I apparently only write here when I’m single, and oh my god am I single. Single digits, table for one, book at the bar don’t talk to me SINGLE. Not alone – partner free, thankyouverymuch.
It’s been a month. That month has been gross.
Even though it was a necessary end, a very deliberate if spontaneous amputation, FUCK ME if it hasn’t been difficult. It’s like when you wake up at 4 AM and you’re so cozy in your pillow fort bed and it’s raining, like in a way you like, and the leaves are rustling and you were having a really sweet dream about tacos and kittens and flying (if you haven’t had that dream, you should), and everything is perfect but then you realize you have pee. Pee NOW. RIGHT NOW. GO RIGHT NOW but you don’t, because if you get up things will start to suck a big dick. You revel in your pillow fort, you are the goddamn QUEEN OF THE PILLOWS, but eventually you throw back those covers and put your feet on the freezing ass floor because you have to, and you’re all the better for it, but suddenly the rain seems frigid and the wind sounds lonely and things suck.
I know I just compared this relationship to having to go to the bathroom but that is just how the end was. I mean, sometimes metaphors just write themselves.
The thing about any break up is the specificity of the event. There are so many stupid articles about what happens to us when THAT happens to us, and they’re all shit (including this one). What happens to us is so tailored to us as individuals that all the rules and suggestions and sentiments go out the window and we have to just pull up our boot straps some days, cry some days, decide to paint a fucking fence some days, drive until we damn decide to turn around some days.
I might have Googled “recipes to make when you’re heartbroken.” It might have taken me down a weird hole of being heartbroken and alone. I might have gotten disgusted with how generic everything is ever. Seriously, I felt like I was being shoved into a rom-com. I’m upset, I’m fine, things are beautiful, things suck. It’s not a clear path at all, not a funny mix of “I hate” and “Give me chocolate.”
These are my stages of fucking grief, Internet.
I am dead. Art is dead. Poetry is dead. I am dead.
Just kidding, I AM RAD. That weird high you get when you stay up for 30 hours? I had that for a while and it was cool if unexpected.
My pussy is NOT dead.Not having sex is weird in a stupid way. I should call the UN because I am suddenly without a basic human right.
Just kidding, my pussy is dead because I’m making that trope about masturbating and crying A FUCKING REALITY.
I am not to be trusted with my phone. You can TEXT PEOPLE WITH THAT SHIT, TAKE IT FROM ME AND BURN IT IN THE PITS OF MORDOR.
Everyone hug me. Self-explanatory.
Nobody touch me. Also self-explanatory.
I watch Netflix all night and knit and wear cardigans and make food I don’t eat which is flavored with tears.
Whiskey. So, um, back to normal?
At least summer is over so I can brood on my porch like a grumpy old man and turn my attention to every fucking thing that happens in my alley while also marveling at how leaves get to have the most beautiful death every year.
It’s been like a year since I wrote anything here, I know. I usually hate blogs that break and then come back like oh, I was busy, I know, this and this and this and this but the truth is, broads, I was totally fucking busy.
First I had three jobs.
Then I got a boyfriend.
Then I got a full-time teaching job.
Then I taught 6 classes at once.
But most importantly I got a boyfriend and I was like hold the fucking phone, he probably doesn’t want me to be writing about his dick and sex and stuff like I kind of was when I was single. And, um, also, there’s this thing about him that’s, like, sort of embarrassing. Like the past me would come up on this balcony where I’m smoking and writing and drinking a Modelo and smack the shit out these cheeks.
I have no excuse, either, except to say that I swear to grilled cheezus I didn’t know until I was way invested. Which was also a surprise, because I was doing pretty well on the not-dating-go-away thing for a minute. I feel very feminist when I say I had a couple of one-night stands after first moving here, and I quickly realized I do not like that game. Then I tried the friends-are-the-best kind of sex, and that was okay, but too complicated like right away, which is the stone cold OPPOSITE of what it’s supposed to be.
I spent January alone.
It was pretty cool.
The only thing I really missed about dating someone was Sundays. Sundays are the best best best when you’re in love with someone. Coffee, NPR, a crossword, brunch, Bloody Marys, pajama talk, going back to bed and fucking/talking/napping all afternoon…you just can’t do that alone. Well, one can, but I would look around with the French press in my hand and messy hair in my face and wonder if I could put the calm and beauty of those moments into words for anyone else. I got lonely on those days.
So I got back on OKCupid. I’ve had luck there – I met a woman and had one of the most tender relationships of my life, and I met one of my best friends from there. I talked to a few people, had one fantastic first date that ended in a not super great second date, then I met the current boy.
He’s so clean cut. He’s younger than me. He goes to bars I disliked. He’s younger than me. DID I SAY HE IS YOUNGER THAN ME. I know, I know, but I was like GO HOME KID, YR DRUNK for at least a month. Everything about him was wrong, WRONG, but I stayed at his house the first night we met and I barely ever went home.
I fell in love with him very quickly.
