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Who the hell am I to feign queasiness when someone talks about blood and/or guts "at the dinner table", when I'm the one who just, as she sat down to pee, grasped in one hand a stack of graham-type crackers and a dozen chocolate chips and munched without blinking as she actually did pee? Who am I to act like I'm so proper that someone else can't talk about something supposedly indelicate when I have a mouthful of Pad Thai, when I'm the one who can be handling toilet paper with one hand while juggling chocolate chips with the other!
He marvels at the ease with which I talk to strangers about the smallest of nothings. He could never do it. It just doesn't come naturally to him. I can tell he's uncomfortable, too, when he's getting his hair cut by "my" guy and he's sort of forced to do the chat thing.
The thing is, it didn't always come so easily. What he doesn't know is that in my teens, I couldn't speak to anyone without writing out a script first. If I didn't plan every word, not one would come out -- and I would stand paralyzed, frozen, silent.
Hoo boy, I'm really going out on a limb now. Really livin' on the edge, flyin' by the seat of my pants, leapin' before I look! Such a maverick, ambling to the mailboxes by the front door and checking my mail -- wearing nothin' but Hello Kitty flannel pajamas.
Shoes? Brushed hair? No and no. Lipgloss? No. Just HK and I, standing at the mailbox, pretending to casually sift through the mail, knowing that, at the slightest sound of someone else getting anywhere even near the hall, I'll be dashing down it as if I were nude and on fire.
The only way I want a "lunch special" is if the food is the same size offered for dinner. I hate when the "special" consists of a meager scoop of the entrée, a heap of rice, and a tiny spring roll that I eat only because I feel sorry for it. How can $6.95 be considered a bargain, if the dinner order (double the size of lunch) of the same food costs only a couple of dollars more.
Give me the dinner-size plate, anytime, damn it. Better a big, wholly satisfying lunch than a huge-ass sit-in-my-stomach-and-give-me-bad-dreams motherfucking dinner any day.
My name is Jodi. With an "i". Not a "y", not an "ie", not an "ee", not an "hqpexybr". If you don't know the correct spelling, apologize in the body of the letter or email so I don't think you're a jackass. I may still think you're a jackass, but at least it will be for something else and I won't have to consider you rude for misspelling my name.
Also: Do not call me "Jodes" or "Jo" or "J-Girl" unless we have an established relationship. Unless you want me calling you "Douchefuck" or "Asshole".
Easy rules. Why not abide?
I detest stand people who, when faced with an array of dessert options, order the "fresh fruit". Let's see. We have a pile of chocolate-coated chocolate topped with chocolate. A torte of some sort that's as dense as a Russian novel. A splendid, foot-high pie baked by Tibetan monks who only surface from their meditation once every 22 years to bake this one pie. Salma Hayek on a silver platter, not sophomorically and moronically drizzled with chocolate, heaped with whipped cream, and topped with a cherry -- just alone in all her delectable glory. Yeah, "fresh fruit" really cuts it.
Her day was long, her work was demanding, and now, at home in her "comfort zone", she needs some "alone time". She needs to "decompress".
I can practically see the word "om" floating through the phone receiver. I flinch as if someone shuffled across carpet and touched his finger to my face.
We talk for longer than I had planned. True, we haven't spoken for a few years, but that doesn't mean we need to drag this out.
She is glad I "reached out". She is thrilled we "connected".
Now I remember why we lost touch in the first place.
At the holiday party, our pretty hostess alone is hoseless. How refreshing! I admire her for being the only girl in a dress who didn't find it necessary to ruin the ensemble with black opaque tights. Oh, silly tights girls, you do know, don't you, that you give me no choice but to wonder what hideous sin you're hiding behind those inky thick monstrosities. Spider and/or varicose veins? Stubble? Bruises? Cellulite? A poorly drawn map of South America? A delightful mélange of some or all of these options? Lose the tights, babes, or I'll be forced to think the worst!
He calls her "Boops", and she calls him "Bomps", and neither of them flinches when thus called. Even in the company of others, they exhibit no embarrassment. They don't giggle or wink at each other or anyone else to indicate that they know it's really corny and stupid and something no one above the age of five should find charming.
"Hello, Boops. Hey, Bomps," I say as I pass their table during Sunday brunch. It seems they do not remember my name, so I say, "It's me: Jumps." They smile up at me with recognition, smile, and greet me accordingly.
Ellen confesses to my grimy office window:
"When everyone else was eulogizing -- and at least two dozen people, out of hundreds in pews and lining the church walls -- got up to say something, I looked through my veil of hair at the teary faces and bit my lip hard so a struggling grin wouldn't emerge. I bit so hard that it brought tears to my eyes, so I at least appeared to be upset. The truth was that I was relieved she'd died. Because now there was one less actress in the world for me to compete against."
Her scalp shows through her hair, and for this I am smug. I have been trying to find something wrong with her since I first saw her, and, having come up woefully empty, I am thrilled to have found something. Something she cannot change or control, something that will no doubt worsen as she ages. I am overjoyed that, at 29 years old, her hair is thin and will only get thinner, and that I, 14 years older, still boast a luxurious mane of hair that shows no signs of letting up. Yes, I am the shallowest person I know.
