Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'd forgotten how smart fat kids are

Last Sunday afternoon found me frustrated, sitting on the couch and attempting to tug the fifth or so pair of jeans over my child’s behind.

My mother sat on the opposite couch and as I yanked on the belt loops, jiggling my already jiggling child up and down, our eyes met over her head. Had anyone been looking they would have seen our faces, uncannily similar, struggling to settle on one expression – dismay, amusement, defiance – it was anyone’s game at that point.

I finally turned her around to face mom and raised my eyebrows. “She can’t wear any of these”, I said unnecessarily. Hannah’s underwear stuck out three inches above the straining waistband of a pair of jeans I’d purchased only a little over six months ago, the pockets resting below the curve of a rear I’ve never seen the likes of on any five year old white girl. “These are an 8, mom. An 8!”

She bit her lip and nodded. “We’ll have to go look in the...”

“Don’t say it...”

“Girls plus section”, she said, covering up a snort of laughter with a cough. I couldn’t help it, I wailed. And in between wailing, I let out a few stray hysterical giggles.

“Mom”, the kid whined, “these are too tight.” I peeled the pants from her round legs and watched her galumph away, completely oblivious. “She’s solid”, I said.

It’s what I’d been telling myself and everyone that looked at her for the past few years. She was just a large girl – solid and tall like her father. Thick, like a gymnast. But somehow, in between the time it was true and now, she’d gotten just a bit more than solid. I sighed. “She jiggles.”

Mom, who is always so eloquent, said, “Must be jelly ‘cause jam don’t shake like that.” She used to say the very same thing to me. Because in our world, in order to deal with fat, you made fun of fat. It had always worked for us before, but this was different. I’d been that jiggly child that had to make fun of myself in order to stay sane, to seem like I didn’t care, to verbally punch myself before anyone else got there first. But this was my kid.

I alternately blamed myself and my mother, Jesus and the Pope, the makers of Scooby Doo “fruit” snacks and the woman that handed out cookies in the grocery store.

“It’s because I made fun of Air Hose. Its karma – because I laughed at that gigantic ball of fluff with no neck, my child is on her way to being her twin.”

Then: “It’s your fault”, I hissed at mom, “You give her whatever she wants to eat! Sure, honey! Have another damn Cheeto! Have the whole effing bag! You’re so cute!”

And still more: “Have you ever seen an ass like that on a five year old? Her dad has a lot of Indian blood in they have ghetto asses? Is it hereditary? My ass is flat.”

“She has your hips”, mom said, as if that explained everything. Maybe it did.

I spent the next few days trying to monitor what the kid ate, to see what changes we could make to her diet. It did not go over very well. My suggestions that we eat carrots or celery were met with shock, horror, and several attempted murders – though I can’t really prove anything. I found that altering the eating habits of a five year old is damn near impossible, especially around Halloween.

On Tuesday I had my first PTA meeting, directly followed by something called “Kindergarten/Family night”. In a characteristic moment of shrewdness, I insisted that mom accompany me. We could sit next to each other, make fun of the other parents behind their backs, and avoid lengthy conversations with any overly enthusiastic teachers. I may have pitched it to her a bit differently, though.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the meeting. Would I have to talk? Would they ask me to vote on anything? Could I pop outside for a smoke break? Would there be a snack table I’d have to drag my salivating child away from?

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried so much. We sat in the rather full auditorium and listened to the principal and a few faculty members talk about PTA fees and a fundraiser. Then we spent the next 10 minutes watching a rather pointless display on how to operate their new website. And when I say “listened” and “watched”, what I really mean is we sat there and looked around at everyone else trying to control their children and chatting amongst themselves. Then it was off to the Kindergarten hall for family fun night and a book fair.

There were germ breeders everywhere – running, squealing, knocking into the backs of my knees. I had to push down the urge to swipe at them like an angry bear. I stood in line to sign the attendance form and pick up an information packet, occasionally tossing mom looks of loathing since she was positioned by the wall and out of the line of fire.

Packet secured, I returned to her side and the three of us poured over the pages. It was filled with various “fun” activities to choose from. The parent/child team would move from classroom to classroom, participating in any of the “skill building” (etc) activities they wanted. Looking around at the chaos, I couldn’t imagine anything I’d rather do less.

My general idea of parent/child fun activities are: A) beating her in Monopoly (and various other board games), B) a rousing game of hide and seek (where she usually ends up spending more time in the closet than she bargained for), C) allowing her to help clean my room, and D) playing the quiet game. D is my favorite by far, but A is a damn close second. I do love to win.

We started in her classroom, making a beeline for an activity table with one empty chair left. As Hannah settled herself, I started eyeballing the other families. At first I was just checking to see what everyone else was doing and if I could possibly get away with standing there unobtrusively. Then I noticed one family in particular. The parents were standing across from me behind their son’s chair. Or rather, I assume he was sitting on a chair. He was so large that his bottom seemed to droop on either side of where the chair was supposedly hidden underneath him, like the dough of a pizza about to be tossed in the air. His father was a beefy man in work boots, with a mustache that curled more than is strictly necessary, and his mother had a long, plain face that greatly resembled a donkey.

Mom kicked my foot, obviously noticing them at the same time, and I kicked her back, coughing to cover up a snicker. I tried to keep my eyes averted while I helped the kid place balls of cotton on her paper sheep, but it became increasingly difficult when Dough Boy let out a wail and demanded they move on to the “snack” game immediately. Apparently he’d just realized the cotton balls weren’t actually edible.

Awhile later, after we’d gotten safely away, I looked down at my daughter. “Hey, kid. Who was that boy at the sheep table?”

“Which one”, she asked.

“The really fat one.”

“Oh. That’s Christopher. He’s in my class. He gets two snack packs in his lunchbox”, she declared pointedly.

“Hmm”, I said absentmindedly. If she wanted an extra snack pack, she was just going to have to sneak them like I did at that age.

I was feeling a little better about the size of my kid at that point (not to mention her behavior). She wasn’t sloppy and snack crazed like her classmate. So what if she had a J-Lo booty? I hadn't exactly been the poster child for healthy choices and look at me now - fit as a fiddle...ish.

When we sat down at the “snack activity” table, the boy and his unfortunate parents were long gone. Amazingly there were still edible materials left. While Hannah sat in her chair, I leaned over and instructed. Take two Ritz crackers and spread them with chocolate icing. Then press eight straight pretzel sticks into the icing on one cracker, four on each side. Place the other cracker on top, closing it all in. Dab two small dots of icing on top and stick a raisin on each one. Ta-Da! You now have a Spider snack.

There were plenty of other activities to do, but once we’d spent almost 15 minutes coloring pieces of a dog and sticking them on a brown paper bag to make a puppet, I decided to call it a night. Mom had driven separately so Hannah and I walked off in the opposite direction.

Reaching the car, I buckled her in and attempted to hand her the plate with her spider snack.

“I don’t want that”, she said.

“Ok.” I climbed into the front seat, placed the plate on the passenger side, and drove away. Every now and then I’d glance over at the chocolate smeared mess. I love pretzels and chocolate together so it was more than just a little tempting.

“Hey, kid, you aren’t going to eat this thing”, I asked, holding up the plate.

“No. I don’t like it.”

“So can I have it?”

She was silent for a long moment. I glanced at her in my rearview. She was staring at me thoughtfully, her head tilted to one side, her stubby fingers drumming the armrest of her seat. Finally she answered, in a completely serious tone.