I know he said he was a writer shortly after we met, but I just willfully repressed that information forgot. But as we grew closer, I couldn’t help but remember, because all the stuff that I knew would happen happened. He can be moody. Sensitive. Competitive. Fatalistic. Really giddy and really sad, all in 10 minutes.
All the stuff I didn’t want. All the stuff that must suck about dating me, too.
There are some upsides, though. Shit I didn’t foresee. Like how talkative he is, how he wants to know all the things about all the things. How sweet he is. How he tells me all the things he loves about me in this clear, beautiful detail. How creative and progressive and analytical he is.
I haven’t written in a while, partly because I have been settling into my first real job and that was a huge challenge, but also because I wasn’t sure how to write about him. You can’t use that careless abandon when writing if you really care about how someone will receive it. But another really awesome thing about dating a writer is he understands how badly I want to write like this, and so when I asked if he’d mind if I went back to it, he gave me this look that was like FUCKING DUH and said okay.
The other night, when it was an unholy -70 degrees in Richmond and everyone wanted to die, I was lying in bed with my roommate Cath. Our stupid lovely apartment won’t get over 56 degrees when it’s really cold out, so to make sure neither of us descends into a warm kind of twilight death we sleep together sometimes. I was tired, so while Extreme Couponing played on her computer I rolled over to listen and think and let myself fall asleep
“I need a bigger bowl for making biscuits,” I murmured. “The one we have isn’t big enough for me to make a double batch.”
“Did you just ask me for a biscuit bowl for Valentine’s Day?!” she exploded. “Don’t tell me what presents to get you!”
We laughed. Because we’re, like, married. Except it’s really awesome this time (HAHA divorce joke!).
After we moved here and experienced this whole “we’re so broke, but don’t have jobs, so let’s fuck around all day and act like fools” thing for a while, we got pretty ridiculous. There’s this whole fake accent, fake home country thing I cannot even begin to explain, but it led to us referring to one another, and her sister/my NY roommate Alicia, as “wife,” which was funny, but lately we’ve noticed it’s gone to a new level.
We are MIND MELDING. And other people are noticing.
Cath has been an active partner in my whole “listen to all the metal and see if I like it” endeavor, and so the other night we ended up at a psychobilly horror punk show with a couple of our dude friends. We’ve been making up metal songs for everything. Washing dishes? That’s now WASH THAT FUCKING DISH, GIRL, MAKE IT FUCKING CLEEEEEAAAANNNNN while kicking the under-sink cabinets.
EVERYTHING IS A METAL SONG.
So we’re at this show, and I was laughing and screaming and so was she, and I was air-humping the guy in front of me because he didn’t know and it was funny, and there came this moment when someone did something stupid and I looked at her and she looked at me and we had this whole conversation with our eyes, and our dude friends were like “y’all are weird.”
But that’s the awesome thing that happens, sometimes, if you’re extremely lucky like me. I get to live with this AMAZING FRIEND and have all the fun and know she’s totally in my corner. Really LIVING with a roommate is pretty cool – I mean, it’s way nicer to take care of one another than it is to separate all your food and be all weird about bathroom turns and awkwardly say good night at 7 PM even though you’re both just going to watch Netflix in bed and eat pretzels and it’d be more fun to do that together – but arguably the best part of this is how willing she is to be a stupid asshole with me.
Case in point – a couple of nights ago we’re walking home from Strange Matter after seeing an indie show with our friend Andrew. In that ten or twelve blocks, we scraped paint off this dude’s car with a razor blade and convinced three other people to do it too, drew a hot dog with muscle arms on his forearm, put a traffic cone from someone’s house in the middle of the street, harassed people on a porch, closed someone’s front door for them (who leaves a door hanging open at 2 AM?!), ordered a pizza and laughed at the guy on the phone, and something else I can’t remember.
We weren’t drunk. We’re just kind of stupid IN THE BEST FUCKING WAY EVER.
I’ve recently started to try to date again, and after meeting a very nice guy the other day and talking for a few hours over the most caffeinated coffee I’ve ever had, Cath picked me up because I was freezing my balls off. My wife is so understanding when I go out on these dates.
“What’d you talk about?” she asked, weaving through the cobblestone streets back to our house.
“I talked a lot about you,” I said, laughing. “Dude was kind of quiet and I was talking a lot and my life has a lot to do with you right now, so…you know. That’s how that went.”
We agreed I probably bored/scared that guy off, but that’s ok, since my wife is always there to watch Blaxploitation in bed and make super hard fun of me when I wake up and ask if this thing was a dream or a memory.
Dudes, I don’t know if it’s because I’m 30, or because I’ve been having sex for like EVER by this point, or because I’ve been single for about a year now, or some combination of all that, but jerking off has become this entirely different kind of shit than it’s ever been for me before. Married Laura (and I’m including all the years I spent dating the ex-mister because we were living together and very together all the time TOGETHER) would jerk off just because I was bored, or needed to go to sleep, or the mister wasn’t there, or whatever. It just wasn’t much of a thing. I didn’t even do it EVER until I was like 19 or something.
True story: Teenaged me was kind of a prude compared to current me. Politically, always liberal. Socially, same story. Sexually? Took me a while. Sex was cool and all, but for whatever reason it took me a long time – years – to really figure out what I liked and to be comfortable doing it and saying it and making someone else very loudly aware of it. And I just didn’t jerk off. I didn’t see much of a point; I mean, I was getting laid, and jerking off is what people who aren’t getting laid do, right, so…there you go. I went to college, though, and made this super awesome friend who was all WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, GO FUCK YOURSELF RIGHT NOW DUH, and that bitch was right. It’s simple math:
You want to get off.
You have to figure out what makes you get off.
YOU HAVE ALL THE POWER NOW.
After that I was like yay, I know what I like, NOW YOU DO IT TO ME DUDE. Fun, sure, but jacking off still took a backseat to sex with another person. It was bed time, bored time, shower time, blah blah blah time.
Well, not anymore! Being single comes with SO MANY BENEFITS, but also a few caveats:
Sex is not guaranteed.
Wait, wait. That’s not right. GOOD SEX isn’t guaranteed. I’ve had plenty of sex since I’ve been single, and right now I’m not pretending I’m all high and dry and lonely and crying in my potato chips every night, but not all the sex has been good.
Shit, wait, I’m wrong again. GOOD SEX WHENEVER I WANT IT isn’t guaranteed. There we go, that’s more accurate. There’s a dude I sleep with sometimes these days and that is making me happy for many reasons, but we’re not dating and he’s busy and I currently hold 2 jobs, 3 freelance gigs, and 3 writing gigs, so I’m a little busy too. Goddamn being a grown-up.
Oh, side note!! I miss really amazing morning sex. What’s better than waking up all lazy, when you’ve got nothing to do that day and the sun is coming through the windows and you’re all tucked into someone else and you guys have that kind of sex that starts all sleepy and morning-breathy but gets all loud and fun and your hair looks ridiculous after and then you go stare into each other’s eyes over hash browns and fried eggs?
Not much, bitches. That sounds like the best morning ALWAYS.
But that’s also a dating thing, because it’s a morning breath, sexbedhead, smeary last-night mascara thing that lasts like all day.
Right, right, back to the caveats:
Good sex whenever I want it isn’t guaranteed.
Um. That might be the only caveat I care about right now. I’ve got an emergency contact, people would find me right away if I died eating pasta in bed with knee socks on and 30 Rock streaming, I’ve got plenty of friends who like to go out and do fun stuff with me…shit wait, thought of one more.
OMG seriously, caveats:
Good sex whenever I want it isn’t guaranteed.
No one is going to go get me a pint of Ben & Jerry’s at 1 AM when I’m up working and want to stop writing and watch Extreme Couponing in bed.
My goddamn point with all this is the way I jerk off has completely 180’d since I’ve been single. Maybe everyone already does this and I just didn’t know it, but what was once a quick little something to get me through the day or help me fall asleep has become a motherfucking Broadway production. I should sell popcorn or do a TED Talk because it’s getting AWESOME AND AWESOMER. First of all, I like to get busy in the morning, after I wake up but before I have to get up. Second, in the absence of a person who’s totally enamored with me and only lives to tell me how much they fucking love every inch of me (who, if they actually existed, I’d never date because that would be creepy and boring), I’ve been gradually building up this kind of self-foreplay that’s all about THE NICEST STUFF EVER.
Girl, I love that outfit you’re wearing. (Why, thank you, ma’am.)
That lipstick, girl, and that little scarf are so nice! You have the best taste. (Compliments will get me everywhere.)
Those stockings are make your knees look so pretty – oh, you’re wearing garters? You let that dress ride a little high for me, didn’t you? (A lady never tells.)
I love the way you talk about composition theory and teaching. (That’s sexy to everyone everywhere.)
The way you laugh obscenely loud and keep joking about hot dogs is so damn sexy. (Bitch, I know it.)
Mmmmm, your giant cardigan buttoned all wrong gets me so hot. (Oh, this old thing?)
At this point I make up some long ass story about how and who and where and shit gets kind of ELABORATE. Lately, for example, the scene has been revolving around this dude and it may or may not also include some drums or a motorcycle in an alley or both. The part, though, that makes it so awesome is that little beginning mess; instead of jumping right in I take a little time to feel hot, drag it out a little, maybe think about some amazing sex I’ve had in the past, but mostly just give myself a little “I like what you’re working with girl” before bringing someone else into the mental picture. Plus, I mean, it makes me feel good about myself. Afterwards, when I’m staring up at the ceiling and panting a little and smiling, I’m like SHIT YEAH I DO HAVE GOOD TASTE AND MY CARDIGAN IS THE BEST.
It has to be the best way to start your day. Fuck a balanced breakfast, fuck sleeping in, fuck all that shit. Moral of this story: jerking off builds your self-esteem. Or it’s better with more positive talk. Or I have too much time on my hands. Or whatever, just go try it and be like “Laura sure knows what she’s talking about when she talks about jerking off for half an hour in the morning.”
I love end-of-the-year lists, seriously. People are all reflective and trying to come up with shit they want to fix or do in the next year, and I can dig on that positive spirit. Usually I don’t give a shit about closing out a year – I mean, I don’t plan my life out year by year so I look more to the end or beginning of PROJECTS more than years – but 2013 was THE SHITTIEST YEAR OF MY FUCKING LIFE. Brief and incomplete synopsis, leaving off the worst because I don’t want to talk about it: I had acute pancreatitis and almost died, my brother got shot and almost died, my grandmother and dad died, I left my husband, got really really broke, was hospitalized THREE DAMN TIMES, and was forced into making the hardest decision of my life in moving to Richmond. Um. HEAVY.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about 2014 because I hate 2013 so fucking much. And because I’m, like, trying to be a positive person I’m going to share some shit I learned this year that has nothing to do with all the crappy crap.
I don’t care about food like I thought I did. Married Laura was ALL ABOUT THE FOODZ. I was that bitch who would buy a chicken, roast it, carve it up all crazy and eat it for three meals, make bone broth out of the carcass, then make soup from the broth. I made my own bread once a week. I made granola. Baby food. Kumbucha. Yogurt. Cheese. Kefir. Dried fruit strips. EVERYTHING.
Single Laura will eat saltines and a beer for dinner and not give a shit.
I will read all the fanciest books and watch only the stupidest TV. The classics are my JAM, y’all. I don’t really read genre fiction, but give me a book on feminist theory in the Romantic period and I’ll be all GET IT, SON. Turns out, though, I don’t go in for really intellectual films or shows. This is what I’m watching: Adventure Time, Cow and Chicken, Bob’s Burgers. Did you notice those are all cartoons.
Some times I class it up and watch TV shows with real actual people in them. For instance, a couple of nights ago Cath, our friend Dan, and I climbed in bed and spent about 5 hours watching My Strange Addiction and Extreme Hoarders and talked A LOT about matching up people from those shows. Like, the woman who’s addicted to puppets should totally date the guy who’s married to a sex doll, and the Furry girl should date the guy who’s super into taxidermy.
I’m getting old. I turned 30 this year. I found three white hairs. My hands look like a 70-year-old’s for some reason, and my feet are all kinds of Hobbity after not having a car for three months and walking everywhere. And I unequivocally do not give one single fuck.
I totally figured out female anatomy. Alicia, when I lived with her in New York, started writing down all the weird ass names I was saying when referring to my body. Here’s her very scientific, helpful diagram. There will be a quiz.
A liberal arts degree is really handy when you’re poor. Now, you COULD argue that shit MAKES you poor, and you wouldn’t be all that wrong. But seriously, it’s coming in handy because you have to be fucking CREATIVE when you’re broke like I am. Case in point: for Christmas this year my friends and I came up with Hobo Christmas, wherein you find shit in the city to give as gifts. Only rules are that you can’t rob a store and you can’t take something from someone who’s diligently trying to keep it. Otherwise, all’s fair. CREATIVITY RULES.
Hardware stores have a lot of weirdly-named shit. For three months this summer I worked at a small hardware store, the kind that has a little bit of everything crammed into like 600 sq. ft. of space, and there is some funky stuff in there. Steel nipples and bastard files – these are real things that I sold to grizzled old (mostly) dudes. Half my fucking job there was not laughing.
Solo road trips are THE SHIT. At some point this year I realized I’d never been on a road trip that was just me, for me, so I fucking did it. Twice. And it was awesome. AWESOME. I drove down to Richmond two times and stayed for about like 7 or 8 days total by myself. That’s about 36 hours of highway driving with just me, a can of Coke, and hours of dancey/singing music and it was SO MUCH FUCKING FUN. I love taking road trips with friends, but holy moly was it eye-opening to be alone for that long and in a new place.
Best new hobby: fake band names. All year I’ve been thinking up fake band names and putting them on my Facebook page, and it’s been pretty fun (for me, anyway). Some favorites: Hash Brown Riot, Spacklefuck, Spit Booze, Baconslap, Lady Bloodsqueeze, and Harvey Buttbone.
A lot of dudes that have beards should not have beards. There’s an art to it, people. Some ladies have faces that can wear bangs; some don’t. Some dudes have cool beards; some don’t. Just because there’s a lot of dudes in bands who have beards doesn’t mean all y’all should have beards. Look in the mirror and figure it out.
If I wasn’t a writer and an English instructor I’d totally be a truck driver. First, solo road trips are cool, right? Second, I drove this big moving truck through Boston rush hour traffic to Utica, NY to Richmond, VA and then all over the city and by the end of those 6 days I was like I LOVE DRIVING A BIG TRUCK. Back-up plan: CHECK.