"I miss your face!"
How many times have I written that in an email? And how many times have I meant it?
I don't know. And every time.
"I miss your face!" isn't "If you're ever in town, call me !" or "Let's figure out a day to have lunch!"
When I tell someone to call me, I usually hope they don't. And if I actually make specific plans for lunch, chances are that once the day arrives, I won't want to go (and will be thrilled if the other party cancels).
But "I miss your face!"? I always mean.
I am reading "Hunger" by Knut Hamsun. If his photograph on Wikipedia is any indication, Mr. Hamsun was quite handsome -- the kind of fellow I'd ogle on a subway platform. With the exception of his eyewear, he appears modern in the photograph, especially his hairstyle. Oh, to have met him on the subway in 1890!
Alas, he was in close contact with a man named Adolph Hitler. Now I think that if we were to chat each other up over a tall glass of coffee, I'd have to put him in the "no, thank you, I'd rather not" category.
"Soulmate? SOULMATE?" Karen says, her eyebrows congregating in the middle of her forehead. "Jesus fucking Christ. I'd be happy with someone I can just tolerate!" She twists her lipstick-smudged mouth to the side to avoid blowing cigarette smoke in my face.
"I hear ya, sister!" I shout, and blow bubbles in my red wine through a striped flexi-straw. "Hallelu-u-u-u-u-yeee-hah!"
She stands and raises her empty glass. "Anyone who uses the word 'soulmate' should be drawn, quartered, dipped in rubbing alcohol, then melted butter, doused with gasoline, and set on fire!"
"Woo!" I say, pounding the air with my fist. "Yeah!"
Whoever is in charge of opening the Laundromat is 20 minutes late, and I have the great misfortune of shivering outside its doors near a cigarette-puffing codger who apparently deems the situation and our proximity enough reason to engage me in what he thinks passes for conversation.
He rants about "the Chinese". Idiots think they're gonna get rich by opening a laundry. Bah! They're not the same as the Japanese and the Koreans, these Chinese.
I consider staring him in the face and telling him my husband is Chinese, but instead avert my eyes and wish for his sudden death.
If New Yorkers have this reputation for always being on the go go GO, then why is it that everywhere I go go go in this city, people seem to slog through molasses under water while wearing brick-shoes? How many times have I been stuck behind some slowpoke whose body, no matter what its size, has the effect of taking up an entire sidewalk? It's like the sloth emanates from the offender's body, oozing out into a gigantic wave-bubble that encapsulates him in a soundproof chamber, rendering him oblivious to the rest of the world. MOVE, people. Just fucking MOVE.
I hear from various sources that P, a "lover" from ten years ago, has gained 40 pounds. He's puffy, they say. Bloated. I imagine him as a combination Pillsbury Doughboy/Frosty the Snowman, with dots for eyes, pressed into a cushion of flesh.
I regret having told him that I'd see him when he visited New York. I thought the guy I'd flirted with was still in great shape. A distance runner. A guy who would never let himself go.
I hate knowing that some flubby guy was the beneficiary of flirting I'd reserved for the hot guy I once knew.
There comes a point during every haircut where I start to panic because I just know he's fucking up and I'm going to wind up leaving the salon the way I did the first time I went to him: like if Joan Jett, David Cassidy, Carol Brady, and Janet from "Three's Company" had a baby, I'd be it. A baby with a bad shag. And then I'll have to sit on the subway with my head down. I only console myself by realizing that the next day, when I style the hair myself, only vestiges of David Cassidy will remain.
The term "hair pie" is enough to cause Keith to laugh so hard he gasps and sputters. Enough to make him whoop it up the way I'm sure many a fourth grader has whooped it up upon hearing that term for the first (or tenth) time. This behavior, from a nine-year-old, would barely amuse me. Coming from a 39-year-old? Repellent.
"For lunch I had a pastrami sandwich," he says, barely able to suppress giggles because he knows that next he'll be telling me what he had for dessert.
Yes, this is the way a 39-year-old virgin spends his hour-long session.
He writes to tell me he's been thinking about my ass. What about my ass, I ask? How good it looks, he says. I tell him it looks even better now, thanks to even more grueling workouts. He tells me he started working out and has lost 15 pounds.
I tell him he had his chance a year ago, and he missed out. He knows, he says. He's kicking (rather, spanking!) himself over it.
I guess now that he thinks he's a stud, he thinks I should think so too.
Am I supposed to respond, "Hey, come 'n' get it"??
The first person I notice when I arrive is the smallish mop-topped black and white dog by the sofa. Instantly, I'm crawling across the floor to reach her. I crouch, smooshing her face and flopping her ears and telling her she's the most beautiful thing and that I love her. I hate that in a moment I'll have to get up and shake the hands of party people I have no desire to meet. I'd rather sprawl on the floor and hold this precious pup's paw for three hours than make hideous tiny talk with anyone else for three minutes.
