REPORT A PROBLEM
Although not my custom, I agree to meet Rhonda at a diner for our session. I don't allow eating in my office, but she says she'll "die" if she doesn't have something. Over an enormous plate of the fluffiest French toast I've ever seen this side of a commercial, she confides that she has a fetish for freakishly fat fellows.
"Once, I had a boyfriend attach loaves of Wonder Bread to his body with rubber bands before we had sex," she says through a mouthful.
I can't tell if the goo running down her chin is drool or maple syrup.
I'm not much of a drinker, but when visiting a certain house over the Christmas holiday, I'd readily accept from the patriarch a Tanqueray and tonic (with lime) the size of a large Slurpee. The temporary warmth it provided lasted longer than that generated from his wife's hug and was much more genuine. It allowed me to slide into an unspoken alliance with him and blurred the jagged edge of the wife's pointed remarks. The drink eased my desire toward aggression in the face of the pervasive passive-aggressiveness. Any wonder I slammed it down as if it were Diet Coke?
I'm visiting my friend C at the house she shares with several other girls from nearby, appropriately-named Beaver College. I wish I were one of them, if only for the Facts of Life (minus Mrs. Garrett) shenanigans I envision as part of every waking moment within its Victorian walls.
B, a roommate, flaunts her lusty crush on me. Although her charm and raucous humor cause my eyebrow to raise high on my forehead in wicked delight, it can't make me forget she's short and squat, with a gourd-like face and unruly black hair reminiscent of a toilet brush.
I exit the bathroom in only a towel, hair dripping, and there she is, the squirrel girl who would love to, I suppose, crack my acorn. She's sitting on the edge of the bed. She grins. I grin, or at least display what may approximate one.
I know these girls walk around in all states of undress among each other, but I'm not one of them, and I’m exceedingly modest. I know she's waiting for me to drop my towel and casually get dressed in front of her.
"You're gorgeous," she says. "And all wet."
I act like I'm not ready to get dressed, like, hey, I enjoy loitering in my towel! I disregard that she may interpret this hesitation as an invitation to enjoy the splendor of my, um, moistness.
She calls out to C, "I'm dyin' here!" and we both laugh. "I'm getting my masters," she says. "In oral arts." We laugh because she knows it's cheesy.
I hate being so shallow that I wish she were the tiny blonde in the other room. But then I realize, again, oh yeah, there's the little matter of me not being a lesbian.
"I love the way you looked at me when you first saw me in the restaurant," he says at the end of our date.
What he took as ebullient approval of his unconventional appearance, swirled with primal lust, was relief that, after a week of perusing his unsmiling photos online, he not only had teeth but, when he grinned, the mouthful didn't resemble a frenzied seismic graph.
Second date, he says something similar about when I saw his body. Again, a misinterpretation. I want to tell him, "I wasn't overwhelmed, really. I was just happy you didn't have a gut."
It's been over a year and Tara has a new fella. Still, the mere thought of her ex-husband cheating on her with that human equivalent of an emu (no offense to the actual bird, she adds, opening her eyes for emphasis, quasi-catching me filing my nails during the session), infuriates. She knows, though, a breakup is inevitable.
"The moment I hear the news, I'll stop whatever I'm doing, dash out to Broadway as if Fairway's having a blowout sale on Ben & Jerry's, and do three cartwheels, no matter how poorly executed and regardless of weather."
My kind o' girl!
From the Should Be Obvious But Obviously It's Not Files, #126:
Never repress the parts of yourself that express the essence of who you are, the you who is the brightest, boldest, and happiest. If someone around you doesn't dig you at your best, that's not your problem. Never compromise your behavior to fit someone else's version of what you should be. You never know when someone else might be observing you with eyes open more widely, more in tune to what you alone have to offer, you in your truth and brilliance, appreciating what others would see squelched. Sparkle!
The office people known for being difficult always seem to take a shine to me. The scowling spinster crone who's worked for the same attorney for decades, the senior partner who's rumored to have reduced secretaries to hysterical tears that couldn't even wait for the ladies' room, the dragon lady misogynist who is secretly a self-hating lesbian. Do I appeal to them because I maintain eye contact when others would look away? Do they respect me because they can tell I won't take their shit? Or do they like me because they think I am one of them? Please, no!
I'm listening to the last few reports dictated by my favorite lawyer in Chicago, the one I've never seen or talked to in real life but who I reflexively envision as Stephen Colbert's doppelganger (and just as good a dancer), and dreading his departure from the firm. I wonder if, as he lays out the dreary details of a plaintiff's deposition regarding a garden variety slip-and-fall, he feels wistful because he'll miss seeing my lowercase initials leaning against the other side of the back-slash fence at the very end of the report. Does he daydream I look like Linda Fiorentino?
This is the first time I've brought laundry to the laundromat for by-the-pound service. The only reason I'm doing it is because these are sheets, and just once I'd like the bottom sheets folded into compact rectangles, rather than chaotic jumbled balls that aren't even a close approximation to anything geometric.
