Saturday, July 31, 2010

Broke in Burlington

As if floundering about (read: sinking) in my love life and getting let go from my summer job wasn't enough, I recently overdrew my bank account (rent) and worked my way into a goodly sum of overdraft (again, imagine the cost of my rent,) and down to the last $5 in my wallet. "Stressed" and "rough patch" don't even begin to describe the situation I'm in. I've prostituted myself to every worthwhile job position I could find, and spent an afternoon seriously considering debuting in porn after seeing the dollar amount tacked on to the job. (But just like egg donation, I nixed that idea. Porn because, well, though I may watch it, I don't really want to be so interactive in it, and the egg donation because for the rest of my life I'd be doing double-takes at every blonde, blue-eyed child, wondering if it's mine. And with the smoking, I'm not exactly an ideal candidate. Like every other job, so it seems.) I already sold all the clothing I could to Plato's Closet, and unlike last summer's period of saintly rest from the wicked, I don't have the spoils of my bad habits to exchange for cash. I'm using them myself. I have to. It's what's brightening my days.

The good news is, there are 22 cigarettes, 9 beer, half a tank of gas, half a bag of cat food, and half a box of kitty litter left. There's food in the pantry, so I'm playing the game of "what can I make with what's left over?" But you can only get so far without milk, meat, or chocolate before you start to feel, well...hungry. And deprived.

So, what's a girl to do? Well, eat/beg/borrow/steal smart. Everyone knows the age-old trick of eating the food samples at Costco's as a lunch staple, but in order to do that, one actually has to have a Costco card. (Actually, I have an old one, and I doubt they look too hard at them until you actually buy something.) Instead, improvisation rules your meal times. I've been using my good grace and the love of my friends and their food as much as possible. Any food invitation you get, from a homemade
mac and cheese dinner to pizza and cake to a handful of chips, you take. For the more discerning palates, there are other options. When I was a sophomore, I read a great article in the Champlain Current by Ian Frisch about how to use City Market's good intentions against them and make a meal for under $3. It involved buying a banana, the ends of meat and cheese that are sold for a song, and using their free bread, condiments, and water in the buffet to make a sandwich. (They also periodically have fuck-ups price-marking the food that are worth looking for-- I got a $4, not $12, pork roast once, and cheese for 22 cents that should have been $5.22.) I
walked into Great Harvest Breads on Pine Street to inquire about a job, and though it was filled already and I left still unemployed, I found something nearly better-- they give you thick slabs of free bread samples, which you can slather with as much butter as you want right out of a crock. A slice of bread and butter from there is enough for a lunch on the run. Bring your own water, though-- the bread, while fantastic and addicting, especially the Honey Oat Wheat and the Mediterranean Olive Loaf, is dense, doughy, and dries your mouth out like the best herb money can buy. Only you're getting dry-mouth and a full belly for free. Cheese Traders, Lake Champlain Chocolate's shop on Church Street, and farmer's markets are always good places to cruise for free samples of tasty little delights, too.

Speaking of that other thing, beggars cannot be choosers, and should not be above using people to smoke their shit when down and out. Everyone does it at one time or another. Especially to people they just met and will never see again. (Read: dudes intent on hitting on you hard-core at
parties. Plus, it makes them bearable.)

For broke-ass fun and entertainment, it takes a little more settling. I've resigned myself to the fact I won't see Inception until it comes out on DVD, and that barring friends lovely enough to buy my drinks-- that's you, Emily and Nora--the bars downtown are going to have a rest and recovery time from me until the end of August. However, walking down to the waterfront to watch the amazing sunsets over the Adirondacks is just as good as any cinema, and there are always parties to go to in Burlington. If you're sick of all your movies, you can always watch new ones online, or start a lending group with friends. (You can actually also start a cooking circle with friends so that you can eat up to 4 dinners a week for free and only have to cook for everyone else once.) Church Street is always great entertainment, too-- I walk down to listen to music performers and go to Borders to stand in the magazine section and catch up on articles I've missed and harass them about hiring me. And you can always get more cultured and stroll into Frog Hollow or the Bern Gallery or some of the small local art galleries and peruse some fine arts for not even a nickel. Check out Seven Day's calendar for more free goings-on around town, too.

Happy mooching. And any food/dollar/alcohol/nicotine donations out of the kindness of your heart are more than greatly appreciated, too.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Apartment In The City

The Bat Cave, named due to the $1 curtains.
Also, see if you can spot the stolen items in our living room.
Hint: Road crews hate us.

The ceiling was painted years ago by a previous tenant who was an Art student at UVM.
So I guess they are good for something.

The long hall.
Our shared walk-in closet.

My closet, also known as "The Spoils of Italy."

Our back porch, complete with our neighbor's cat, Otis.


Pillow Talk and Bed Partners

For as long as I've owned them, I've always had this thing about cats sleeping on my head. I'm not ok with the concept. Maybe it's the fact their little feet, which step in their litter box, get into your face. Maybe it's because I used to be allergic to them and hair on my pillow meant an eternal runny nose, multiple sneezes, and puffy eyes. Maybe it's just because I'm really particular about how I sleep.

Regardless of the reason, for whatever matter, my track record in following through with this personal preference rule is abysmal. My oldest (and now dead and decomposing) cat, a devotee of my dad, kept his thinning hair covered at night with her calico pelt. The first night I spent over at a guy's I used to see, I asked specifically if his territorial cream-colored she-beast was prone to staking her nighttime claim around his pillows. He said never, but the next morning, I woke up to her nesting quite contentedly in my hair. As I reached up to move her, she bit me. That is what you get for taking another woman's pillow, apparently, even if she's not the same species.

Nicholai la Citta (pronounced "NEEK-o-LIE la CHEETA), aliases "Nicco," "Piccolo Niccolo," "Raccoon Cat," and when annoying, "The Whiny Pussy," with a name much longer than his body-- Nicholas the City, when translated out of Italian like his namesake-- sleep exclusively on my pillows on the nights I have cat custody: First, the ones of the right side of the bed, and then on mine.


I share. This may be because he's growing up so fast, and as I said wistfully to Alli and Emily yesterday, "Sometimes I wish he needed me more." As they say, cat people thrive on rejection.


The original Nicholai, head waiter of Coquinarius in Florence. Small, dark, a fan of cigarettes, and with entirely too
much energy for someone that small and sprightly. Exactly like the cat. Exactly why we named him after our favorite Itai.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Playing With Boys

I have two traits that can be extremely useful in meeting men: When I want to be, I can be extremely charming, and I am what could be called a "guy's girl." I generally tend to like men-- it's easy to be in their company; I'd rather chill with some of my boys than have a girl's night. I think it's just the level of energy-- women, as a general rule, require more energy to keep up with than men do. This is one reason that I can understand why a man would rather be single than have a girl. This is also another reason why I hate being stuck with needy men.

A good indicator of this is someone who tells you 4 times in the span of 20 minutes that "you're a real chill girl, you know that? I really like you."

And then, my friends, is when you know it's GAME. OVER.

Last night was one of my friend's birthdays. We got to her place over an hour late, and walked into a mixed bag of people-- some familiar faces; some not. Normally, when out and about, especially with people I don't know, I'm quiet and more reserved than I am with say, my circle of friends. But last night? It was like a switch had been flipped, and I came out swinging, feisty, and quirky, climbing on top of a dresser to touch the textured ceiling, and begin my hostile takeover of the men from a bird's eye view. Last night, with some wine lubricating me, it was like I was playing jacks with men-- by the time the ball dropped, I wanted to have as many as possible in hand. And this worked, apparently, because I landed not one, but two.

...That may not have been the best metaphor I've ever crafted, but you get the point-- juggling men. One had green. The other showed up and had a dog. I traded stock real fast after literally burning through the first. As I hopped over the porch railing to get down and play with the dog, leaving my smoking buddy on the other side, I remember saying, "You have a dog? I'm your new best friend." I have never said I was extremely loyal to anything with testicles.

"So, how was your evening?" Alli asked as we walked back home.

"I have no idea what got into me," I told her.

"ME." She's right-- it was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Normally, Alli's the out-going, friendly, flirty one with strangers, and I'm standing somewhere in the back, rolling my eyes, going "When he's blowing your phone up, I'm going to be saying 'I told you so'," and passive-aggressively drinking myself out of conversations-- you know, that move where people take a sip of their drink so they don't have to answer you as their eyes scan the room, looking for some way out? HELLO. I may not be the most optimistic, equal-opportunity dater. I was a part of receding-hairline-affirmative-action once before, and when I got home, after the sauvignon blanc wore off my eyes, I realized there is absolutely no way I can forsake, as I called them, "those thick, luscious locks you can fist your hands in." (Bachelor #1.) Or a vocabulary that extends beyond the words "bro" and "right on." (Bachelor #2.) So while I may have had a productive evening, it ended up this morning as a wash.

And this is why meeting people and dating makes me long for the good old days when every. single. thing the guy I was with for actually over a month did drove me fucking nuts and to chain-smoke. Because despite the "thrill of the new," there's nothing better than someone's old quirks that you know and are used to. I forgot how hard finding someone you actually like is.



Saturday, July 24, 2010

Carissa Goes To Jail

Jeepers Creepers appeared again for an encore show the night after his first performance, now with a new act: masturbating in front of his window while looking up at ours to see if we were watching. For what we pay for rent, we should have a view of shirtless hunks washing dishes or carrying heavy lumber, not a man who only gets close and personal with blow-up dolls, his palm, and apparently, us. While variety may be the spice of life, his little variety show understandably turned us way off, so the living room blinds have been closed for the past two days, and today, Alli and I went to Burlington P.D to lodge a formal complaint against our unsightly scenery.

Considering the last time I talked to two cops, I was drunk and said "good evening" like a Transylvanian brothel madam, I was understandably a little nervous. That, and I may or may not engage in some activities not exactly kosher with the law. And I always feel cops just know that about you. Like psychics. But with handcuffs instead of crystal balls. And arrest records seem to be far more damning than birth charts, from what I've seen, at least. But knowing that I am a grown-ass independent girl (or at least, should be), I sucked it up, and went.

In hindsight, I really shouldn't have been worried. My behavior never came up-- just his. If you were wondering, "lewd and lascivious" is the definition for it, and in Vermont, you can only be fined up to $300, which to me is a pittance when compared to what you're knowingly inflicting on other people, or spend under 5 years in jail for it. Unfortunately, unless Creepers initiates more attention from us than just standing full-frontal in his window and whacking it silently, there's not much the police can do about it, given it is technically in his own apartment, as I suspected. I voiced my concerns about the fact we're two small young blonde women living together, and that this may be his way to seek attention, be it positive of negative, along with the fact that I wouldn't recognize him if he and I were both out on the sidewalk checking our mail, which is just icky to think about brushing shoulders with this freakshow and not know it.

However, I was pleased as-- no pun intended-- punch when the Corporal gave us permission to either have a male friend talk to our Chippendale's wannabe or, and I quote here, "kick his teeth in." So-- how many male friends do I have who are willing to help me out of this awkward skin-pinch? Because we really do need some help, guys. We would do it, but we were instructed to not involve ourselves with him in order to not egg his delusions on any more. We're here for another year, and I don't want to be afraid to walk in or out of the front door to my own apartment or feel forced to not stand by the same window the cat loves to sleep in. After being grabbed in Italy, I'm more sensitive to these things than I'd like to admit. I wasn't able to do anything in Florence, but I'll be damned if I do nothing on my own home turf. That's just not cool, at all.

Later, as Alli and I sipped our restorative Slushies from Cumbies in the oppressive afternoon humidity and discussed our dilemma, I looked at her and said, "I can't tell if I'm disgusted by it or if I really like it."

She looked horrified for a minute before I caught myself. "I mean the slushie. Not the creeper." Obviously.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Peep Show Next Door

Last night, I inadvertently saw a naked man. I'm warning you now, this has nothing to do with me getting any. But everything to do with me feeling uncomfortable.

Girls are weird about seeing people naked. We get a kick out of it, and--unless it is someone we want to see naked and there is sex for us involved--then we want it to be over. Patience walked into my room with a shell-shocked-prisoner-of-war face on, and said, "I think there's a naked guy next door." As any red-blooded American girl will, I asked "Where?" and followed her into the living room to investigate. And yes-- there, across the driveway, was a naked thigh. Followed by a naked ass. Followed by a-- OHMIGOD, DID HE SEE US?

Paish and I dived for cover and nervously giggled for a few minutes. This seems to be the natural response of women to nakedness-- duck for cover, then giggle about it. Gradually, we crept back up to see if he was still there...

...And he was. Staring up at our window. Not trying to conceal anything.

He stayed there, flaunting his nakedness and our growing discomfort for over 15 minutes. It was at this time that I put 2-and-2 together about what Twan had warned me about the guy next door with a fetish for both blow-up dolls and not closing his blinds, and Mister Red Light wondering where we'd gone. It was worse than that time in Perugia-- well, I mean, the guy wasn't in at least his mid-forties, and had a better body, but it was creepier; Perugia Nudie didn't give a flying fuck if anyone was watching him. Jeepers Creepers next door wanted to know if we were watching. Twan had told me to call the cops the first time Peep Show creeped us out. I couldn't justify calling the cops yet, and at 3 AM, so I texted Twan instead. He didn't answer; Paish and I went out on the back deck to get out of sight and smoke a stress-cigarette, and when we came back, the blinds had closed again. All in all, nothing accomplished but feeling dirty.

As Patience asked, "Why does this always happen to me?" I feel like I too have seen an unfairly disproportionate number of naked men from across air spaces and driveways. And mostly, always men. Now, I know I'm no blushing daisy myself, of Naked Tuesdays fame, but when I realized on two separate occasions that our hot carpenter/next door neighbor-- not to be confused with Jeepers Creepers-- was the person who lived directly across the driveway from me on the second floor and not only was the guy who got to watch me cooking in a bra and shorts, but also was the same person closing the blinds in the kitchen that looks directly into my bedroom window every morning because I may-or-may-not-but-definitely-do sleep in just underwear and didn't have curtains yet, I started thinking about flashing my naked body around a lot less than I did in say, Italy. A little respect is all I ask. And respect is not craning your naked self out of your window to look up toward my living room and see if we're watching your
naked ass. Respect is shutting your damn blinds before we have to.

I guess this is my welcome to Mister Roger's Naked Neighborhood. Why can't all naked men over the age of 25 just look like Rusty DeWees, I ask you?


P.S-- And yes, I'm going to use that image as much as humanly possible in the foreseeable future. I also, for shits and giggles, want you to guess how old that man is. Just, please-- guess. I can't wait to tell you the truth and blow your mind.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mad Men and Madder Women

I'm a little bit behind the curve with some things: I've (thankfully) never heard a Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber song; I've never felt the urge to pierce anything on my body; and before Sunday night, I'd never watched Mad Men. Despite being told numerous times that I should. I figured it was kind of like flossing-- everyone says you should do it, but when it comes down to it, if you brush as much as you're supposed to, it's not really necessary.

Well, here I am, bowing and scraping and saying "mea culpa"s and "You were right." That is one hell of a good show. It's smart, and fast-paced, and not too far-fetched while at the same time not being totally predictable. It is, in fact, a very human show-- it showcases the workplace, the home life, families, relationships, how men act with other men, how women act with other women, how men and women act together, and men and women behaving badly, either together, or apart.

In other words, it's truthful and realistic.

When I was in Florence, I realized, for maybe the third time, but the most painful and hurtful time, that the guy I had left behind at home was still seeing the girl he had slept with while we were together. I felt vindictive, and devil-may-care-and-take-the-hindmost, and like there wasn't some glass ceiling for him that seemingly wasn't allowed to me, who had just hit it, and why the hell was that?

It was my friend's 21st birthday, and after lots of sangria, we ended up at a club, with two Australian guys who were in town for the week around Easter. They were great. One of them was cute, and reserved, and funny in that smart way that's more about plays on words and maybe hints at humor than of sheer smacking wit. I was hell-bent on ending that night with him to settle my invisible score; to understand what makes you go from one person to the next; to have more secrets to tack on to my list so that inevitably, when all was revealed in the in digressions on the home front, I would have one more ace up my sleeve, one more circumstance to smack in his face and say, "This is what neglect and looking elsewhere so carelessly and blatantly will get you."