“I don’t know, mom. Don’t you think you should have a nice carrot instead?”

Monday, October 25, 2010

100 Words: Email

Last night I watched a show about hoarders.

This woman was so emotionally attached to her, for lack of a better term, crap, that she couldn’t get rid of anything. When someone suggested she try separating herself, one item at a time, she broke down.

Today I was looking through my email and thought, “I should clear this out.”

I periodically clean out my inbox, but my folders are reminiscent of that hoarder’s rooms – riddled with debris.

I was nervous because there’s no going back from deletion, but I was doing an ok job.

Well, until I got to yours.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Interview

I'm always interested when I see that a blogger is being interviewed - both for the types of questions that are asked and the answers to those questions. The thing is, though, that most of those interviews are actually just questionnaires. There isn't any real interaction between the question asker and the person that's answering, the questions aren't usually tailored to that specific person, and let's be honest - it seems to be the same gig over and over.

So, I asked someone to help me put a spin on the blog interview process. Rather than just emailing me a list of standard questions, I asked that he email only one and wait for my answer before deciding what to ask next. I also chose someone that I thought would ask unique and difficult questions...and he didn't disappoint. Some were so hard to answer that I might have even stamped my foot once or twice.

My interviewer is Mr. London Street - a fantastic writer and a good friend. His contributions are in bold.


I'm always struck by the idea of boundaries; how some bloggers will tell you about everything and anything (especially their sex lives) whether you want them to or not whereas other bloggers barely talk about anything above the mundane. What, if any, are your no-go areas?

Wow. Starting off with a bang, aren't we?

Obviously I don't care much for boundaries where blogging is concerned. This is the age of "too much information" and I enjoy participating in it. Being honest, over sharing, ignoring boundaries others wouldn't dare - it’s an addictive, heady feeling. I think part of the reason I feel that way is that I had a real problem being honest when I was younger.

My old issues aside - There are always going to be people that dislike what I have to say and I will always be crossing someone's boundaries. Fact is, I like being shocking...and as far as the topic of sex is concerned, its full steam ahead.

If I have any no-go areas, I haven't yet run across them. Maybe one day, if I'm ever married or in a serious committed relationship, that will change. Then again, maybe they'll be boundary pushers too and shrug as I type away about their bedroom preferences, et al.

How important do you think the social element of blogging is? Do you mainly see it as a medium to write and get your writing read by other people, and how much of it is about other people's writing and getting to know them?

I've enjoyed reading the blogs of the friends I've made and I've enjoyed getting to know them, but yes, this is largely a medium to write and have my writing read.

I think of blogland as being split into three sections - 1) bloggers that blog, 2) writers that blog, and 3) readers that do neither. It is much easier for me to connect with writers that blog because, like me, they tend to be more selfish and understand when I say things like "I just spent an entire day reading my own archives". We take this blogging gig far more seriously than others and we're always trying to improve, because we want more. This isn't just a hobby - it’s a stepping stone. Or rather, we hope it is.

I think the social element of blogging is very important, which is funny because obviously I would rather write than socialize. People respond more to bloggers that reach out and connect with their audience outside of the comment section. However, regardless of how much I enjoy my blogroll, I don't add new blogs to my reader often and I will always prefer to write rather than read. It is, as they say, "all about me".

That sounded terribly bitchy, didn't it? A third of you won't think so.

I'm impressed to see such an honest answer. Some bloggers can get away with that and get really huge without ever replying to a single comment or giving a single award; the rest of us have to toil away knowing we'll never find it that easy. Whose success do you envy?

Yes, that's true. And speaking of awards, I wish there were more out there without all the bloody stipulations. I don't participate as much as I used to and that's mainly because all of them require the same thing - Answer these 7 questions and tag 7 people! I love receiving them because it means I'm liked, and lord knows I love talking about myself, but you can only answer the same question so many times. There are a few out there that come with no strings attached, that are simply there to acknowledge a great bit of writing, but there ought to be more. (Hint, hint.) I'd make one myself, but I'm not nearly popular enough to pull it off.

Whose success do I envy? Anyone that's been able to use blogging to propel them into the writing arena of their choice. I generally stay away from the "famous" blogger's sites though because I've never found one that didn't irritate me. They're so full of ads and propaganda. Where's the damn writing? I'll probably never be one of them because I refuse to ever put an ad on my blog...turning it into, basically, a stat counter with pretty pictures and a few paltry sentences.

You know what I envy more than success? Talent.

Okay. We might come back to that in a while. In a meantime, imagine that eventually they make the movie of your life. I'm not going to ask you who'd play you, that's far too boring and obvious a question. Instead, I want you to describe to me the opening scene, which has no dialogue at all. What does it show you doing? What does it look like? And what's the song playing to kick off the soundtrack?

The first scene starts with a completely black screen. There are faint murmurs, a cough. With a loud pop a spotlight comes on and wavers a moment before highlighting a lone figure on a stage.

The figure squints, her round face pale, teeth clenched in a grimace that intentionally fails to be a smile. Beads of sweat appear above the thin red line of her upper lip and she blows the bangs of her frizzy, white blonde hair up with a single quick puff of air before clenching her teeth again. A black and gold spandex outfit hugs her too large frame and the sequins around the elastic cuffs squeeze notable indentations into the exposed flesh on her thighs and arms.

Another pop fills the silence, then the hiss of an old sound system coming to life. Just as the first strains of Crystal Water's song "100% Pure Love" begin, and the girl's wide hips reluctantly start to swish back and forth, a loud laugh echoes across the space.

The girl gallops and scuffles through her routine, her steps pounding along just a bit off from the beat. As she breathlessly hits her finishing stance she raises her jazz hands high overhead and let's her middle fingers detach from the rest, flicking toward the politely applauding crowd.

Brilliant. I want to watch what happens next now. What do you think would surprise people who read your writing most, were they to meet you in person?

I suppose that all depends. I've never asked my readers what, if any, preconceived notions they have about me. They could be surprised to know that I have a loud, obnoxious laugh or that my feet are enormous and I trip over them constantly. Little things that aren't really of any consequence.

But probably they'd be more surprised by how awkward I am. I'm far more comfortable with writing than I am speaking. I'm not an unintelligent woman and I believe that, for a person of my age and limited education, I have quite an extensive vocabulary. However, I suppose in person that could be misconstrued - partially because of my southern accent and shortening of most words in the English language, and partially because of my undeniable urge to use swear words in every other sentence.

I make friends relatively well, but I'm always very nervous when I meet a new person. Sometimes I stumble over my words and ramble a bit in the beginning. It takes me awhile to get settled.

Since I haven't yet had an opportunity to meet another blogger, who has gotten to know me already through my writing, I don't know if it will be the same. I'm hoping that it will be less awkward than meeting a relative stranger. You'll have to let me know how I do.

I wonder whether that's true of a lot of bloggers. I suspect there's often an element of constructing a persona which more closely reflects who we'd like to be, like Second Life avatars. What's your biggest disappointment in writing so far? And which of your posts are you most disappointed that people didn't love? Be honest, we've all got at least one.

I think maybe my biggest disappointment is that I can't seem to make it all come together. I write blog post after blog post, but when I've tried to sit down and think of, or write, something on a larger scale I become overwhelmed and I panic.