The Asian attendant asks why I don't do it myself. I want to ask if she really doesn't want the extra money that will result from having them to do it rather than me, but I know my question will be, to her ears, as garbled as my folding.
Even if he hadn't wound up being a colossal tool, it never would've worked out between me and the "soulful" musician. Not because he has custody of his teenagers every weekend (as annoying as that was), not because he holes up in a messy basement apartment better suited to crafts with cub scouts than to daily residence… but because I cannot stand his music, created solely on his keyboard in a room he dares call a "studio". When I heard it on MySpace, under cover of darkness at home, I yelled, "Nooooo!" Time to face the music, fucker: You suck.
Hat in hands, eyes downcast, mumbling to the point of you asking me to speak up, that sometimes, despite decades of devout vegetarianism, I confess certain, shall we say, cravings. People ask if I miss cheeseburgers or bacon, which, for reasons I can't grasp, is the camel-back-breaking straw for many vegetarians. No, for me it's fried chicken. And not the kind someone's cheery, aproned mama fries in a skillet from a secret recipe handed down from Down South. It's KFC, in the traditional old-fashioned red and white bucket, white meat, dark meat, extra-crispy, or regular. Or, really, just the skin.
I'm in my kitchen, singing to my cat, a little jazzy ditty about a pretty kitty girl girl kitty from K-ville or is it K-town, and then I'm quiet, sad, because ain't no way I'm ever gonna meet a guy who'd not only understand this but dig it. And I may as well forget about finding one who does it himself, too, that is just not gonna happen.
The next day, a very cute guy's OKCupid profile jumps out at me. The most private thing he's willing to admit? "I sing silly songs to my cat."
Oh, I'm smitten, kitten.
Tossing out a giggly little "My bad" is a passive-aggressive, hideous way to work around having to actually apologize. Add in that it sounds so infantile, and there you have it: a target for my loathing. Unapologetic, full-on, in-your-face loathing!
Plunking down a folksy "Just sayin'" rankles the livin' hell outta me. It's like, "Here, let me try to ease the blow of something stupid I just said in attempt to make you not hate me for saying it as much as I knew you would even before I uttered it." It's like a big "oh well" shrug. And smug.
In my neighborhood, it's not uncommon to see old ladies pushing folding-type wire carts or strollers that contain neither groceries nor babies but quiet little dogs the size of their hats, even without the threat of inclement weather that would give inevitable rise to "snow toes" resulting from direct exposure to snow-icy sidewalks.
The other night, though, I saw a huge white bulldog lying in a wagon being pulled through the snow by a small woman. My heart melted so ferociously that had there still been cars inhibited from freedom due to drifts, they would have been freed within seconds.
Your skin, like mine, like you, like I, is thin, and through it your veins protrude thick and blue through your forearms, pumping the blood of royalty throughout the body that now shares my sofa, my bed, my shower, and the bathroom towels. My fingertips rest gently, barely settling on the hair, and I swear I feel the surge just below the surface, the rush beneath the flesh. I imagine our blood swooshes at exactly the same pace, in the same pattern, through each of us, joining us even closer than we've already become. Have we really only just begun?
If Duane Reade doesn't want me scarfing its version of Zicam (strawberry chewable variety) like candy, then why the fuck did they make it look and taste like Starburst, right down to the same squish consistency and cartoonish color? Did they learn NOTHING from the creators of Ayds appetite-suppressant candy, which I popped like Milk Duds in the '70s, St. Joseph orange-flavored baby aspirin, on which I overdosed at age three, and purple and red Flintstones (preferably Dino) Chocks chewable vitamins, which I consumed in such vast quantities as to ensure my good health for decades to come? Come on!
Facebook status: Handy tip for straight men: When someone asks you if you think another man is good-looking, you don't have to rush to say, "I don't look at guys that way!" You can respond "yes" or "no" without the vehement disclaimer. Acknowledging that you have assessed another man's attractiveness does not mean you envision him ramming you in a bath house. (And so what if it does?) Grow the fuck up.
"Liked" by 19. Although a straight man had a slight issue in comments, he came around after my best gayboyfriend and I nudged him in the ass. Ahoy!
Martin didn't know he had a problem with Glenda's fingernails until the girl on the bus removed her mittens, revealing dark red polish so expertly applied that it looked as it had been born there ("like on an apple," he'd later think). How enchanting, that underneath the gym gear and the ratty olive-green mittens (removed with her teeth!) laid lady-like touches. Martin didn't realize until then, either, that he had a problem with his wife's lack of athleticism and perfect gray cashmere gloves.
No one has to know that for 10 solid minutes, he contemplates dissolution of his 20-year marriage!
Tony sends a link to a Rammstein performance that he says will demonstrate why it was banned in several United States cities. Rammstein is German, so of course I know it will be disgusting, which, naturally, intrigues and titillates.