It was, and still is, very petty and childish. "Evening the score" is not exactly the answer to equations like this. But regardless, that night, just as I was about to make my move, my friend Kara appeared at my elbow. "Someone stole my wallet," she said, and just like that, the spell was broken. The Aussie walked me home that night, but in the moments between my insecurity and having to grow up and help someone else's crisis, I realized that my own sleeping around wouldn't solve anything. It wouldn't make me feel better. It wouldn't teach my Lothario anything. And while the Aussie may have gotten a good night of fun out of the deal, he'd be gone the next week, anyway, probably to never be seen again.

So what, then, was it all about? Human beings are remarkably complex. Just as the characters on Mad Men are never truly translucent in their actions, but rather opaque, so are real people. You can see action-- you can watch someone jump ship, bail like a seasoned sailor, and pour themselves from one cup of their life to another for fear of becoming solid or stagnant. You can watch someone slip away from you, or lash out. You can watch someone burn bridges and go down in flames. And you can watch yourself do things you're not proud of, just because you're human, and you can't help it. But the logic behind the actions? That still remains in the dark, unknown even to your own heart.

Seems like we haven't changed that much since the '50s, after all.


Monday, July 19, 2010

The Nasty Bits

I like the forgotten foods. The misunderstood foods. The bizarre, Alice Cooper-esque foods that tend to scare people off of them. The foods it seems no one else in my age demographic loves anymore. Foie gras. Pate. Sweetbreads. Marrow. Lamb brain.

There are other "normal" things I love with nearly unparalleled power-- cheese, Italian white wines, vodka, chocolate, fresh artisan breads, and, of course, beer. But while I can wax poetic about different cheeses and recommend the perfect pairings for a Vernaccia di San Gimignano or a what sort of sandwich you want to eat with a bottle of Magic Hat's Summer Wacko, these things aren't as compelling to me as "the nasty bits."

The thing with these foods is that yes, you can tell at one point, this was something very much alive. This was something that lived. If you're a soulless vegetarian, or, god help you, a heathen vegan, odds are, you're not going to understand this. I won't even ask you to. Mainly, because I've given up on people like you. But for the rest of you natural, I-understand-the-point-of-human-evolution-and-why-I-have-canine-teeth carnivores out there, here's the reasoning: These foods, these "nasty bits," are the taste of life.

As for you veggies, I'm ignoring you from here on out. Please never forget-- I am not called a "Kitchen Bitch" for nothing. Maybe you're asking, "Why the animosity?" Well, let me tell you a story: I went veg for two weeks my sophomore year of college. And I got sick. Anemically, dizzyingly, hungry-all-the-time sick. It was not from a lack of protein or a balanced diet-- I was eating eggs, nuts, tofu, lots of fiber, lots of iron-rich greens and doing vegetarian by the nutritionist's books-- it was because my body thought I had gone barking mad. I need meat to function and survive. I've never felt more weak, unenergetic, listless, and just plain grumpy and unsatisfied and starving as I did at the end of those two weeks. At which point, I went to the nurse and was told to start eating as much medium-rare steak as I could ingest. Best diagnosis of my life. Also, my ex is now apparently seeing a vegetarian. I don't know why you'd ever date someone who can't share your steak with, myself. To me, love is a shared slab of something bloody, and that's only halfway a euphemism for how love can dice you up better than anything else.

If what the Aztecs believed is right, when I savored lamb's brain delicately breaded in panko crumbs and fried at Bluebird Tavern, I was learning through the taste and texture what it means to appreciate that animal, and the unique knowledge that comes with that. While scooping out the marrow of beef bones in Florence, I was tasting the very essence of that bovine-- a cow grass-fed, treated with respect, not injected with god knows what; a very spoiled, very natural Italian cow.

Some people have-- excuse me, no pun intended-- a beef with foie gras and pate, as inhumane treatment of animals has been cited in the production of these delicacies. Hell, if you stuffed me every day with choice bread bits until I was obese, I'm sure I'd protest, too. Not so much, but I might ask you to substitute some croissant for the stale loaves. The thing is, you have to understand-- these are special foods. These are not foods that you are eating every night for dinner. These are foods that you have rarely; foods that you savor for special occasions. If you're
going to get up-in-arms about geese being over-fed, please, and by all means, turn your
attentions to the conditions that most of the commercial chicken raised in the United States live in, and then you can call yourself a hypocrite like I am.

What about these foods gets our feathers so ruffled about them, or like me, your appetite so whetted? Maybe it's the taboo feelings about them. Maybe it's the shock value. Maybe it's the primal urge to devour. Or maybe, just maybe, it's just the fact that they taste so. damn. good. in what can be such a very bland world.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Bitch & The Logger

In between the beer and the beef jerky, I realized at Vermont's 2010 Brewfest that I have a nearly patented method for meeting, and subsequently getting rid of, men. Don't get me wrong-- Brewfest is a GREAT place to meet men. It's LOUSY with men. It's lousy with DRUNK men. I had highest hopes; in fact, I shaved for this festival. I cross the lines between food and drink and sex in very odd ways.

It goes something like this: I'm standing in line, or waiting somewhere, when I notice the dude behind me is blatantly scoping me out. I covertly scope him back. If it seems like he isn't someone entertaining thoughts of choking me to death in some back alley or holding a chloroformed handkerchief in his back pocket (or, I'll admit to being shallow, if he isn't dog-fugly with only a face a blind mother could love), I may change my attitude setting to "open to conversation." Conversation then ensues, usually for about five to ten minutes. During this time, I'm looking for intelligence, humor, yes--looks--, and if he's just someone that I connect with. Sometimes, it's apparent within the first 30 seconds that this ain't gonna work. At which point, I politely yet firmly put an end to the conversation and then-- wait for it; this is the bitch move that I finally pinned down-- turn back around and cut off all further contact. Literally, I turn my back to them. I don't know, short of throwing shit at them or taunting their masculinity to their face, if there's any faster way to prove to a man that you are not feeling him. At all. Never. Not even drunk.

I may have found the reason I am chronically single. But, I would RULE at speed-dating.

Maybe that's what it kind of it-- a quick assessment if it's worth spending any more time on this short, overly-preened dude in a checked button-down with a tan that looks like he's either Cuban or from Miami or a Cuban from Miami. I mean, hey, I found out four things from him-- how much empanadas were; if the green pepper dipping sauce was hot; that his friend was an overt bro asshole; and that while he was cute, I just wasn't feeling the amount of maintenance he exuded. It's not that he seemed like he'd find chomping on my dead thigh a rollicking good time-- it was just that he seemed like the kind of guy who thinks buying you dinner means you instantly owe him a blow job. No, thank you-- moving on to the next. Being picky and having high standards saves me a lot of time when wading through the time-wasters and assholes. I am not burdened with the curse of being overly nice to guys-- all guys-- like my roommate is. And while she struggles with juggling men's attentions and getting rid of creeps and the geriatrics who seem to love her with all of their last hard on's dying strength, I have all that time I could be fending off the advances of unwanted men free to do things like...I don't know...terrorize the kitten, blow smoke rings, and perfect the fine art of the double-orgasm. Or write for this blog. All terribly valid and time-consuming things.

I thought I was done for the day-- total waste of a shave, total disappointment. But then, in the middle of City Market, picking up a 12-pack for the way home, it happened. I ran into the sort of man who makes your palms sweat, the kind of man who when you're holding box with 12 very breakable bottles of beer with a tray of dumplings precariously balanced on top, the sort of man it's really bad to run into, because you might just end up dropping everything. Literally.

Since I was about 7 years old, this good ol' Vermont girl has had a horrendously huge crush on local 802 celeb and comedian/writer/actor/musician and "master of Duct Tape" Rusty DeWees. You may know him as "The Logger." Don't ask me why all the love and lust-- maybe it's the shit-eating grin; maybe it's the blue humor; maybe it's the height; maybe it's the apparent aversion to razors and the three-day-old perma-stubble; maybe it's the plaid. Anyway, one would not guess that since before I thought "Dildo" was another Hobbit in the Shire, I had the hots for this dude:

It was like an out-of-body experience. There, just in front of the empty buffet area at closing time, I recognized him instantly as he looked down at me-- a cute drunk blonde with a lot of beer-- and slid me one of those sly smirks. Smitten. Actually, past-tense-- utterly smote.

In case you still don't understand, there's always this:

Do you get it now?

And can I get an "Amen"?

So, see? Standards. Being a bitch about who you'll go home with helps. Not only did Mr. Miami not waste my time, but if I had stuck around to find out if that tan was real or fake, I would have missed nearly raping The Logger in the middle of the wine section and having my evening made by finally seeing one of my favorite local boys in the (toned) flesh.

...And if you're wondering, I didn't. I would have had to put down the beer. I'm as red-blooded as the next girl, but some things are sacred.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Young and the Restless

There are 2 types of people who can't sleep: The genuinely not tired, and those who are being kept awake by their thoughts that are too loud. Lately, I've been one of the latter. Granted, I've never been someone who kept up with a solidly respectable sleep schedule-- I'm more of a "night-owl and sleep until noon" person, myself. But when it's your fifth night in a row pressing the lighter side of 4 AM face-down in your bed, rest nowhere to be found and utterly restless, it's time to face facts:

There is no one you can call or go see at 4 AM for a good limb-entwined sleep. There may have used to be. But there is no longer. And granted, you may have all sorts of friends to call on: Friends to drink with, friends to dance with, friends to discuss literature with; friends who will cook for you and go on drives with you and will lend you ten or twenty dollars in a pinch, but there is no one really who you can call, wake up, and say in that hesitant low voice that needs to be specially reserved for hours after 1 AM, "Hey, what are you doing? Can I come over?"

This may be what's keeping you awake.

You may be in mourning.

Every morning.

This is one of those times where you realize, yet again, that some aspects of being single suck. I've had, most of my adult life since the age of 16, someone handy to share a side of a bed, or, in the case of the small and cramped college extra-long, extra-narrow mattresses, a whole bed. Or, in other cases, the downward tilt of the mattress and the wall. And for the first time, I find myself, a grown girl of modest means, with her own new bed, most everything she could wish for or desire, with scads of experience and options, realizing that all that doesn't mean much unless you can get a good night's sleep. For which, apparently, my egg-timer of sleeping sand has run out, and all my trains have left the station.


Is there a service for this sort of thing? A bed companion? A room-share? If it would cut down on the rent, that would help, too.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Curious Evolution of John and Jane Doe

When we were young girls, we cared about what the other girls thought. If they liked us; if they liked our new dress; if they were talking about us. Boys had cooties, and we didn't care what the boys thought. Times passes. We keep the girls who are close and true to us, and we stop caring about what the rest think-- if they're talking about us, what they're saying, if they like our new dress. It doesn't matter anymore. Skin's thicker. Gossip holds less sway. You couldn't give a shit about what she thinks about you, but something curious has happened-- now it's about what he thinks about you. Boys don't have cooties anymore-- they have the sickness you desperately want to catch.