When Rebecca was in first grade, she was so in love with Tori Spelling's character, Donna Martin, from "Beverly Hills 90210", that she started using "Donna Martin" as her middle name. Her teachers were exasperated when she would not respond, in roll call, to "Rebecca Horowitz". Unless addressed as "Rebecca Donna Martin Horowitz", she would stare ahead, stone-faced, silent, and refuse to be counted.
"What was I thinking?" she says with a laugh, acting as though this is a big breakthrough in her therapy. "Everyone knows Brenda Walsh was cooler!"
These days she responds to "Rebecca Kelly Ripa Horowitz-Klein" only.
"If pressed, I'd have to say scrod," he says as I unwind my scarf from around my neck and slide into the booth across from him.
When setting up this blind coffee date, Mena told me Brian was a bit off-center. I was prepared to meet a zany fella in a bowler or panama hat. Not a freak who apparently was already engaged in a conversation -- with an imaginary blind date.
"Really?" I say. "I'd have to say flounder. No two ways about it."
"You've got some nerve," he says, and answers a cell phone that hasn't even rung.
"I know there's super-secret code in there somewhere," Wendy says. "He speaks to me and only me." She transcribes educational videos for a living, and insists that her latest client, a mild-mannered middle-aged middle school trigonometry teacher from Cleveland, is seducing her via Chapter 3.
"Every time he says 'sine', I KNOW it's a SIGN that he's reaching out to me."
Even if someone invited her for a rare evening out, she wouldn't go. She prefers to stay at home, headset firmly in place, slippered foot on her pedal, and listen to the soft monotone of her unwitting mathematical paramour.
For Christmas, my boyfriend's cousin's girlfriend ('s brother's accountant's sister-in-law's baby's nanny's grandfather's aunt) gave everyone in the house "the best" Brazilian flipflops. In the spirit of the season, everyone ooh'd and aah'd. Later all of the men (except my boyfriend) were wearing them around the house, no doubt because the girlfriend has big blonde torpedo tits.
I don't care where these hideous things are from. Brazil, Japan, Rhode Island. Wal-Mart. They're fucking flipflops. How spectacular can a piece of foamy rubber be? I won't find out, because for some reason Titsy del Rio neglected to give me a pair.
Fresh off the plane in Arkansas and whisked to the glamour of a restaurant called Hog Haus. Yeah, this is going to be a real treat for a vegan like me. Thanks for the accommodation, the personal touch. Oh, what's that? There's a portabello sandwich on the menu? How very cosmopolitan. Even if I could eat the bread (which I can't due to a wheat intolerance), I wouldn't. White flour hell? No thank you.
This was just the start of what was to be four days in hell, and I didn't even have white flour on which to blame it.
His ad said he was "attractive", which should've been the first red flag. It was 1998, and I had not yet learned that if someone is just "attractive", he'll say he's "very good-looking". So "attractive" meant "I am actually quite hideous."
And he was. Fortunately, though, his jacket, while greenish, wasn't as green as he'd told me, because if it were a definite green, it would've made my leap to "frog" easier insofar as his appearance was concerned. No offense to regular frogs, who are adorable, but this fella had their eyes.
All this, and he scolded the waitress. Hideous!
I didn't notice him at first when I stepped into the tub and turned on the water. There I stood, ready to rock 'n 'roll and quite possibly even rumble, and there he stood, motionless, looking up at me like I was the intruder.
"AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!" I yelled, turning off the shower as I stumbled-jumped out of the tub and nearly fell on my face.
He saw me naked! The cockroach saw me sans clothing! I shudder. I cringe audibly.
"Hey, at least I didn't see you wearing the shower cap," he says, with a wink. "Now that'd be a show!"
What's the point of having gorgeous dishes if you're never going to use them? Why set the table with brilliant antique china with a delicious pattern I want to examine with a loupe or pince-nez, only to replace the plates with ordinary blue and white boringware? Are these beautiful dishes ever actually used? Has food ever actually graced their surfaces?
My own mother would never do this. She'd laugh at such inanity.
Once the food is slopped onto the replaced plates, though, I am thankful they are being used and not the gorgeous ones. The antiques don't deserve this disgrace.
At Whole Foods, this guy smiled at me twice and said hello. I thought he was gay, so I smiled back and said hello. When I was done and was upstairs by the revolving doors, getting ready to go out and get a cab, he came up to me and started chatting. He told me he lives in Inwood and is a "roadie" for Lou Reed. He asked me for my email address or phone number or whatever, so I told him I had a boyfriend. When he grinned at me, he revealed teeth of a rotting jack o' lantern.
Clarissa's boyfriend doesn't "get" her. He doesn't understand the humor in drawing Sharpie mustaches on images of people who already have their own mustaches.
v "Look!" she says, the cap of the Sharpie in her mouth, holding up People magazine, pointing to a photo of Tom Selleck, to which she's added a thin black curlicue mustache.
"Why don't you put one on Cameron Diaz?" he says. "Now THAT would be hilarious."
She fights the overwhelming urge to stab him in the throat with the Sharpie.
She breaks up with him the next day.
Yeah. It's the little things that'll doom ya.
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