Till Lindemann, shirtless, struts as if fucking to centerstage, and unzips his pants. He reaches in and pulls out his cock, not a mock cock, and lets loose a power-washer blast of faux-jizz that douses the eager faces in the first few rows.
Rather than being turned on in any way, all I do is wonder how they rigged the joint.
Ahhh, yes, a predawn weekday that has me home in a room illuminated only by two computer monitors and more tiny blinking blue lights than an airport or a Christmas tree, rather than at the gym bemoaning the jaundice-like effects of fluorescence. The hiss of the radiator an odd comfort, the coo of the cat an annoyance, coffee percolating its punctuation.
Nothing quite like a New York winter in an old apartment. I could fling open the kitchen door to invite in some outdoor relief to the indoor heat, but instead it's a tank top and bare feet. Pants? Maybe.
Any garden variety kid can have an imaginary friend. It only takes combining Dora the Explorer, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Miley Cyrus, and a few instances of not necessarily terrible but certainly mischievous behavior (cookies "gone missing"!) to which the friend can be assigned responsibility. However, it takes a truly remarkable kid to create an imaginary enemy. If I had a kid, that's what she would do. My kid would cry in her closet because "Emily" (who was prettier) called her fat, insisted she write her book report, and left rude in other kids' lockers. Reason enough to remain child-free!
So far, for the most part, we have been confined to my apartment, with brief forays into the real world for white mug coffee and breakfasty home-friesy bagelly booth coziness at the very local diner on Broadway. Our 30-block walk uptown to the Indian restaurant for dinner that one time was more behind-the-scenes than on the actual stage, given the street we took, but I reveled that it was possible to stay relatively hidden even in this crazy-busy city.
We are incubating you and I, in this nascent stage of our relationship. I cannot wait to peck through the shell!
Most guys don't survive past a first date. I mean, sure, they go about their lives doing whatever they do when they aren't making me wish I'd stayed home even if I don't have snacks and my cat ignores me in favor of writing her thesis and All My Children has been pre-empted by an emergency rain report. A second date, if earned, hasn't left me wanting a third.
But by the end of my third date with J, I knew I wanted a fourth. And the minute I saw him for that one, I knew I wanted a seventh.
Dear J (my new, beautiful, adorable, puppy of a boyfriend who makes me laugh like a gigantic retard and creates gorgeous cards, perfectly hand-lettered, and sends them every week via snail-mail, which makes me think it's 1977 and you are my dream eighth grade boyfriend [even though you would have only been eight years old then, alas!],
When you reach this point in reading this batch of 100 Words, I respectfully request that you stop reading at the end of this entry and send me an email letting me know you have gotten this far. No reason why!
My new boyfriend's new toothbrush has been invited to take up residence in my medicine cabinet, on the same shelf as my toothbrush, dental floss, and a few other discreet items. (The most embarrassing neighbor, on a higher shelf, is an old Garfield nail brush that lords over its own companions and has no idea about the new cohabitation.) Lest the casual observer criticize us for moving too fast in this relationship, please note that his toothbrush is separated from mine by the wide, imposing, body of a Tom's toothpaste tube, which acts as a combination sentinel, chaperone, and confidante.
I realize, madam, that it's imperative that you enlist the aid of the cashier to open the box of hair color to ensure it coordinates with your housecoat, but how is it possible that you don't realize there are people in line this morning, who have places they'd rather be than in Duane Reade clutching Zicam and light bulbs? How is it that you don't hear the shuffle of new feet added to the line, the impatience of weight shifted from one hip to the other while waiting for you to realize you're not the only person in the world?
I'm walking with you to the subway to go downtown on this, the first Saturday whose wind hasn't slapped us in the face, an admonishment to stay indoors. A few steps along the short route, I realize this is the first time we've ever done this. These are steps I've never taken with you.
I've never looked to my right and seen your eyes smiling back at mine, appreciating the brilliance of the day, anticipating the adventure we're going to create -- no, the adventure we've already begun with these literal first few steps. This, sweet boy, is my drug!
We're in the magic and costume shop, and the skinny boy behind the counter asks if we want to see some magic. I want to say, "Here's some magic for you, you pierced hipster," and grab my boyfriend and show him the hearts floating above our heads, Davy Jones style, and the Love American Style firecrackers hovering somewhere near the very tall ceiling of the store. Instead, we acquiesce, even though both of us are secretly wondering if we have to heed the tiny tag on his shirt that encourages tipping. I wish his trick were to make himself disappear.
Ahhh, yes, tomorrow we embark on a fresh new February! Time to start gearing up for two weeks of vehment anti-Valentine's sentiments from pouty people who secretly wish someone (anyone!) would slip perforated-edged Woolworth's valentines into the wistful construction paper mailboxes taped to the side of their desks.
An acquaintance says that often it's not the lonely people who oppose the occasion but self-centered cheapskates who resent having to do something special for their significant other. To anyone enmeshed in that sort of dynamic: Get out of it. Why stick with someone who makes you feel like an insignificant other?
The Tip Jar