It happens with some of my longer posts - I get paranoid about how lengthy they become and I end up essentially cutting my story off at the knees and sewing the pieces back together, minus a few inches. Conclusions are something I often struggle with anyway, because I get so caught up in writing the meat of a story that I forget what the main ingredient was supposed to be. I may have had a point to make in the beginning, but let me start concentrating on the little details and it all falls to shit.

A more specific and recent disappointment, one that's really been eating me, is a post I attempted to write and never finished. It's about my mother. I have two pages of material and it just isn't right - it's too hard. There are so many layers to our relationship and I'm afraid I can never peel them all back sufficiently enough to make people see the whole picture. And having them only see part of the picture is out of the question. So, it sits mocking me in my documents folder and I've almost started to hate it.

Which of my posts am I most disappointed people didn't love? That's hard. I think I've been pretty lucky because the posts I'm proud of have gotten a decent amount of praise. I don't get many "that was total shit" comments and on the occasion that I have, my readers rally like a mob of villagers with torches. It's awesome.

But there is one that is a secret favorite of mine; one I wish everyone would have oohed and ahhed over more (though I never would have admitted it before).

I wrote it in about 20 minutes or less. It's full of run-on sentences and things that would normally drive me (and a lot of writers) crazy, but I love it. It's a lot like how I am with my friends - random, eccentric, always trying to make people laugh even when the joke is on me. And, at the risk of crawling even further up my own ass, it kind of reminds me of a Vince Vaughn monologue. It's this one: “Does it feel hot in here to you? Must be me. Do do CHHH!” Great title, right?

One thing I'm really struck by about your blog is that it doesn't say a lot about where you live. Tell me a bit about your home town, what you like and don't like about it. If someone visited you for 24 hours where would you take them, what would you show them and what would you do?

What can I say about small town America that hasn't been said before? Everyone knows your name, your medical history, and how much you deposit in your bank account every other Friday evening. It's a living, breathing Norman Rockwell painting. I alternately love and hate it.

I'm the sort of person that craves culture and new experiences yet, because of where I live, rarely have the opportunity to go after them. I often feel smothered by my lack of options. There aren't any fantastic art museums or ancient ruins. There aren't any chic boutiques or glamorous restaurants. If you want to go to a movie, go bowling, do much of anything have to go into the city almost an hour away.

However, there are almost just as many days when I can't imagine living anywhere else. It is a very beautiful place.

The town itself is tiny; there's only one stoplight. Main Street is lined on one side with old buildings - some painted, some left to their original brick, and one renegade furniture store paneled with dark wood. They are all smashed together, some with roofs shaped as you'd see them in an old western. The drugstore still has its original sign and you can still buy an ice cream cone inside from the old fashioned counter.

On the other side of the street there's a small gas station, a Laundromat, and row of shops. The shop on the end would be almost invisible if its far wall that meets the end of the sidewalk wasn't covered in an enormous mural of rolling green hills, sheep, and a cartoon man in lederhosen. It’s a German restaurant that's almost never open, run by an eccentric German woman that chain smokes and shows everyone pictures of her passel of German Shepherds. She wears bright red lipstick and complains loudly, and in a thick accent, about the lack of appreciation for German cuisine. She only takes reservations when she feels like it and there's never a menu - you eat what she fixes or you don't eat at all.

The town square is immediately past the restaurant and contains a small parking lot and a very large old clock. Directly behind the clock is a white gazebo surrounded by grass and flowers - it's where the old ladies sit during every parade, whispering behind their fans and watching their husbands nearby. On one side of the square are a hardware store and a steakhouse made to look like a stable, but with two stained glass windows on either side of the bright red doors. On the other side the buildings, a salon and an antique store, are fronted in huge glass panes; a derelict looking dry cleaners seems stuck on as an afterthought, when in fact it's been there forever.

If you continue down Main Street things spread out a bit. You'd run into two banks, a crumbling brick apartment building, the old elementary school that now serves as a police station, a few churches, a baseball field, and "the walking track" where the high school kids park on Friday and Saturday nights. With nothing else to do but eat and shop, walking around a pavement oval and sitting on tailgates in the adjacent parking lot is what passes for entertainment.

My house is about 15 to 20 minutes outside of town - 10 when I'm feeling reckless. Houses, trees, churches, and a lone country gas station are about all there is to see between point A and point B, but it's a lovely drive none the less. As I've said before, I live by the lake so I feel I'm lucky there. I've never been much on nature, but watching the sun set over the water still has the ability to make my throat feel tight.

So, obviously, 24 hours would be plenty of time to show someone everything there is to see. I'd take them on a boat ride and show them the marina, maybe browse through the antique store and have dinner at the pizza parlor. Then, if they were really lucky, I'd take them to an authentic country a barn. We'd play beer pong, discuss the merits of light vs. dark beer, and argue over who likes Johnny Cash the most.

Have you ever travelled outside the States? If not, where's on your wish list?

Yes, I took a two week trip to Spain when I was in high school. It wasn't a school sponsored trip, but rather a tour group open to anyone that wanted to go and put together by our Spanish teacher every other year. We toured the whole country, hitting a lot of the major cities, and took a day trip to Morocco. It was the most fantastic thing I've ever done.

I had a wish list of destinations before I went to Spain, but it's since multiplied. Ireland, England, France, Peru, Australia, Switzerland, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I want to see and experience them all...and I will.

What's the appeal of Switzerland? I'm genuinely interested in how people outside Europe might see it, because believe me, in England it's known for chocolate, neutrality, Nazi gold and euthanasia clinics. Are you a big Sound Of Music fan or something?

Yes I am. I adore the Sound of Music. What of it?

I suppose the majority of the appeal is in the scenery. And of course the fact that it isn't here. Besides, I love chocolate.

But...euthanasia clinics for what, exactly?

Well, euthanasia clinics are for euthanasia (what do you mean "for what?" honestly). It's not legal in England so people fly off to Switzerland to die with dignity in a special clinic. Or they just go somewhere like Croydon for a weekend and find that the will to live soon ups and leaves.

Here's a question for you. Why didn't you have an abortion? Was it a difficult or an easy decision to have your daughter?

I worked for a vet's office for two years so when I hear euthanasia, I automatically think about animals. I've never heard of a euthanasia clinic for people - that's what I meant.

I had an abortion when I was 17 so when I got pregnant again a year later, I was afraid to tell my mother that "oops, I know we spent all that money fixing my life once already, but we're going to have to do it again".

I never wanted to have children and when I found out I was pregnant again, by someone that had told me that was impossible (yes, I was naive), I immediately planned to have another abortion without telling my family. He said he would help me with the money for the procedure, and then promptly disappeared.

Then I did what I do best and procrastinated. I ignored what was going on with my body because I was too terrified to do anything else. So the decision to have her was more like indecision turned inevitable action. I put it off so long that I had no other option.

It was my decision to keep her, not have her, that was the difficult part. I seriously considered adoption for awhile, but ultimately my family swayed my vote. My mother wanted me to keep her and she promised to help me raise her. And she has.

When she was born (I never thought it through before the fact...not really) I realized that nothing would ever be the same, that my life would never be easy again. But she's been, and will always be, worth every single sacrifice.

Which things about your writing would you least like your mother to read? What about, one day, your daughter?

Well, funny you should mention that. Sometimes, when I haven't quite finished a post, I'll print them out to read over and edit later. Recently my mother came across two of them. The first was “Love is blind, friendship tries not to notice” and she said, "You really are a good writer. You get that from your mother." The second, "Safe Words (Alternate title: No pain, no gain)", was met with considerably less enthusiasm. "You really shouldn't leave these lying around where anyone could read them. Disgusting!"

Truthfully, if I didn't live with her, she could read my blog all she likes. But since I currently do its best if she doesn't. We fight often enough already and if I were to mention her, unfavorably or not, it would just spark another argument. She became aware that I was writing a blog at the beginning of this year, though she isn't privy to the address of course, and has said many times since, "You'd better not be putting shit about me on there!" She's very sensitive.

Though it would make me a tad uncomfortable for her to know so much about my sex life, which I write about quite frequently, I could get over it.

As for my daughter...I'm not ashamed of anything I write. When she's old enough, she's more than welcome to read all of my archives. I've been systematically printing them out and putting them in a binder so maybe one day she'll read them all and say, "God, my mother was embarrassing...but funny." Who knows, maybe they'll go a long way in helping with her inevitable therapy sessions.

What's your favourite item of clothing that you've ever owned? Tell me what it looked like and, more importantly, what it meant to you.

I was never a very stylish person. My school years were riddled with embarrassing clothing choices; I honestly can't believe anyone would be seen speaking to me. Being a large girl didn't help either - for some reason the people that make plus size clothing for girls and women seem to think you shouldn't dress mutton as lamb, and they chose the most horrendous cuts and patterns. Between my mother's love of all things frilly, my own misguided choices, and the (as my Papa used to say) seamstresses at the local tent and awning store...I developed an unhealthy hate for clothing in general.

But over the past few years I've gotten a lot better. I've become more adept at picking items that flatter me and I think it's safe to say that I've finally formed my own sort of style.

Rather than just one item of clothing, I have a favorite outfit. It's so simple, but it gave me a confidence I hadn't felt before. Three (or was it four?) years ago I bought a pair of tight, dark blue jean capris that you could cuff if you wanted; unrolled they reached about mid-calf and I preferred them that way. I'd had them for awhile before I went on vacation to Oklahoma to visit my dad. While I was there I went shopping with my stepsister and stepbrother, looking for an outfit to go out clubbing. I ended up picking out a plain white V-neck t-shirt, a plain black button up vest, a black trilby hat, and a pair of red and black Kenneth Cole strappy high heels.

When I went out that that night, I knew I was hot. I danced on a stage, something that would usually take a large amount of alcohol for me to even consider, and I walked around in those shoes like I owned the place. I've played at that sort of thing before, but that was the first time I actually felt that sort of confidence. In the past it was "fake it till you drink enough". And even though by the time the sun came up I was hobbling (and sneaking) barefoot from a cab to the front door, bruised and looking a lot worse for wear, that night and that outfit were the start of a beautiful relationship between me, myself, and I. I still have bad days, like every other woman, but most people are surprised when they realize just how healthy my ego really is.

The sad part is I only got to wear the outfit that launched my vanity once more. A few months after its second debut, it was packed in an overnight bag and left in my (accidentally) unlocked car downtown while I went out drinking with my best friend. When we stumbled out of the bar a few hours later, we realized that someone had taken the bag full of clothes. I still have the shoes, as I was wearing them at the time, and my hat which I'd left at home, but the rest was gone. Now every time I'm downtown I stare at the bums that wander by, wondering if they're the ones that took my clothes...and if they're wearing my underwear.

One last question: what question were you most dreading that I'd ask?

I wouldn't really say I was dreading a specific question, but I hoped you wouldn't ask any that I would have to decline to answer.

I wanted to be completely candid for this interview and that wouldn't have worked well had you asked me something that would betray someone's confidence (someone that reads this, obviously) or like, oh, "how many people have you slept with". Because there's no way in hell I'd answer that publicly. (So, back to your first question, apparently there is a no-go.) Unless, of course, I'd stand to make a large sum of money from sharing such information. It happens, you know - just look at Chelsea Handler.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Unseeing Eye

I can be nice when I want to be. That’s why I’m giving you fair warning (especially any family members, boyfriends of family members, or squeamish old people) – this post is about butthole (dis)pleasures. And just so we’re clear, being warned means you can’t complain if you read on and feel the urge to vomit, actually vomit, or maybe just die a little inside. I know I’ll likely participate in two out of three just by writing this.


I was involved in a casual sexual relationship with The Fireman for a little over five years. He was a complete dick, but great in bed and, I’ve gathered, far more experimental than most men his age.

I had a lot of firsts with him – choking, an actual working threesome, handcuffs, pictures, shower sex, watching porn together, and more. But the most memorable experience he introduced me to, as you’ve already gathered, was anal sex.

Women have a way of saying no to anal sex without actually opening their mouths – it’s a bit like boxing. He does a bit of jabbing around, pretending to be going for one hole, when he’s actually faking you out and making a play for the exit. But with a quick shift, a bob and a weave so to speak, the woman throws him off balance and directs him back to the preferred course. Most men will recognize that for what it is – a body language “hell to the nah” – but there are always a few that can’t be deterred. I’ve been in a battle like that more than once: they kept trying, I kept dodging, and pretty soon we were locked in a dance worthy of Muhammad Ali. The end result was never pretty. No, or a sucker punch to the head, does in fact mean no.

The Fireman, thwarted more than once, finally decided he was going to win our ongoing asshole battle by stealth. And by stealth, I mean he waited until I came over one night blitzed out of my mind, talked me into getting in the shower, and pretended we weren’t doing anything but having a jolly, soapy old time.

I was blissfully unaware of the danger lurking behind me when I bent to pick up a rag from the tub floor. Then, suddenly, before I had a chance to stand back up he...well, he attacked me from the rear. With gusto. I would have shrieked, but I had to grab the sides of the tub to keep from toppling over and, as luck would have it, my head was directly under the spray. Every time I tried to open my mouth, water filled it; mascara burned by eyes and matted them closed. It’s a wonder I didn’t drown, and to say I was traumatized would be putting it mildly.

The next day we had a family dinner and I drew more than my fair share of attention with my duck like walk and geriatric sitting techniques. My cousin Christine, who I unfortunately told everything to back then, found it hilarious and made sure to work in plenty of snide remarks and ass slapping. “It’s all fun and games until someone gets ass raped in the shower”, I shouted at Christine. “I could’ve died! My obituary would have read, “Poor young woman dies from ripped rectum/drowning!”

And my best friend was also unmoved, telling me that I should’ve just done what she had done from the beginning. “The first time they try it or ask you to try it, just say ‘Why, are you a fag?’. They generally don’t ask again.”

Though The Fireman did indeed ruin my first anal sex experience, its more than safe to say that I’d never planned on having one to begin with anyway; it wasn’t something I’d been even remotely curious about. For a while after that episode, every time a man suggested or attempted it, I became borderline hysterical. There was no more body language bobbing and weaving, it was simply “don’t you even think about putting it in my ass, motherfucker”. I found out that there’s a whole clan of straight men that pursue asshole sex with a passion. It seemed like every man I slept with wanted to be a bun bandit.

Then, as most of you already know, I had quite a lengthy dry spell. Now, if there was one good thing about being celibate for almost nine months, it was that no one was trying to make me a human hot dog. But that also means that I forgot to be vigilant, to expect it, to be ready with a karate chop to the jugular if need be.

