Welcome to 2011, a time for new beginnings (a really stupid word pairing when you think about it). This year, I’ve resolved to strive for balance and moderation. For example, instead of sitting in a desk chair, trolling facebook five hours in a row, I will sit on one of those balance balls. If I get the urge to eat an economy size bag of pita chips, I will have a moderator yell at me while I do it. Simple, achievable goals are the secret to sustainable change.
Take my crushes. Perhaps I’ve seemed overzealous in the past. Even “scary” as the beautiful redhead I followed into an alley last week accused. From now on, I’ll endeavor to be a kindler, gentler fan. I’ll do this by offering handkerchiefs and foot massages to those I approach. Speaking of tantalizing offers, I tried to get the first crush of the New Year to wear a diaper and a top hat. Sadly, I was denied. But enough about my sex life.
Please welcome Emily MacArthur, a shiny new crush, for a shiny new year.
Hometown: Park Ridge, IL
Profession: First year Art Therapy student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Hobbies: skiing, painting (houses and canvases), curling, bagpiping, bottle blowing, motorcycling, camping, biking, drinking, metal working, hockey.
Our Town Bagpiping is an unusual hobby. Why did you start?
Emily Macarthur I guess to be different. In the mid eighties, my parents researched our Scottish roots, and we went to a Highland Games where I saw all the pipe bands in that day's competition play en masse. It was such a powerful sound that I wanted to learn. My mom looked for a band [with] young people, which turned out to be the Midlothian Juniors, run by the highly respected Ian Swinton. Unfortunately she got mixed up and enrolled me in lessons with a total hack who also a bit pervy [but] eventually, I made friends with people that knew better. With their help, I’ve been slowly improving for twenty-one years.
OT Any amusing piping experiences?
EM [During] the seventeen-year cicada summer a couple years ago, I was competing with [the] City of Chicago Pipe Band on a polo field in Oak Brook. [In competitions], you have to play together in a circle, standing like wooden soldiers when it's one hundred degrees and you're covered in wool and your knees are shaking. Turns out the frequency of a bagpipe’s drones is the same as a cicada's love call, so every time we played, the cicadas would descend. [When] I felt something on my ass, I thought, "Oh, please let that be sweat,” but sweat doesn't crawl upwards! Damn thing wanted to mate with me.
OT How do you find time for your varied pursuits?
EM I've most of my hobbies on the back burner while in grad school, [but] last month I performed with the St. Luke's Bottle Band to raise money for an orphanage near Juarez, Mexico. I just learned to weld so I've been playing around with metal work. My family is in a manufacturing business, so I can play my pipes in our shop and dig in the scrap bins, think about getting my old Kawasaki running, that kind of thing. I go bonspiel-ing (a curling tournament) one or two weekends a year, which is about as much as my liver can handle.
OT Speaking of school, what do you hope to do with your degree?
EM I'd like to work in hospice or at an adult day care for people with dementia. I'm concerned about the loneliness that comes with old age and I want to use art as a way to reconnect and create a tangible memory.
OT Art is obviously integral for you. How would you define your aesthetic?
EM I like to pretend my apartment is a big installation: lots of red and yellow, gray and black and straight lines. Wool, tweed, dying plants, pottery, black and white photos, exposed brick, old heavy furniture, a variety of scotch, appropriate stemware. I just described a Sundance meets Restoration Hardware catalog. I like things loose but I really appreciate super ocd photo-realistic paintings. I love the impressionists, Van Gogh. I am trying to get over Bob Ross, but he was such a nice man.
OT Describe your perfect day.
EM Wake up early, drink a cup of tea, do yoga, go for a run. Eat something with butter and cinnamon. Paint. Meet my boyfriend for Indian food. Watch a good show at Schubas where I order Schlitz but they magically bring me Spotted Cow instead.
OT Relationship Deal breaker?
EM Fathers, picky eaters, bigots, soft hands.
OT Who was your first crush?
EM A scrappy boy named Benny Fonte. In kindergarten, he already had a noticeable Adam's apple and a little baby mullet. I still have a crush on him.
OT Why are you crushworthy?
EM The sexiness of a bagpipe is undeniable.
OT Any questions for me?
EM Yes. Why do you think repeatedly asking “Is that a bagpipe in your pocket or are you just happy to see me” will win me over?
A freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum, when not writing, supports herself as a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago's Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez