grammy Awards would not make Cheyenne Jackson any more of the guy or the performer that he is today!!!

It's about time!!!

Francis Albert finally has his own stamp!

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I have very very crooked pinkies.

We all have our abnormalities.

When I went for a facial before my sister's wedding, the woman at the spa massaged my hands while the boisenberries (AWESOME stuff) were drying on my face.

She started tugging at my fingers.

I tensed-up.

She was pulling on my pinky finger.

My pinky fingers cannot be pulled on.

My pinky fingers are extremely crooked.


She asked me, "Is this hurting you?"

I told her, "It's not really hurting me...but please don't do pinkies do not straigthen! They are very crooked! They always HAVE been very crooked! I don't know WHY!"

She said, "Ah, well, we all have our abnoramlities."

Of course we do.

(Aside from my (very very) crooked pinkies, I also have freakishly small ears (people always comment on them whenever I wear headbands or a ponytail...I wonder if God gave me so much hair so that these freakishly small ears would be covered most of the time. One time, a little girl even asked me, "WHY ARE YOUR EARS SO SMALL?" Okay, what would you like me to DO with them? And then there are my toes...oh, those toes. My sister and cousin took to calling me "Fingers for Toes" years ago and it stuck. Yes, my toes look like fingers. And are as freakishly long as my ears are freakishly small. I could climb trees with these things. I wear a size 7 shoe, but I honestly think that if my toes were an average length, I would be down to a size 5. They are LONG...and boney and really pretty hideous. I will never be a Dr. Scholl's model...and that is all right.)

Toes and ears aside, my pinkies are especially abnormal.

I have no idea when they got so crooked.

I used to do gymnastics as a child, and I think I would have remembered them being really crooked when I used to support myself on my hands, but they were never THAT bad. I think they got a little more crooked each year, and now they're just a mess. When I use a computer mouse, I need to tuck my pinky under.

When I drive and hold onto the steering wheel, I need to tuck my pinky under.

When I hold a cup, I need to tuck my pinky under. (People feel the need to comment on this. All the time. I don't know WHY. I don't notice other people's pinkies.)

I can't wear rings on my pinkies. They get stuck...because my pinkies are very very crooked.

People always ask if I had broken my pinkies. (Yes, I broke BOTH of my pinkies.)

No, I never broke my pinkies. (I have actually never broken ANYTHING besides my ribs on one occasion. Considering I am the klutziest person in existance, I think this is very surprising. I probably shouldn't be jynxing myself like that.)

The other day, I googled "crooked pinkies." (And other variations..."my pinkies are very crooked"..."my pinkies won't straighten"...etc. etc. etc.)

And I learned that I am NOT alone.


Apparently, ten percent of the population have crooked pinkies. As I looked through photos of other peoples' crooked pinkies (I think I need a hobby), I couldn't find many crooked pinkies that look like MY crooked pinkies.

Crooked pinkies are said to be genetic. My sister also has SLIGTHTLY crooked pinkies, but nothing like mine. My mother has straight pinkies, as did my father.

I have no idea where I got these incredibly crooked pinkies.

Oddly enough, everyone else in my family has straight hair to go with their straight perhaps it makes sense that the one family member with a head of wacky curls would ALSO have two wacky pinkies.

Seriously...look at them...they are CRAZY.

Diana Rissetto





Wednesday, May 7, 2008

No More Cry

When I was younger, I developed an obsession with all things Irish.

I am not sure when or why it started. I don't have a drop of Irish blood in me.

Darby O'Gil and the Little People (Starring a very very young Sean Connery.)was one of my favorite movies when I was little. Chris O'Donnell was my first movie star crush. (I would go on to fall for many an Irish-American guy, both onscreen and in real life.) I listened to Irish pop music...and I became a fan of the lovely, wonderful, talented Irish sibling music group...The Corrs.

(Might I add the only time I EVER want straight hair for a SECOND is when I see a picture of The Corrs.)

The Corrs lost their mother in 1999. I lost my father in 1999.

When I first heard their song "No More Cry", I knew exactly what they were singing about...

I wanna feel just like before
Before the rain came in my door
Shook me up turned me around
Made me cry till I would drown

Over the past few weeks, a few of my friends have lost parents.

When I called to check-up on one of my friends, whose dad was in hospice care, and she told me that he had passed away that morning, I automatically was back in 1999 and feeling the same feelings that I had when my father died.

It is something that never goes away, and is triggered very easily. I didn't even know this girl's father...but for some reason, whenever somebody around me loses a parent, I feel like my dad is dying all over again. I remember "crying till I would drown"...and going to class and trying to get through the day and feeling that nobody in the world understood what I was going through.

I always feel an odd, automatic kinship with other people who have lost parents at a young age.

When I was in high school, there was a girl in my creative writing class who had lost her mom. We both used to write about our similar experiences. I remember having a dream one night that I went up to her and told her that I thought we should talk sometime because we had a lot in common and could probably help each other a lot. A couple of days after that dream, she came up to me and said almost the same exact thing. It was weird...but very true. We both "got it."

I used to visit the school psychiatrist after my dad died...she had ALSO lost her dad as a teenager...and when I started seeing a therapist after college (when I was in my "Quarterlife Crisis Crazy Jobhunt What On Earth Am I Doing" period...), I managed to find a wonderful doctor whose dad died when she was 14. I felt so lucky to have had both of them to help me out. Yes...they "get it."

Peter Cincotti (in my opinion...the most talented young musician out there), lost his dad when he was a teenager. Peter was performing onstage and his dad had a heart attack. Once again...I never met this kid, but I feel like if I ever did, we would have an odd off-the-bat "we're both from close-knit Italian families and lost our dads when we were kids" connection. (Listen to his song "He's Watching", which is about his dad. Beautiful.)

Stole the daylight, brought the night
So much anger I would fight
Lost my youth and the blue
Saw all the loneliness in you
Wanna help you give my love
Shine some light out from the mud
Fill the empty find a rhyme
A brigther day a better time
But I'm wondering where I'm gone
Can't find the truth within my song
And all I have give to you
To let you know you're not alone

I was only 17 when my dad died and he wasn't even 50. In a sense, I had to grow-up really fast during that time...but in another way, I am still 17, still the age I was when everything was turned upside-down. I remember my friends all worrying about boyfriends and proms and getting their licenses...and I was worrying about my dad dying.

Luckily, even though my friends weren't always the most understanding during this time (and I really can't blame them, it's a hard thing to go through at any age, let alone junior year of high school.), I had my family and I knew they would always be there to understand what I was going through. I still very clearly remember when we were at the funeral home and my mom and aunt were making arrangements. My sister, cousin and I were waiting in the lobby. I remember being drained. I remember my sister resting her head on my cousin's shoulder. I remember that I really wasn't alone as long as I had my family and that we would get through this.

I'm telling you
I'm smiling for you only
I'm trying for you solely
I'm praying for you only
No more cry, no more cry...

Ever since my dad died, I feel like I kind of force myself upon people when they lose a, "I'm here for you! I am here for you! Here's a card! And I'm going to call you! Please let me know if you need anything!" I know it's probably annoying and not always welcome and people deal with grief in different ways...but I really don't know what else to do. I remember how much it hurt to have my friends barely acknowledge my dad's death...and I never want to make another person feel that way.

At the same time, I feel like I am supposed to know exactly the right words to say, and I really don't. I feel like I am supposed to know exactly the right thing to do, and I don't...and it wasn't until I witnessed some of my friends losing parents until I understood why my own friends distanced themselves from me when my dad died. It's a horrible thing to deal with. Nobody knows how to react and there really ARE no words.

I wanna hear you laugh again
Without the ache to bring you down
No we'll never be the same
If only I could take your pain
But if it's true what people say
There still is beauty in each day
We'll find comfort in her strength
One day soon we'll meet again

So...that's what I have told my friends recently...that there is absolutely nothing I can do or say to make them feel better, because when I lost my dad, there was absolutely nothing anybody could do or say to make ME feel better.

I am being completely honest with them.

I'm telling you
I'm smiling for you only
I'm trying for you solely
I'm praying for you only
No more cry, no more cry...
I'm singing for you only
Yeah, I worry for you only
I'm praying for you only
No more cry, no more cry...
Reach out for love
Shout out for love
Listen for your love
Believe in her love...

I also make sure to tell them that they're going to be fact, I PROMISE them that they're going to be okay...and I believe it...because, nine years later, my family is okay.

And there is no more cry...

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Earlier this week, my friend/Broadway star/one of the greatest guys on earth, Cheyenne Jackson, was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. (The Drama Desk Awards are to the Tony Awards what the Golden Globes are to the Oscars.)

I could not be prouder of this guy if he was my own brother. His performance in Xanadu is delightful and wonderful and endearing, and this is a nomination well-deserved.

Diana Rissetto

This time, the dream's on me...

The other day, my friend, who is going through a lot of changes and is under a lot of stress right now, told me that she keeps having dreams that she is trapped in a tsunami. She looked it up, and found that the dream means that she is...surprise surprise...going through a lot of changes and is under a lot of stress right now.

I told her that every so often, when things get crazy, I dream that my teeth are falling out. I used to take this dream on a literal level...that I really WAS afraid of my teeth falling out. I have nice teeth. I like my teeth...and I would be quite upset if I lost them...of course I would be...but I don't think there are many people out there who look forward to losing their teeth.

However, when I looked up THAT dream, I found that it is one of the ten most common dreams that people have and this dream also means that you are feeling stressed and overwelmed. Now, as many of you might know, I have had three stressful jobhunts since I graduated college.

At times, I've been an absolute mess.

I tend to worry a lot.

And cry.

And lose sleep.

It is just how I am made.

However, when I AM able to sleep, it is then that I start having the "my teeth are falling-out" dream. They just start popping-out! My teeth!

My friend laughed when I told her about this, and said that she also dreams that her teeth are falling-out and thought that she was crazy because "who dreams about their TEETH falling-out?"

Everybody, apparently.

We then realized that there is no such thing as a unique dream.

Or is there?

I started thinking about weird, memorable dreams that I have had.

-I used to dream ALL THE TIME that it was Christmas Eve and I hadn't done any decorating or watched any Christmas movies. I start trying to get all the movies I can in before Christmas Day. A realistic nightmare, as I LOVE Christmas time and feel like it WOULD be too bad for the season to come and go without decorations or Jimmy Stewart.

-A few months ago, I had a dream that I was seeing the show Spring Awakening. I was sitting on the edge of the stage, and the show was going on, but nobody in the audience was paying attention. One of the stars, Jonathan Groff, came over and sat down next to me and asked me out. I turned my head and pointed to his co-star, John Gallagher, Jr. and went, "But...I like HIM more..." (Jonathan Groff was nominated for a Tony for that show, while John Gallagher, Jr. actually WON the Tony...) Do I think that I am too good for Tony nominees and will settle for nothing less than a Tony WINNER? Maybe. Or maybe I just find John Gallagher, Jr. cuter than Jonathan Groff. I like his hair.

-I occasionally see a therapist. I really like my doctor. She's a real mom-type (well, she has three kids, so I guess she IS a mom). Her youngest daughter is a flighty artist-type with curly hair...and I am a flighty artist-type with curly hair...and I think she feels close to me for that reason. She also lost her dad when she was a teenager, so I really feel comfortable talking to her about the multitudes of issues I have from that one. When I got my job two years ago, things started to turn around and I had a dream that I went to go see my therapist and told her I was okay and we had nothing to talk about and that I'd miss her. (Little did I know, I was going to be laid-off soon and spiral into another depression...)

-I dream that I am getting married and yet I have no idea WHO I am marrying, and I keep trying to explain this to my mother and she won't listen to me. I don't know what this one means at all. It could mean I have been going to WAY too many weddings lately and am not ready to get married at all.

-I had a dream once that I saw Harry Connick, Jr., his wife and kids in the street and then I went out to dinner with them. I was really disappointed when I woke-up from that one. I love Harry Connick, Jr.!

-There is also that reoccuring nightmare I would have at the end of EVERY semester...and I still have it every December and May, as if my biological clock is still on a school schedule. I dream that I get my grades from my university, and realize there is a class on there that I never went to. Once. I have learned that EVERYBODY has this dream. My friend Brian had a dream once that he ran to the class that he never went to and said, "CAN I AT LEAST TAKE THE FINAL!?!?!?!?!"

I also have heard that you don't dream much when you have a lot on your mind...this makes sense. I didn't dream much while my dad was sick, and then suddenly started dreaming after he passed away. (I don't remember having dreams about losing teeth or tsunamis during this time, though.)