We care, desperately, about what they think. We want them to like us. We want them to think we're smart and funny and warm and genuine. We want them to like our friends, and our friends to like them, and their friends to like us. We want things to be smooth, but not too smooth that it gets staid or boring-- just smooth enough to be comfortable, like their old worn-in t-shirts.

We pretend, after it's done, that it doesn't matter, that we didn't care that much, that we're absolutely fine. You can all pretend, and you all can act, all you like, but when it comes down to it, this is usually a performance put on before a clever audience who knows your stage tricks, so about the only thing that you have left to perform with is your dignity and hopefully, a mutual respect for what you had together.

Even if this happens, we still don't want to believe curtains are curtains. We want to believe that we cannot be left. We want to believe that coming back is possible. We want to believe that we are special alone. But the truth is that we are all readily replaceable, like parts-- not the whole machine. True, without some parts, it won't work, won't function at its best. But others will suffice. It'll keep moving.

As Patience and I sat up till 4 AM last night and compared notes about this, we came across a curious phenomenon-- despite all this insight and all the fieldwork from dating for years, we still cannot makes heads or tails out of what the lies we were told were, and what the truths were. Is it that you care about us, or do you just want to bang other chicks? Was it the weed or beer talking, or did you really at one time think we were something special? How much said was a quick charm, and how much said was true? Were you sincere? Or are you just an extremely accomplished player? And will we ever know the truth?

When it comes down to it, it's just one huge game. Like dating chess.


Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Love A Wild Thing

Today was one of those late-sleeping, 4-PM-beer-drinking, lazy days in which I'm still wound for sound at 2 AM, and the only thing left to do for fun and excitement is wash the dishes, pants-less, while listening to Blondie and The Raconteurs, singing along while sudsing. Though we've come a long way from the homemakers of the '50s, I'm hoping that one day, I'll find a member of the opposite sex who appreciates this method of housekeeping more than the former.

Speaking of the '50s, Alli and I started compiling a list of the old movies we have to watch: Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Glass-Bottom Boat, The Maltese Falcon, and Creature From The Black Lagoon.

"I still haven't seen it," I told her. "It's my dad's favorite classic monster movie." Before she could say anything, I cut her off. "And you can lay off the Freud."

"I wasn't going to even touch that one," she told me.

Conversation, as it is apt to, turned then to our hot neighbor, who I'd run into earlier in the afternoon. "You know, he's supposedly really, really smart," Alli told me. "He was working on some genetics thing in Jamaica when he was there. That, and goat farming."

I ask you-- isn't that some sort of excellent? It brought up the question to me-- What sort of man do you want to end up with? If Freud is right and all young women are really just looking for another father figure, I'm going to need to find a jack of all trades, and master of most with a fantastic taste in cinema. If Alli and my not-so-innocent Mr. Roger's Neighborhood crush is any indication of the sort of person who stops us in our tracks, it's going to have to be someone with beautiful eyes. Someone real intelligent. With quirks.

And what about me? Is this smart, savvy, debonair jester
going to want me, singing Blondie at 2
AM as she finally,
finally, FINALLY does the dishes? A girl who names her cat after her favorite Italian waiter and can't say no to a dress in a particular shade of pink? Who stutters "rural" and sasses police officers when drunk? Who will never NOT be able to have an opinion on anything, but hopes her charm and colloquial vocabulary makes up for it? As Holly Golightly said in Capote's novel the movie was based on, "Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell...You can't give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they're strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That's how you end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You'll end up looking at the sky."

This is all I can say definitively on the subject: It ain't gonna work unless he's nocturnal, too.


P.S-- If you already haven't, pick up a copy of "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Holly is a true original.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Celibacy and the City

A friend of mine told me the other night that she made the conscious choice to be celibate for the last year after she took a long and hard look at her hook-up history and felt less than pleased.

"Hey, that's cool," I told her, to which she scoffed.

"Oh yeah, Miss Sex-Blogger?"

I can't fault anyone for thinking that I'm pro-sex-- for sure, I am-- but it's more about her deciding to do something, and less about the fact that it's about not having sex. Right now, I'm going through the process of deciding what I want this summer to be all about, and I've come up with something that is just as interesting as her choice to be celibate:

I want to wake up every morning with expanding possibilities. I want to not be afraid to play. I want to stay loose. I want to keep things casual. I want to not let the past affect my future. I want to soak up the sand and lake's water equally. I want to not have to miss you any more. I want to be civil and someone who you'd want to miss. I want to be young. I want to be allowed to do as I please. I want to come and go and not have answer to anyone. I want to sleep the best I ever have. I want to go to concerts and movies and hiking and camping and sailing and road trips and swimming and expand. I want to become more professionally-proactive than before. I want to be able to change as often as the summer breezes. I want to not be figured out. I want to be allowed to just be.

And here's what I don't want, although it's exactly what everyone seems to think I should want: I don't want to date.

And I don't want to be tied down.

Maybe that's the root of the problem-- I came back thinking that's exactly what I wanted, and was too stunned to react with any sort of aplomb when I started to having sneaking suspicions that that's exactly what I actually don't want right now.

Would Carrie think wanting to be single is acceptable? I think yes, absolutely. People are fighting and clawing to get into relationships-- I want nothing more than to NOT be in one right now, taking a break and cooling down. What about you? What do you want this summer? Are you waiting to get into the "In" door, or are you running for the "Exit"? For now, the only man getting the right side of my bed is Nicco. The kitten.