The first time I had sex again it was, as I said here, with Sam. And it was fantastic. It was hot, it was freaky, and so what if he did slip one little finger in there mid romp? It didn’t hurt and I was so busy with the rest, I barely even noticed. He has long, thin piano player fingers because, you know, he plays piano and just...there was only one. The only definitive reason I can come up with for why my ass didn’t blow the rape whistle is, I suppose, because the rest of my body was too busy trilling to the tune of “Whistle while you work”.

I didn’t think anything of it – it never crossed my mind again. Until the last time I went over there.

Everything started off grand. I showed up at his house dressed to fall over on my face in a tight black skirt, a ruffled blouse with an easy access zipper on the side, and the strappy caged high heels he liked so much. We were supposed to go out for dinner, but after a few minutes of distracted conversation on the couch, it was clear that dinner would simply have to wait.

I was sitting astride his lap, shirt off and skirt ruched up around my waist when he stopped kissing me and said, “Bedroom. Now.” Standing up, I clacked up the stairs and down the hallway to his room. I hopped up on his bed, crawled to the middle, turned around, and started to pull my shoes off. “Did I tell you to take those off”, he asked, throwing his clothes left and right. “Nope”, I said laughing.

He was being a lot more forceful that he’d been before and that should have been warning number two (after the piano finger, you know). Forceful and hyped up are butt sex indicators, apparently. To his credit he waited until later, two O faces in to be precise, to pull his shenanigans.

I was on top, working on O face numero tres (perhaps to the rhythm of Digital Underground’s The Humpty Dance) when he said, “You know what I want?”

No, I didn’t. I had no idea; because I was too busy getting what I wanted. But I got all excited thinking it was going to be something awesome like, “I want you to let me slather you in Chick-fil-a dipping sauce, maybe slap your ass once or twice.” (He’s not really a hitter.) Or, you know, something simple like, “I want to make you scream”. Everybody likes screaming.

“Tell me”, I said – not breaking pace, because I’m a hardcore rodeo bitch like that. (“...I’m a freak. I like the girls with the BOOM...I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom...”)

He stared at me. I stared at him. He stared at me. I started to get nervous. He stared at me. I stopped waving my arm in a circle over my head and kicking his legs with my heels.

“Get on your knees.”

Happy clap! Doggie style! OOWA OOWA! We’ll get back to the Humpty Dance later.

Staring nerves temporarily forgotten, I did as he asked. But then, leaning over, he whispered in my ear the words I should have known were coming. “I wanna fuck you in the ass.”

“Um...I don’t...err...not really my thing...”

But for some ungodly reason, I ended up eventually agreeing. Maybe it’s because I like him and wanted to please him; I don’t really know. Either way, it turned out that done correctly (and by correctly I mean with a warning and lube), it isn’t painful at all.

That does not mean I enjoyed it. On the contrary, it did nothing for me what so ever. I thought it was extremely weird and I was counting down the minutes until it was over. And when it was, he was so happy that I didn’t have the heart to tell him what I was thinking the majority of the time: “I’m totally having prison sex right now. This is what people do in jail. Ohmygawd I'm his bitch. I wonder what they use for lube...ew, no I don’t. I said what what in the butt...”

Later, stretched out beside him, we talked about it. I relayed my horror story and he looked appalled. “No wonder”, he said, rubbing my hip. But he also went on to tell me just how much he enjoys that particular pastime and how much he was looking forward to doing it again...among other things, but still. Ugh.

On my way home that night, after a comfortable few hours of pizza and movies, I wondered if I would let him do it again. I thought to myself, “Even though it does nothing for doesn’t hurt. And he really likes it. Maybe it could be like a ‘you’ve been a very good boy’ treat.”

However, I formed a very different opinion over the next few days.

I typically stop by the makeup store on my way home and catch up with the women folk – my lovely godmom and her sidekick, the hilarious Jules, who is also doing the online dating gig. We share our horror stories, our sex stories, our “you’d better never breathe a word of that to anyone stories”...and we laugh a lot.

That, of course, means they have to be kept up to date on all things Sam related...and no subject is taboo.

“How was the other night”, they asked.

“I let him put it in my butt”, I said matter of factly.

They laughed. And knowing my unhappy history with anal sex, then they asked questions.

“It wasn’t bad. I mean, it didn’t really hurt or anything.” I went on to explain the logistics of the encounter.

“So are you going to do it again?”

“Well here’s the thing. I’ve decided that it’s not the act that bothers me anymore, it’s the after affects. For almost two days after that my ass was FUCKED UP, ok! It was just...things were...gross...not cool. I don’t remember that happening before. My body was taking its revenge.”

They laughed, the bitches. And while they were laughing, Jules threw her palms in the air, made an ‘oh no’ face and said, “Your ass was like...GASP! Someone’s been here!”

Then I was laughing even harder than they were. Someone may or may not have said, “Abort, abort”, but I don’t rightly remember because I was too busy dancing in place with my legs crossed, trying not to pee.

Yes, we’re classy like that.

So, anyway, now over a week has gone by since I’ve seen Sam. He was out of town this past weekend with the boys, but he let me know when he got back on Sunday (which was cute and unexpected). We’re supposed to see each other later this week and, unfortunately, I need to have two very important conversations with him.

The first is the typical female need for clarification – I need to know if all he wants is sex...he’s never actually said exactly what he wants. I like him, but I find myself falling into my same old habits. We hang out and we talk, but the majority of the time we’ve spent together, we’ve spent in the bedroom. And even though I do immensely enjoy the (normal) sex, that’s not all I want anymore. It’s great that we want to rip each other’s clothes off, but I also want someone to go out and do things with more often, to meet my friends and come to the Halloween party. I (holy shit) actually want to date.

This is all very new to me and I want to be as honest as humanly possible without sounding like a needy girl. And I don’t think of myself that way, really, because even though I like him a lot, I’m not emotionally invested at this point. So I’m going to ask him where we stand and, hopefully, I’ll do it in a way that makes me sound normal...because sometimes I get nervous when I have to talk about shit like that.

Then, of course, the second important conversation we need to have (if we even need to have it after the first one is over) is about my ass. I’m looking forward to that one even less. Because, honestly, how am I supposed to tell him it isn’t going to happen anymore? We’ve already had the “that wasn’t so bad, was it” conversation. How do I explain?

Do I just come out and say,

“Listen, I don’t particularly like it and it doesn’t do anything for me. However, I was prepared to take one for the team every now and then because you enjoyed it so much. But you know...later...Sigh. Um. See, it’s like this:

Sometimes, in the case of organ transplants, the body will reject the foreign organ. The immune system’s job is to say “bitch, that don’t belong here” and then it goes all kung fu on said organ and tries to destroy it, which causes all sorts of problems. They have medicine to help with that, but it still happens sometimes.

Basically what I’m trying to tell you is that my ass rejected your dick and tried to destroy it, several hours later and for a period of almost two days, in a very unpleasant manner...but your dick wasn’t there anymore so I’m the only one that had to suffer. At the moment I’m unaware of a pill I can swallow that will make my ass happier about being invaded, and I’m worried that next time it’ll realize your dick is there much sooner than it did previously and...well, you know. Plus, I really don’t like spending that much time on the toilet. I don’t know how you men do all that reading there, it isn’t comfortable.”

That’s what I’m working with right now, and I have less than a few days to polish it up and have it ready for presentation. I’ll draw a diagram if I must. It has to happen, no matter how uncomfortable a conversation it will be, because there is no fucking way I’m going through that shit again. Pun, unfortunately, completely intended.