The best haircut I’ve ever gotten was in my kitchen. Seriously, remember how I was talking about being poor? Yeah that means I don’t spend $80 on a haircut anymore, and I don’t fucking have to either. This is what I look like right now, writing this post (and listening to Shirley Ellis, if you were wondering):
My roommate Cath cuts my hair in our kitchen, and I cut my bangs in the bathroom. I know other people do this kind of thing all the time, but a haircut was one of those things on my “Shit I’m Willing to Spend Money On” list, right there with cheese and sheets and pretty underwear. NOT ANYMORE.
In the spirit of the new year, and just as a side effect of writing this post, I came up with some resolutions too. Which I never do. But I did this time. Because 2014 is going to be FUCKING MATHEMATICAL.
Do one really cool piece of graffiti.
Reread On the Road and finish it this time and see if I still think it sucks.
Take apart a small motor and put it back together.
Listen to a lot of metal and see if I like it.
Write a rap and make a video and put it on YouTube.
Get a stranger to play a game with me in public.
Continue ignoring Pinterest.
Write a story about vampires vs. werewolves and set it in space.
Play more harmonica.
Get a moped or small motorcycle and doodle all around town.
I am fucking DONE with dating. I’ve been saying how sucky I am at dating all year, and it’s been proven to be so insanely MEGA TRUE, but that’s not why I’m stopping. Truth is, I’m tired. TIRED. The whole thing is so exhausting! All the planning, thinking, guessing, trying…and for what? An awkward hug? Maybe a super hot make-out one time and then never hearing from them again? Or just a creepy silent ninja dance to get out of their apartment before they wake up and start needing something from you? I’ve been trying this shit out for 10 months and even with the relative calm that was my lovely summer ladyfriend it’s just getting stupid.
HOW DO YOU PEOPLE DO THIS FOR YEARS?!?!! Seriously, I want to give you a trophy. Or a hug. Or maybe just a pizza and an electric blanket and a copy of Duck Soup and a pillow fort (or maybe I’m just projecting, because I TOTALLY want all of that in my bed right now).
And Richmond. RICHMOND. YOU ARE KILLING ME. The combination of me being new here and this being such a drinking town is going to be the actual for real death of me. It usually goes like this:
I’m out at a bar or a show. Someone strikes up a conversation. YAY for talking to strangers! They ask where I’m from (yes, still have an accent even in this Southern town), and I say Alabama via New York. Then, and this just SLAYS me, they tell me how incestuous this place is, how small the town and everyone’s dated everyone, and THEN they ask if they can buy me a drink. So, after just saying how they’ve basically fucked through all the fuckable women here and warned me about it, they hit on me.
WHAT’RE YOU DOING, BUDDY.
Now I’m sure these people are super nice and awesome and great, but it’s just starting to wear a little thin, even though it’s only been a month. And even that nonwithstanding, it’s just getting to be too much. Case in point: literally a week ago I got hit on twice in the same night using THE SAME LINE, once from a 60-year-old (YES FUCKING SIXTY YEARS OF HUMAN AGE) and a 26-year-old who were both like “I remember you from the other night, lady I don’t know.”
But I did end up having two interesting conversations that night so that wasn’t a total wash, truthfully.
And, again, it’s like I already have a history here even though ONE MONTH ONLY. In the same stupid crappy week I had a text fight with Mean Ex, in which he called me a stupid bitch, I called him an immature asshole, and we both told the other to fuck off. FUN. This all happened as I was coming to the realization that The Boy I Liked was blowing me off, either because he’s busy (wrong) or there’s something about me he’s just not digging super hard (bingo). Either way, the verdict’s the same: that’s too bad.
Or maybe it’s kind of fortunate, because I really seriously am just WORE SLAP OUT. I mean, that is a lot of shit for just a few weeks, right? I was lying in bed with my pillow boyfriend Steve (who never lets a bitch down) and I just thought, you know, all this energy and time I spend thinking about this crap could be parlayed into something better, or at least something more productive. I could take up running, volunteer with kids or animals or old people, write a novel, stop smoking. I mean, I probably will just end up pacing on my porch more often, chain smoking and reading Bukowski (I’m in a mood, people), but I’m just saying I COULD be doing those other things. I do swear I’ll try to stop making stink eyes at couples holding hands and kissing on street corners, though. Maybe.
Call me insensitive, but one of the things I’ve noticed most about Richmond is how often people will hit you up for…something. Money, or cigarettes, or just that verbal noise of being all HEY BABY YEAH BABY YES YOU. I’ve been here about three weeks and two hobos (I’m using this to mean anyone who’s harassing me in this way) ((also I like calling people hobos)) have asked me to marry them.
They don’t seem to care about my long explanations of why I’ll never get married again and how it’s an institution and we’d have to find a good place for that shopping buggy in my house and what a mess THAT would be.
