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The Displaced Deb-Groupon-te

One of the major themes that I explore on this blog is displacement, and the struggle that comes with trying to reconcile who you are with where you abide. For me this comes two fold. As I explained in my inaugural entry Displaced Debutante Defined, I am two parts City Girl and two parts Southern Belle, and if I'm honest, the two tend to butt heads a bit. The girl that grew up riding 4-wheelers on a ranch in Texas and making her debut in the Mississippi Delta might feel right at home down south, but she tends to get a little anxious in the big cities she lives in... just like the girl who learned to drive on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles and has been walking the streets of New York City for almost 8 years now can get a little restless after spending too much time below the Mason-Dixon line. It's all about finding and maintaining a balance, which is something I feel like I do a pretty good job of... especially with the help of my good old friend Groupon.

That's right, friends... Groupon has caught on to my displacement dilemma. Somehow, in this iPhone GPS "Big Brother is watching you" age of technology, Groupon knows enough about my movements to send me deals for both New York City and Memphis, TN - the closest major city to my hometown of Oxford, MS. It all started around the holidays. I woke up in New York the morning of my flight home for Thanksgiving to an email from Groupon advertising a deal for tickets to an interactive dating event called "The Great Jewish Love Debate", and then woke up the next morning in Oxford, MS with an email advertising a deal for monogrammed cutting boards. I had never seen my two worlds so clearly delineated before... so I started taking note.

Here we have, within one week of each other, as Holiday Specials no less, a New York deal for sex toys, and a Memphis deal for Holiday Family Portraits at JCPenney. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Cause and Effect. Before and After. Sex and Sensibility. I mean who doesn't want to spice things up AND get their Christmas card photo taken?

Next we have on the SAME DAY a New York deal for a facial peel and a Memphis deal for an oil change. Sounds about right, folks. New York wants me to change my face, Memphis just wants to make sure I get my oil changed. If that's not representative of my relationship with both The City and The South I don't know what is.

Also on the same day, a New York deal for a gym membership, and a Memphis deal for personalized M&Ms. New York City wants me to get skinny and strong, and Memphis wants me to eat M&Ms with my face on them. Another very accurate comparison of North and South if I do say so myself.

Speaking for personalization... Memphis really wants everything I own to be monogrammed. I'm not kidding. I want to say about 80% of the offers I get for the Memphis area have something to do with a monogram. Memphis wants me to hang my monogram on my wall. It wants me to emboss all my paper with my monogram. It wants me to have my monogram on all my electronics cases. And it wants me to cut my veggies on my monogrammed cutting board (I wasn't kidding). But being the born and bred Los Angeles 90's kid that I am, I can't shake the fear instilled in me by my 3rd grade teacher who once told me that wearing a necklace with my name on it would make it easy for scary men to kidnap me, and then proceeded to make me take said necklace off. True story, friends. So I hope my fellow Southern Belles will give this Displaced Deb a pass on having my name written in cute block letters over a festive chevron print on my iPhone case. Also - there are some things that take this Southern obsession with personalization a bit far. The description for that monogrammed wall hanging said the following:

"Personalized decor gives a room a touch that's all your own, just like a photo of your family, or a jar of your baby teeth. Make your space special with this Groupon."

... a jar of your baby teeth. WHO PUTS OUT A JAR OF BABY TEETH IN THEIR HOME?!?!? Too far, Memphis... too far.

As for New York... New York REALLY thinks I need Botox. I did always say I'd wait till I was 25... and the emails started coming when I turned 25... maybe it's time? These are some pretty fantastic deals. And I do love a good bargain.

But having spent my life watching the Southern women who raised me age gracefully while embracing the beauty that comes with living a full life, I'm not sure I ever could. As much as I may hate looking at that laugh line on my forehead, it's a reminder of all the laughing I've done in my 25 years, and at the end of the day I can't think of anything so wrong with that. I do so dearly love to laugh. And I'm very good at making funny faces. My nephew certainly thinks so. I make funny faces at least 5 times a day, and in my line of work occasionally find myself getting PAID to do so. For the last show I did, the local paper heralded me as a "sexpot comedienne" - which to me was the ultimate compliment. It means I make good faces, but can also shimmy really, really well. What a life.

So what has all this been about, this existential crisis in groupons? I guess to shed light on my unique reality from a different perspective. You can learn a lot about a person, after all, by looking through their junk email. Remember, Big Brother is watching.... and knows all about that Kate Spade dress you left in your cart on the Neiman Marcus website, or about that 64 inch Flat Screen TV you've been watching on eBay.

I'll be heading back to L.A. this weekend and I can't wait to wear sundresses and sandals, make faces for my nephew, and write up a storm. But most importantly - I can't wait to see what Groupon has in store for the L.A. side of my personality trifecta. I predict a lot of Raw Juice Bars and perhaps the occasional deal for a pilates class.

With Grace and Good Humor,

My name is Mary Lane Haskell and my two "claims to fame" are that I have Dolly Parton's fax number and that Reese Witherspoon once liked a post on my Instagram.  I am an actor, a writer, and a profound Chipotle enthusiast making my way in Los Angeles while trying to stay true to my family's southern roots, all with grace and a touch a good humor.  I'm so glad you're here!


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