“Peace and humptiness forever.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Skin deep

Were we the same age, we’d be almost identical.

Our noses are the same – pointy with a funny dip on the tip. Eyes shaped the same, though hers are a shade darker than my greenish brown. Our top lips are thin, chins rounded, and hair a curly mess.

People have always drawn attention to our physical similarities. I’ve been not just her sister, but her twin on countless occasions.

Shock often follows the revelation that I’m her daughter...

Then we look at each other, her smile meeting my smirk – our unspoken code that says more than we ever could aloud.


My friend Mr. London Street started this lovely blog tradition: 100 word posts. He often invites others to give it a try - so I thought I would. You should check out his previous efforts, the latest of which is about Zombies. He's always taking suggestions for new pop on over, recommend a subject or two, and tell him what you think of his idea.

It is a lot harder than I thought to write only 100 words about a subject. I'm typically an overwriter, so this was particularly challenging. But I liked it, so I might just do it again.


Just a quick, somewhat unrelated note: I'd like to thank all of the "lurkers" that have come out of hiding recently. I've been terribly lax about responding to comments lately, but I want you all to know that there's nothing better than receiving a comment from someone you didn't know was reading. And of course, new readers - thanks to you too. :)

If you're wondering what's coming up here, I'll give you a sneak peak: There's a rather risque blog post in the works (that I mentioned briefly on Twitter) and perhaps a new take on the art of blogger interviewing.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Leighatard (Get it? She hates that.)

There was a howling, an anguished unearthly wailing, coming from across the hall that sent me scurrying toward her door. The closet was slightly ajar, leaving strips of light across the otherwise darkened room. I absentmindedly patted the head of the worried dog as I made my way to the bed. She was curled in a tight ball around her pillow, her thin back shaking with the effort to control the shrieks that escaped between clenched teeth.

I sat on the edge of the bed and smoothed the hair back from her face. “What’s wrong, honey...what’s going on?”

“I...can’t...c-c-c-can’t do it!” Her wailing got louder and she writhed in place as if in physical pain.

After a few minutes of petting and coaxing, I managed to figure out the source of the problem – that damn boy. Their relationship had been rocky for several months and he’d broken up with her a week before this meltdown. She seemed fine for awhile; she even turned him down when he came crawling back a day later. He wasn’t what she needed in her life, she said, his path was filled with trouble. And I wholeheartedly agreed.

As I watched my little sister’s heart break over a two year relationship I thanked God, or whoever was listening, that no man had ever broken me down that way. Not that I would even let them, I silently added. I held her, rocked her, told her everything was going to be ok, and finally left her when she was quiet and calm.

She had a few more episodes just like that over the following weeks. I became less patient, less kind, and more irritated with each one. During the last, I informed her that if she woke me with that noise again, I would punch her in the ovaries. I have a startlingly low threshold for handing out sympathy, though I often demand plenty of it from others.

We are polar opposites, my sister and I. Dark versus fair, common sense versus book smarts, earnest versus lackadaisical, right versus wrong,(though the lines on that last one are blurring more as she gets older) fire versus ice – she’s blazing a path, and I’m perpetually frozen.

I admit, she’s everything I wanted to be in high school – pretty, popular, thin, captain of the cheerleading squad (though that was a brief wish, and only in the darkest of hours), driven. She’s never once let me forget, be it intentional or not, that I was then, and am now, everything she aspires not to be. First – a nerdy, unpopular kid that started smoking and drinking to be cool. Now - a single parent, living at home, with no degree.

On my worst days I am bitter for all the opportunity she has laid out in front of her, all the positive attention she receives from our family, and all the scars I bear that she doesn’t. But on my good days, which I’m glad to say are more frequent, I’m proud of her, encouraging of her success, and thankful she wasn’t raised by the same parents. Besides, what aspiring writer isn’t tortured by their own bad choices, the choices of others, or in my case – both? My parents made this prolific bed, but I turned down the covers, fluffed the pillows, and crawled right in. (That smells like a book dedication...)

I also admit she’s everything I despise, and have always attempted to set myself apart from. Shallow, emotional, too accommodating...perfect. As much as I wanted what she had, I didn’t. I suppose the truth of the matter is that we both think we’re better than the other. I make fun of her reading; she makes fun of my clothes. I make fun of her enormous nostrils; she makes fun of my frizzy hair. I make fun of her spelling ability; she makes fun of my blogging.

She was a quiet, sensitive child and against all odds, a daddy’s girl. Why he decided to handle her with kid gloves, I’ll never really know. My mother had the same sensitive personality and he treated her terribly. Whatever the reason, she was spoiled and petted and nurtured into the smart, entitled young woman she is today.

I love my sister, but sometimes I feel as if we’re next door neighbors – waving to each other across the fence and wondering if one or the other is responsible for our missing Sunday papers, never exchanging more than is absolutely necessary. We’re only seven years apart, but sometimes it feels like a lifetime. Our relationship has improved in some ways, gotten worse in others. I keep waiting for that day when we’re old enough to be best friends – I want it (when I’m not imagining punching her), but I don’t think she does. Maybe it’s just her age, maybe one day she’ll want it too.

Each milestone she reaches is a bit of a shock for me, though that may be because they all started happening at once. The first time she got in trouble at school, had sex, did something incredibly stupid and dangerous and laughed about it, got drunk, had her heart broken, applied to colleges – all of that and more crammed into less than two years time. And I think I’ve struggled with it more than she has, more than our own mother.

She just turned 18 last week and she graduates in less than a year. I wonder if, when she leaves, I’ll be the one curled up in the bed wailing with a broken heart. I wonder if I’ll regret not walking across that hall to comfort her more often – for letting bitterness and jealousy shape a large portion of our relationship.

I wonder if she’ll call me – just to talk. Or if she’ll be like me at that age – walking out the door and never looking back until it was absolutely necessary. What bothers me and makes me happy all at once, is that I know, for her, it’ll likely never be necessary.

Suddenly I’m the sensitive one.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Love letter fail

I wasn’t your typical angst ridden, obsessive teenager writing things that would embarrass me later. Unless you want to count the 4evers and hearts scribbled amongst the pages of my diary – but no one would ever read those. Unlike the majority of my female peers, I avoided passing folded squares of notebook paper professing one’s love for some unworthy boy.

Being a bit of a nerd I was, of course, afraid of rejection. But I was also disappointed in the process. In my mind it just wasn’t romantic for the girl to initiate things. My head was full of paperback and movie heroes that swept the geeky girl off her feet, that marveled at her wit and intelligence – not the bloomers peeking out from under her cheerleading skirt.

I didn’t write my first love letter until I was a freshman in high school – until I thought I’d found the guy that would really appreciate it. I never felt the urge until I met him.

His name was Ben and he was a senior. The all American guy – good looking, friendly, charming, athletic, talented, smart. Girls practically drooled on themselves when he walked by and I was no exception. Just to cement his dreamy status, he was one of the leads in Chorus – dropping by during our freshman class to show our guys how it was really done and send the girls into convulsions. That voice combined with the rest of the package was just lethal.

My cousin Ashley was also a senior and they hung out in the same group. We were allowed to eat lunch in the hallways back then and their designated area was by the trophy case. Trespassers were not welcome and invitations were coveted. The guys lounged around in their letterman jackets, leaning against the brightly painted walls like demy gods, goofing off and surveying the girls that sat on the floor in a neat row – their hair perfectly coiffed and their makeup shellacked on with a spatula.