So when you want to just go about your business without talking much to people, this is what you do:
1. Never ever ever EVER smoke in public.
Because bitches will be hitting you up CONSTANTLY for cigarettes. Like, more often than money. No one seems to believe me when I say I’m at least as poor as they are right now (not kidding), but I don’t blame them. I still look pretty goddamn FIERCE, wearing all my clothes from when I had money and shit.
PS – Take all the cigarette butts you want. I know that sounds mean, but people ASK ME FOR THAT SHIT so, um, take them. Just don’t steal my porch chairs. Or sleep there.
2. Eye contact is frowned upon. Mostly that equals Cath frowning at me.
We were downtown waiting for the bus and this dude walked by wearing double jeans, which was one pair pulled up like normal around his waist and another pair worn slacker-style down under his butt. So of course I said “DOUBLE JEANS!” and he turned around and Cath started muttering at me under her breath because YES he asked us for a cigarette and YES HE DID tell us we were “so so pretty girl” and YES I WAS WRONG TO SAY ANYTHING. Sometimes it’s fun talking to people. Sometimes your roommate gives you lectures about how you’re going to straight up DIE IN THE CITY if you don’t start acting like YOU LIVE IN A CITY NOW FOOL.
3. If you’re pretty sure that dude shambling toward you at 3 AM is a zombie, pull out your knife.
So, two stories. Number one: I got a knife. I went into Pleasant’s Hardware and asked a woman to help me pick out a knife, a scary-looking cheap one so when I pull that shit out people are like LOOK AT THIS CRAZY ASSHOLE. She calls me Switchblade Annie when I see her now.
Number two: The other night I had another one of those “I want to feel fucked up because my dad died” nights which basically consisted of me getting drunk enough to feel sad and walking home really late. I came up on this dude who was in some alley, like really slowly shuffling along, and I got IRRATIONALLY TERRIFIED AND CONVINCED HE WAS A ZOMBIE. So you can be damn sure I pulled out that fucking knife and powerwalked home, both completely aware that NO ZOMBIE but also completely sure that YES ZOMBIE.
REMOVE THE HEAD OR DESTROY THE BRAIN, FUCKERS!!!!
4. Make a Scarebo.
We haven’t done this – YET – but as it gets colder we’re worried about people sleeping on our porch OR IN OUR FOYER BECAUSE THE ACTUAL FRONT DOOR DOESN’T LOCK. That shit has already happened, babies. I KNOW. So we thought maybe we should make a decoy hobo and lay its ass on our porch at night so it looks like there’s no room at the inn. I don’t know.
5. Stop looking so goddamn nice all the time.
I’m kidding. I can’t do that. I have this kind of face that gets asked for directions all the time, or, you know, marriage/smokes/food/money/EVERYTHING UNDER THE FUCKING SUN but I don’t think that’s gonna change for me. Cath does a crazy good “go away” face, but she lived in Boston for three years. She got in a ton of practice.
This is obviously going to be a work in progress, as I get more used to being here and walking around and getting harassed. I do have to say that these people, being fairly Southern, are at least polite when they ask me for my shit.
There are the people you’re born with and the people you collect. My dad, my stepdad, was in my collection.
I was sitting behind the MFA last Friday, writing a postcard and smoking and just thinking about how lovely that day was, how much happier I am in Richmond, and my older brother called. He had died that morning. Bed. Asleep. Heart attack. Alone.
The first time I met him I was twenty. Amos and I met my mama and Danny at the Old Auburn Ale House, and over chilé rellenos he asked my permission to marry her. I was twenty, this asshole who’d grown up with a super shitty abusive dad that I’d FINALLY just gotten rid of, and I wasn’t too hot on racking up some other dad-like-dude, so I told him he was a grown ass man who could do whatever the fuck he wanted.
I wouldn’t have blamed him if he labeled me an asshole on the spot.
They got married and she moved three hours north to his house, and I was mad. I didn’t even live at home, hadn’t for a couple of years by that point, but it didn’t matter. I was just mad, thought they were moving too fast and his family was too big and probably sucked and everything was SHITSHITSHIT. I got drunk in the yard of my childhood home, empty now except for wedding food and chairs and this new family I couldn’t give a fuck about, and I left my wine bottles in the grass.
I never really lived around them much. Where they moved, up near Huntsville, AL, was pretty far from Auburn. Already I knew I didn’t want to live in Alabama anymore, so Amos and I left there for upstate NY. We visited, sure, but it always felt strange. There was SOME DUDE in MY MAMA’S HOUSE and I didn’t like it. Not for a long time. He was a nice man, always happy to have me stay and always good to her, but for years I kept having this feeling of him as being the weird one there instead of myself as the visitor. I would send him Father’s Day cards and make sure to write “step” in front of “father.” One time, early on, Mama and I had this epic fight and I was crying in his living room, just the two of us there, and he was telling me about how she is, how she does, what she needs, and I told him he didn’t fucking know her at all. Such a dick to this man who was trying, in his way, to help me understand a part of this woman I’ll never know BECAUSE she is my mother.