Friday, July 9, 2010

No Patience

Last night, my friend Patience played this song during her show at Parima. I'd never heard it before. And it made me tear up. To recap, I don't really cry, and I sure as hell don't cry in public. Her mom may have even seen it. Mortifying. But the lyrics and message in it are so important that I had to share it with you. So click that link.

To all of you girls reading this, I put that here for you. Because I want to remind you like Paish had to remind me to please remember: You're smarter and more unique and more special then the sum of all the people who have ever been too blind or distracted to see that and screw you over and let you go. Their words are their words and their actions are their actions, and please don't let anyone ever convince you that you are their problem. You --your time, your feelings, your mind, your words, your actions-- are gifts, and
not curses. You should
never have to answer to anyone who thinks any less than that.

That's a
lesson I'm still learning.

And I'm hurt still. Civility is a handy disguise, but I'm so awkward about it and unsure and treading lightly and some days I go to sleep missing you and some mornings I wake up so pissed at you I'm not sure I ever really want to make conversation other than "How are you?" again. And it's a two-way street. You deftly ended it with exactly the words you knew it would take to get me mad enough to go away (because burning bridges seems to be a specialty of yours), so if you decide you ever want to mend things, you're going to have to say those words, too. You worried about if I could ever cut you out of my life totally. I found I probably could. We always held that "stay friends" clause. It hasn't been upheld as of late. I never told you that things changed when I came back because I found how much you'd changed. (I, taking full responsibility for my actions here, never told you a lot of things in the entirety of our interactions.) I fell out of adoration with you. I settled somewhere around "disappointing." I don't know what happened to you, and I'm sorry if it's something I could have helped or even something I couldn't've have helped with, but I miss the guy who walked through the snow in November and respected me. I don't miss the guy who played the game like I was just a handful of cards to gamble and cash in. Because I'm better than that. I think you know it, but I just hope you know it, too.

That's all I have to say.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Of Villages and Revelations.

Just like any child, it takes a village to make a good blog, or a harem of girl friends to teach a girl about love. Which is why when a friend of mine told me she had a potential post for my blog, I jumped at the chance to include it. That, and the fact it was a proverbial jumping, as it is currently so hot on the Eastern Seaboard that jumping, or any physical exertion other than holding a popsicle to my mouth and rotating on the couch in front of the fan to keep from sticking to the leather permanently, is out of the question. "How're you coping with the heat?" the same friend asked as we discussed the details of this post.

"By not wearing any pants."

When it comes down to it, this confession made me remember a revelation I recently had about the fact that for girls, our friends are our therapists, our confessors, our love-gurus, and our personal bouncers. This makes me wonder how guys do it, because I know I would not be, A.) As sane, or B.) As knowledgeable, if my friends didn't share with me what they've found out for themselves. Which is why I think that the outside perspective in the post below is so valuable to you, dear readers-- so you know it's not just me, and it's not just's everyone, on the daily, thinking about relationships and how they work or don't work or how the change and shape you.

Enjoy! And the author and I would love feedback on what you think!


Some realizations are of such importance, it's selfish not to share. Since this blog is about so many things, but the core of the posts are related to relationships, the ebbs and flows of complex human connections, I felt that this would be a good contribution to this collection of insights.

The epiphany in a sentence: You don't have to replace someone in your heart who is irreplaceable, in fact, it's OKAY not to. This realization is mostly due to my current boyfriend, who constantly amazes me with his understanding and patience.

I recently lost a family member to whom I was very close. To put this in context, I have this important person who came into my life when I was 14, and has been with me through a lot of tough times: the night my good friend's dad died on prom night, when I thought my mom was having a heart attack while I was away on a school trip and unable to be by her side, and when an elderly family member fell down a flight of stairs sustaining head injuries. These events all took place in the course of one week, and he was always there for me telling me everything would be alright. He joined the Marines my senior year of high school, and that changed him. We didn't see each other much at all. When my grandfather suddenly died he was the person I emailed, and although he was in Iraq at the time, he answered within 12 hours with the reassuring words, "Feel better babe, everything will be okay," and that he wished he could be there for me, "but it's kind of hard when I'm eight time zones away." This person also happens to be my first love, the one man I haven't been able to put out of my heart or replace. I have dated other people, but when we would begin talking again, I felt myself unable to resist, although he had hurt me many, many times after which I began to tell myself, "I told you so," knowing the end result. But he is the only person I want to talk to when something bad happens, and I think that we all have this one person in our lives. The person we go to and won't feel better without hearing, "It will be okay," directly from them.

On a particularly hard night after my family member's death, I called my boyfriend in a not-so-great-place emotionally. We've been dating for almost a year, and were friends for 2 years beforehand, so he knows all about my history with this guy. In tears, I explained to my boyfriend that although I felt terrible about it, I just wanted to talk to my ex about how I was feeling, and how I wasn't dealing with the sadness particularly well. I was honest with him, and instead of my boyfriend being angry with me he told me, "It's okay if you care about him, even if you love him, too. I understand, and I love you." Amazing how someone can be so selfless and understanding. (Trust me, he's a keeper).

So yesterday, my ex and I spent a few hours running errands together. It was the first time we'd seen each other in over a year and a half, and the time before that had been even longer. Needless to say, it's a rarity to see each other in person and usually he will avoid it. We talked, each enjoyed the others' company, and although we hinted at memories, we weren't heavily nostalgic. He's not in the Marines anymore. We're both a little older, a little wiser. It was quite the feeling and later on, after he left, he texted me saying, "I had a really good time," and I agreed. There are no romantic expectations on either side, but to say we are "just friends" wouldn't do our history justice. It's deeper than that, which is why I suddenly realized that I can never replace him, and I don't have to try anymore.