Despite the fact that I was a freshman nerd, I was granted an all access pass. Having a hot cheerleader cousin had its perks. I sat with the senior girls and pretended I wasn’t dying to eat the half bag of Doritos concealed in my book bag, and that I was like, totally interested in what semi-matching outfits everyone was planning to wear the next day. I was nothing like them, but Ashley did her best to help me fit in. My paperbacks were concealed during lunch; traded for whatever girly magazine the rest were pouring over. I got contacts and kept my mouth full of metal closed as much as possible. I let Ashley cake layer upon layer of thick, too dark foundation on my pale skin and line my lips where I actually had none.

For school picture day she loaned me her clothes – a tight, low cut yellow sweater and a short, tight black skirt. She styled my hair into what was supposed to be a replica of her own messy bun, but with my Don King frizz, I ended up looking like the drunken librarian that stuck her finger in an electrical outlet. I remember she was mad because I had to wear my glasses; I’d ripped my contact that morning. Consequently, my mother refused to buy the packet because I looked like a nerdy baby hooker, and the only record that the day ever happened is a faded proof photo stuffed in a shoe box among my other macabre school things.

Ashley also took it upon herself to tow me along to events I would never have gone to otherwise – parties, college baseball games, trips to the mall. I was largely ignored by the guys, but her girlfriends always treated me kindly. They’d all grown up using our Papa’s house as a summer retreat and to them I was already a fixture.

The first time I really spoke to Ben was at a local college’s baseball game. We never sat in the stands, preferring instead to park by the surrounding fence and tailgate. Papa allowed Ashley to use his Expedition and she packed it with as many of her friends as possible. I, of course, always ended up in the last row.

That particular night I was a bit drunk, though on what I can’t remember. I climbed onto the middle seat of the SUV to sit for awhile because I was tired of standing. A nice breeze was coming through the open door on my right and I was gazing at the baseball field through the front windshield, not really seeing anything, a half smile on my face. The back left door opened a few minutes later and Ben hopped onto the seat next to me, throwing his arm over the back of the seat.

“Hey Alyson”, he said smiling.

“Hi”, I replied, more than a little awed. He was so close the sleeve of his letterman jacket brushed my cheek when I turned to look up at him.

I wish I could remember every detail of our insignificant conversation, because it was the beginning of the end for me. When he was among the senior lunch crowd or a teacher’s aide in chorus, there was a barrier. But in that backseat he was just a guy, being nice to a girl who should have known better.

We drank a beer together – him taking large comfortable swallows, while I struggled to keep my tiny sips down. I confessed my complete ignorance about baseball and he explained a few key points, gesturing toward the game through the windshield while I watched his lips move. In the back of my mind I knew he was just being nice. He was nice to everyone. But the alcohol combined with a teenage girl’s need for acceptance won the “does he, does he not” battle. I was suddenly convinced that he liked me.

For the next few weeks I talked Ashley’s ear off about him – without much success. She never was one to pay attention unless the subject was one of her favorites: Ashley, what you could do for Ashley, or shopping. She largely ignored my hints that I wanted her to talk to him on my behalf. I know now that was likely due to the fact that she’d already infringed upon “the in crowd” enough, just by having me around.

I watched him in the halls and in the classroom – always waiting on him to notice me again, to swing an arm around my shoulders liked he’d done that night. But of course he didn’t. Every once in awhile I would get a half wave or a quick smile as he strode by, occasionally followed by a distracted “hey Alyson.”

I’d had crushes before, but I was absolutely devastated by his fleeting “moment of interest” and then nothing. That was when I decided that I should tell him exactly how I a letter.

The only letters I’d ever written before were to my Grandmother, a pen pal, and my diary. I knew nothing about winning a boy’s affection through words, but I was convinced I could do a better job of it than other girls my age. A smart guy like him would surely be more appreciative of a winning display of vocabulary, as well as a profession of deep feelings, than any of that check yes or no bullshit.

I sat Indian style on my bed for hours, alternately chewing my pen and staring into space. It had to be perfect – my words had to move him. And so I finally wrote:


I had a wonderful time talking to you at the ballgame a few weeks ago. You aren’t like the other guys at this school; you’re definitely a lot nicer. I think you’re super hot and really sweet. I’d be ecstatic if you would give me a chance to be your girlfriend. If you aren’t inclined to date me, I believe I could settle for being your friend.

Think about it and let me know.



(I pieced that together from scraps of rough drafts that I found in a shoebox. The actual letter, the one I passed onto him, was perhaps a little different. Either way, it’s painfully obvious that writing love letters was (is) not my forte, no matter how highly I thought of my academic prowess.)

There was a freshman named Angela who was on very good terms with the senior athletic crowd. She was a great big barrel of a girl – tall, with a giant muffin top and pancake-like breasts. Her blonde hair was always cut in a boyish way, shaved across the back of the neck, with frizzy bangs bouncing across her forehead. I never thought about lesbians when I was that age, but now I’m relatively sure that Angela was the first one to make my acquaintance.

Her sister was a gorgeous senior, just like Ashley (only a natural blonde; not a peroxide one with “fashionable” black roots). Though she was often a part of the lunch group, she spent most of her between class times with the jocks – Ben included. I decided that she would be the best one to give him my note. I knew she wasn’t interested enough to read it and she wasn’t the sort of girl to make fun of people or start rumors.

We had chorus together every other day. I waited until we were there on a Friday to explain the situation. I hoped that it would be easier for Ben to receive the note and read it without any of his friends noticing, what with everyone leaving for the weekend.

“ you think you could give this to Ben for me?”

To her credit, she looked neither surprised nor pitying when she took the proffered note and said “sure thing”. No questions asked.

The following Monday I asked if she gave it to him and she said she had, but she offered no more information. I felt awkward asking anything else, so I waited.

A week went by and nothing happened – except that I didn’t see him very often, and when I did it was just in passing. The seniors had plenty of things to keep them busy since the end of the year was drawing to a close. It wasn’t until he finally made an appearance to help with my chorus class that I received my long awaited answer.

As I stared at him from my chair in the top row of the soprano risers, I know I looked like an anxious, wide eyed child. He smiled a sad little smile and shook his head at me. He looked genuinely sorry and he might have even mouthed the word, but my eyes had already blurred with tears.

We never once spoke about it and I spent my summer away from Ashley and her senior friends, avoiding the possibility of running into him. I was devastated by the rejection, of course, but more than that...I was angry at the anticlimactic end of it all. Shouldn’t there have been more drama over my first real profession of love for a boy – accepted or not? Wasn’t something else supposed to happen?

But over fifteen years later, I realize that I was lucky to have such a gracious, anticlimactic crush. And that I never again got the urge to write another love letter. I doubt, even at this age, that I'd be able to fill an entire page with flowery words and phrases. I wasn't that sort of girl, and I suppose I'm not that sort of woman either. "Let's get to the point, shall we!" Romantic, yes?
Ben owns a bar in our area now and I see him every once in awhile. He treats me like an old friend – sitting beside me and catching up on family and mutual acquaintances. When he came to my cousin’s wedding last year we all hung out on my patio, drinking shots of Jim Beam and laughing.