At some point that shit changed, though. Sometime after I had babies and could see him with them, see how he was just so goddamn grandfatherly with MY babies, I thought about how my real father was such a shitty person I never even wanted him to KNOW I had kids and that shit changed for me.
He was a good person. A good husband. A sweet, funny man who never pushed me too hard, maybe because he knew that I’m such a fucking stubborn asshole that shit wouldn’t work, would backfire and super suck for everyone. Or maybe that just wasn’t his way. It doesn’t matter, really. Somewhere in the last couple of years I realized I had stopped saying shit like “my mama and stepdad’s house” and would just say “I’m going to visit my parents” and that was the more accurate way to be.
It’s tricky, having that kind of knowledge inside you and not knowing what to say. How do you tell people? They say the look on your face…what’s wrong and you say my dad died and then it’s weird because I don’t know what to say after that. I don’t know what to do with that kind of feeling, so I dealt with it in the stupid way that I do: self-destruction. I went out last night and got insanely drunk. I let a man buy all my drinks and danced to shitty soul music and kissed a different man in the bar’s empty kitchen. I smashed some shit in an alleyway and slipped on the cobblestone, slamming my knee into the rock, and smiled because that pain cut through that other pain and it’s easier to handle. I held hands with my friend on our mile-long walk home and sobbed, telling her my dad died like she didn’t know because it finally had come to me, I finally understood and knew that fact to be a real true thing that is never going to change.
People have been saying oh, your stepdad, were you close? And the entire time he was alive I would say not really, or kind of, because we weren’t the kind of close that talks on the phone everyday or trades recipes or has little pet names that stretch back to some joke made decades earlier. But we were the kind of close that loves one another. Last night, something in me broke and I realized he was my dad, he was the man who was going to act the most like a father in my whole entire life. He was what I was going to get, and it was over and done and he is gone.
There was the one I was given (hate) and the one I took (love). And I fucking miss him.
Wednesday sucked. In about 10 minutes I read both the David Gilmour ABSURDITY and also the 300 Sandwiches clusterfuck and spent the rest of the day thinking about women and men and feminism and our culture and alllllll that noise. I was telling my roommate about these articles, and particularly about the 300 Sandwiches one because there are so many subtle issues at play there, and the Gilmour thing is more blatantly just stupid.
I think the dude’s comment was a joke, honestly. I truly doubt he was planning all along to hold off marrying that broad until she proved she was “wife material” by finally cooking on demand. But the way she handled that shit, by getting all serious and making a blog and snarking back at people who questioned her (how she describes her single friend whose kitchen is used for shoe storage? MEOW) is terrifyingly REAL. Her dead serious reflection on “how would [she] finish 300 sandwiches in time for [them] to get engaged, married and have babies before [she] exited [her] childbearing years” ties in directly to that ridiculous trope about women’s underlying drive in life being marrying some dude and having this bucolic (fantasy) life.
If I were that guy, too, I’d be kind of terrified that she clung to this flip remark with the ferocity of a sociopath. Like, it was a JOKE. CALM DOWN.
That whole thing made me think about dating. Stephanie Smith is on a whole different track – she’s trying to land a HUSBAND, Y’ALL, AND BEFORE HER LADYPARTS GO ON BIOLOGICAL STRIKE, not just have some fun dating people – but at the root these things are similar: what’s attractive.
Sometimes I feel like a field researcher when it comes to dating. I continue to believe that I am a SUCKY SUCKY DATER because I’m either too nice (and let someone think I’m more interested than I am because they’re nice and let’s be friends and not that kind of friends and stop staring at my ass please) or too mean (like roll over after fucking them for 10 sad sad minutes and tell them right there I don’t think we should see each other anymore and yes it is because of what you just did).
I’m, like, trying. Mostly I just want to get a taco and a whiskey and maybe talk about what funny shit we should write on bathroom stalls.
As part of this obviously very deep and serious adult soul-searching shit, I’ve realized what I thought dudes think is hot is 80 kinds of NOPE. I grew up on a steady diet of Cosmopolitans and Glamours and Peoples and you know what those are about. Giant and perky tits, round but tiny asses, tan and long hair and smart but not smarter than him, with a desire to shoot two or three kids out of that baby box but NEVER LOOK LIKE some ravenous bladder-puncher was staging Occupy Uterus for 42 weeks.
Anyway I grew up and was like whoa, so turns out I’m a feminist, WHO KNEW THERE WAS A WORD FOR ME. I quit buying into all that Cosmo shit and started wearing what I wanted, not what Skirt is Right for a Curvy Gal, and shit was cool. When I was married I NEVER thought about whether I was doing “the right stuff” to turn on my husband. I walked around for all those years not giving a fuck what he thought about how I looked because he’d told me a bunch of times I was hot and I believed him.
And then I was single again.
And I still wanted to get laid.
And so that meant new people.
And all that shit I thought I’d gotten over came back.