For those who have the "never-ending relationship" which carries on forever, those who have that one person from the past who is hard to forget, there is hopes that one day you will share the feeling of completeness which I've experienced with the realization that to love someone else doesn't require replacing those who formerly occupied your heart, but rather to add to it.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Men By The Numbers

I know I just wrote a post on which I professed that people are not just "numbers", but it got me thinking about my numbers-- not just the number of partners I've had, but the more esoteric things about my relationships. How many of them do I still talk to? How many could I still recognize just by their voice? How much do they know about me? How much time did we spend together? What sort of time was it-- just time for sex, or are they people I spent afternoons or nights or meals or awkward moments with?

I got down to it and compiled some numbers. In an over-arching, long-term hope for things, I'd love to know other people's numbers like this, so we could all start compiling a database of what is normal, what's quirky, what's sweet, what's not, and what real relationships sex lives in the 21st century are really like, dispelling urban myths, and talking openly and honestly. How awesome would that be? And so, I give you...

Men By The Numbers:

Only 1 man knows how I brush my teeth.

Only 2 know where I'm ticklish. (If they remember.)

Only 5 men know how I share (or don't share) a bed. Only 3 of those men actually know what I look like when I'm asleep. Of those 3, only 1 has spent hours around me while I haven't been wearing glasses. And a fun fact: the average number of sexual partners for heterosexual men is 7; for heterosexual women, it's 4. I like being above average.

Only 1 ex and my closest guy friends know what my living space looks like. I tend to be overly mysterious and protective about it.

Only 1 man other than my father has ever cooked for me. Only 2 men I'd been seeing have ever paid for my food. Only 4 have offered. None know how I like my eggs. Only 1 knows how I take my coffee.

I've only had to supply the condom once. ...But I've had to make a point of it twice. 2 guys asked if I was on birth control. Good guys!

4 times I've bought men clothing only to have it crash and burn soon thereafter. Lesson? No more buying men clothing.

Number of times I've been in love: 3. Out of those times, 1 ended after a bloody and prolonged death, 1 will be eternal, and 1 fell out-of-love with pragmatism and change. Number of times I have said those three words out-loud: Never.

Number of times I've been proposed to: 2. Number of proposals I accepted: None.

Number of relationships I've had since I started dating at the age of 16: 9. Practice makes perfect.

Number of those 9 relationships that lasted over a month: 2. 1: Abysmal and too apathetic to end it sooner. The other: A hell of a learning experience. Number of relationships that lasted over 6 months: None.

Number of times a man has surprised me: Once.

Number of men who have up and died on me: 1.

Number of times I've been left: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. TOO MANY TO COUNT. Number of times I've been the dumper: 2. Most commonly heard excuse: "I think we need to take a break." "Breaks" never happen, FYI. "Breaks" never un-break. Breaks are The End.

Most commonly-cited reason for me ending things with a guy: "I know about her." Number of times I've been cheated on: 3. 1 actually admitted it to me-- thank you. Number of times I picked the other woman out of the crowd: All 3 times. It's an odd and sad gift. Number of men I've cheated on: 2.

Number of exes I've stayed in close contact with: 2.

Most common denominator among the men I've been with: Dark hair.

Favorite type of the opposite sex: Dark hair, dark skin, light eyes. Did you know? People with blue or green eyes are more biologically attracted to other blue or green eyed people because the chances of their offspring being born with brown eyes is a great indicator of either A.) A stray recessive gene, or B.) Unfaithfulness. It's natural pre-natal planning.

Most common letter of first name of men I've dated: A tie between Rs and As.

What I notice first in the opposite sex: Height. Hands. Arms. Eyes. Facial structure. Hairline. Smile.

Who made the first move: Always them. It's a girl's job to make sure that her interest is known. It's a man's job to act on it from there.

What I will remember automatically about every man I've been with until I die: The way they smell, and the sound of their voice. Other odd things I'll remember: Body language quirks, laughs, and bad habits.

Pet-peeves about men I've repeatedly ground my teeth about: Snoring. When asked "How are you," having them answer, but not ask how I am in return. Leaving without saying goodbye. Holding utensils like a barbarian. Breaking plans.

What I appreciate most in a guy: Intellect, and the ability to both dish it out and take it. Bickering is sexay.

I have never believed a man other than my father when told I'm beautiful. ...Though I am susceptible to compliments about my character.

Most commonly-dated ethnicity: Italian. Number of men I was with while in Italy: 0. Irony.

The Good: 4 men have inspired me to write. The Bad: 2 yielded pretty weak stuff. The Best: 2 gave me the roots of the best poetry I've ever written, and 1 gave me looooooots of blog fodder. So you have him to thank.

I've been with more men over 5'10" than under. I've been with 4 over 6 feet in height. I like 'em tall.

I also like them older, though I have been with 2 younger.

4 were musicians. 3 were party-happy. 6 were artistic. 1 was another writer. 1 was a lay-about. 3 had criminal records. At one time, my bio line could have read, "If you have blue eyes, a criminal record, and a weed problem, you'll love me!" 3 of them fit that exact description. Surprisingly, only 1 of those 3 makes my list of Top 2 Disappointments. The other member of that list just confounds me.

The longest I've ever been able to stay interested in 1 man: Over 6 months. Once. The shortest I stayed with 1 man: 2 weeks.

Of those men, I still think of 1 every. single. day.

And the person who may know me best: 1 of those men. What he still doesn't know: Volumes more.