That night he put his arm around me while we stood around our friends and I thought about the last time he’d done so, in the back of my Papa’s Expedition, and I wondered if he remembered it too. I’m not the same girl that mooned over him then, it’s true, but he’ll always be special to me – firstly, because he received the only love letter I ever wrote, however miserable it was, and second, because he never once made fun of me.

Before he left that night, while our arms were still hooked around each other’s waists, he made a comment that he hadn’t realized I had a daughter. I looked up at him and smiled. The urge to ask him about the letter, about what he remembered from that time, had been with me all night. We were older, it wouldn’t hurt anymore, and I was simply curious. But rather than asking outright, I decided to remind him of my past interest in my own unique way.

“She’s four”, I replied to his comment.

“Who’s her dad?”

It was just the opening I’d been waiting for. I breathed a heavy sigh and rolled my eyes a bit.

“It could have been you, you know”, I said with exaggerated regret. We stared at each other for a moment – then suddenly burst out laughing at the same time.

Yes, I thought, he definitely remembered.

Friday, October 01, 2010

How you doin', daddy.

I currently have three unfinished blog posts in my folder. That has never happened to me before. I think the problem is, when I get interrupted from writing something, I lose my train of thought and it’s hard to get back to it later. I’m the sort of writer that has to sit down and do it all at one time, no matter how long it takes. I get flustered and irritated if I don’t.

One of the posts is about my mother and it’s undoubtedly the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted to write. (One of my favorites wrote a brilliant post about her mother – it was incredibly beautiful. They aren’t really similar so I hope she won’t mind if I put it up soon. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. And tell her I sent you.) The second one is about the only love letter I ever wrote and the third is about my sister’s 18th a manner of speaking. Which one would you guys be interested in reading the most?

Anyway, I know I’ve been writing a lot about dating and I hope you haven’t grown too tired of it yet. There just seems to be an endless amount of material there.

I’ve been getting messages from so many different characters. It’s almost like sensory overload. Just yesterday I was contacted by a single dad who, according to his profile, is way more straight laced than I am (like, all about God and shit), a large, redheaded professor at a local college, and a man that wanted to know where I buy my hair products.

“Your hair is awesome. What do you use and where can I find it?”

I’m serious.

And then last night I got this little gem from a guy in the military:

“Let’s be honest, all guys want sex. My case is a little different. I was deployed for a year and I spent the next year working two jobs, managing 23 interns in my own start up business, and going to school full time. Long story short, due to my life situation I haven’t had sex in two years. I don’t know how I kept my sanity. You can keep your pity cause I don’t want it, but I wanted to let you see that I’m not some guy lookin for a quick lay. I’m looking for a friend who likes and needs sex as much as I do. I have two years of passion to unleash on the right person and I find you to be stunning and completely attractive.”

Whoa there, Sparky. First of all – the guy looks like he’s playing dress up with his daddy’s fatigues. Second – Seriously? I’m not that fucking stupid. He needs to unleash that passion somewhere else...maybe get a fleshlight. The whole thing sounds like a desperate attempt to pass on some foreign version of herpes he caught on a dark desert night, and start an epidemic among the vaginas of America.

I immediately had to text a friend about it.

Me: Dude! You wouldn’t believe this freakin email I just got from this army guy.

Him: Send it to me.

Blah, blah, blah – issues with sending.

Him: Two years of passion? That’s a lot.

Me: Hahaha. Can you believe that shit?

Him: He just needs your vagina.

Me: He should order one then. No entrar.

Me: I just couldn’t believe anyone could have that much gall.

Him: He’s an American hero.

Me: So is my vagina.

Me: Neutralized plenty of weapons.

Him: Nice one.

Me: I know, right.

He was in a cranky mood because I’d pissed him off earlier, but had he not been...he totally would have laughed his ass off.

I haven’t responded to it yet because I honestly don’t know what to say. I probably won’t say anything. After all, even though I would never proposition someone like that; I can fully understand what it feels like to be unwillingly celibate. It sucks.

Then, this morning, I received an email from a guy in England. I wondered why on earth he’d contact me, but then I thought, “Maybe he’s a transplant and lives here now.” Nope.

The last question on my profile asks that I share something about myself that no one else knows. And the last sentence of my answer is, “Also, sometimes I burp.”

Him: Sometimes you burp?! Awesome, I love a girl with a good burp! Can you burp on cue?

Ok, I thought that was a bit strange, but it made me laugh. I figured it was a joke.

Me: Haha. As a matter of fact, yes. I can.

Him: Cool. I’m not ashamed to admit that I think it’s hot when women burp! Got any plans for this weekend?

Hmm. Ok...maybe he’s serious. Still, this could potentially be an interesting conversation.

Me: Nothing wrong with that. To each his own. I’m going out with friends tonight, but I don’t have any plans for the rest of the weekend. What about you?

Him: Exactly. I agree 100%! We all have our likes and dislikes, one of mine just happens to be women burping. I actually have a fetish for it if I’m being honest. I hope that doesn’t sound too gross...

I am beside myself with giggling by this point.

Me: Ha. I think a fetish is supposed to be a bit strange. Most people just don’t admit to them.

Him: Yeah they often are! I don’t go round shouting about mine, but why keep it to yourself all the time, you’re never going to be able to act on it if you do! I want one day to find a nice girl who can burp loudly and doesn’t mind burping in my face!

Oh...motherfucker. I dare anyone to say shit to me now about getting slapped in the face.

Me: Ha. I have no doubt you’ll find one.

Him: I hope so. All the cute chicks who burp seem to be thousands of miles away though!

Me: They are. Only uncouth American girls burp.

Him: Maybe it isn’t a burping fetish I have then, maybe it’s an American girl fetish! Haha I might have to get on a plane to find the girl of my dreams in that case!

Me: Perhaps it is.

It was strange because half of our conversation was normal and the other half...was like that. We talked about our jobs and traveling; I mentioned that I was planning a trip to England in the spring. Then he said that if I was near where he lived, and I felt like burping, not to hesitate. Like an idiot, I laughed and said “ok”. But in my defense, I was trying to treat the whole thing like a joke.

Him: I’ll hold you to that now you’ve said ok. I want to hear you burp now! Lol.

Me: haha.

Where do these people come from?

Right now I’m talking to two guys, other than Sam, frequently. One is very nice – exactly the opposite of what I would normally go for. And the other...the other was badass. His profile was hilarious – snarky, abrasive, smart. I loved it. We started talking and we had so much fun. But yesterday it took a turn into loony town.

He told me that he likes me. Ok, great, cool.

He told me he thinks I’m beautiful. Swell, thanks.

Then he told me that he wants to hold me and kiss me and lalalalala, etc, “I lied on my profile and the truth is that I actually have a vagina. P.S. – I will get sensitive when you back up and say you aren’t big on PDA. I’m on my period.”


It’s one thing if I know I’m talking to a lovey guy. It’s another for them to misrepresent themselves and then come out with this Casanova weirdo shit later on down the road. Psssh. Men.

In other news:

Tonight I have my third date with Sam. Well, I suppose you could call it the third. Technically all we accomplished on the second was a brief conversation and a sprint to his bedroom.

I know you guys are used to me completely spilling my guts and going into a detailed description worthy of a Harlequin novel, but somehow I don’t think I should right now. Suffice it to say – the sex was phenomenal and I don’t know if I’ll ever sleep with a younger man again.

I must go – errands to run, dancing in front of mirrors in my underwear singing “Waiting for tonight Oooooh!” to do.