I was like I’M ALL WRONG FOR DATING for about two weeks before I remembered that those lady rags (and articles like Smith’s) ARE FULL OF SHIT and dudes are individuals who think people are hot for all kinds of reasons, not just their potential “wifeliness.” DUH. So of course I just jumped in, as you do, but in the course of dating and flirty-talking to people I’ve noticed some trends THAT GIVE MY VAGINA HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.
Let’s go eat a lot of food and also talk about it constantly.
First: I’m not hating on sandwiches. I LOVE THEM. My OKCupid profile can be summed up like this: tacos, kimchi, BBQ BBQ BBQ, pizza, cheeseburgers, roasted chicken, more kimchi, avocados. About half the messages I get on there revolve around BBQ and going to get it and eat the shit out of it. Can one look all hot and sexy with coleslaw juice dripping from her chin and hands full of a smashed-up pulled pork sitting next to a giant mess of Wet Wipes smeared with sauce? YOU BET YR ASS.
Just don’t roll over with your morning breath and ask me why I haven’t made you a sandwich in the 15 minutes I’ve been awake or I’ll ask you why you haven’t gotten the fuck out of my house in the 2 minutes you’ve been awake.
Don’t shave or even shower everyday.
Example 1: One time I was in a bar with a dude friend and a bunch of lady friends, and we were somehow talking about shaving and all that crap. I rarely shave this (pointed to my armpits), NEVER shave this all off (pointed to my junk), and shave this when I feel like it (pointed to my legs). That dude was all yeah, I can get behind that, and when we ended up fucking a couple months later I was like THAT RIGHT THERE was the turning point. Armpit hair.
Side note: I cannot for the LIFE of me understand this whole naked junk thing. Shape it up, sure, but all gone? It’s fucking CREEPY.
Example 2: The last time I was in Richmond alone I went to the river. Walking across the bridge in the 200 degree heat, already sweaty and wearing some shitty t-shirt and cut-offs, I got asked out for a drink. Walking back, VERY VERY sweaty and stinky and sunburned and hair a mess and muddy feet I got asked out for a drink by someone else.
Works for me!
Speaking of not shaving or showering, dress kinda like a hobo.
My fashion choices swing pretty drastically from ladylike to completely dudely with not much in-between-ness. When I’m planning to go on a date, I don’t usually flip out and try on a hundred thousand outfits. I usually just wear what I’m in the mood for that day, regardless of what I’m doing.
A lot of what I like right now has holes in it.
This is apparently a good thing.
That whole thing about you not being skinny is, like, amazeking.
I’m not kidding about this one. I have NEVER been skinny, never will be, plus, bonus points, I HAVE HAD TWO CHILDREN. AND YOU CAN TELL. Even though I love my kids and am a feminist and can look down at my body and be all my body is fucking awesome, look what it did TWICE!!!!! I still have those crappy little thoughts that tell me some dude who’s 30 and never had kids will get me all naked and then be like Girl I have to go try and beat that really hard level in Candy Crush GOODBYE.
That’s not how it’s working out, though.
I’m split about this because I KNOW I shouldn’t even give a fuck, but I still do. I know I’d be upset and ragey and hate on myself for a while if that actually happened to me while also being very much FUCK THAT GUY. That obviously sucks.
But also, it’s kind of fucking awesome to realize I’m probably not going to run into this as much as I thought, because dudes seem to be veering more in the opposite direction AND THAT MAKES ME VERY VERY HAPPY FOR DUDES.
So, I guess what I’m saying is if you want to go on a date and eat a bunch of food wearing our holiest hobogear and run your hands up my spiky thigh, LET’S DO THIS THING. And if you want to make ME a sandwich, I’ll do something better than demand 299 more and slap a ring on that finger at the end – I’ll probably make out with you after I eat the goddamn thing.
Ok so somehow I clusterfucked last week with AWESOMENESS and managed to book myself in Richmond for four days, then like two days later I traintripped to Albany for even more fun with Amy!
I won last week.
First, I got to take the train there. The REAL train, not the shitty pissed-on plastic-seated BULLSHIT that takes you from Jersey into New York City. I was amazed at the wideness of the seats! The plushness of the seats! The non-urinated-on seats! Basically the seats were amazing. And I sat next to a really nervous cute undergrad who was all MATH MATH MATH and pretended my degrees in Writing Academic Shit were impressive.
And then I was in the station and there was Amy!!!! And then she took me home and there was Dumbcat!!! He loved me and I loved him and there were many purrs. Also Amy cooked the most amazing enchiladas, and I ate THE SHIT out of them.
Actually I could classify this whole trip by the food. I ate like a truck driver. We went to this kickass diner for breakfast on Saturday morning, and I ate eggs and pancakes and sausage, then had ice cream for lunch, then had this AMAZING dinner at New World Bistro that included duck potstickers, beet green and goat cheese ravioli, and a giant fucking dessert! By Sunday I was like I can eat no more everrrrrrrr.
NO REGRETS. It was delicious.
I have to backtrack to this weird thing, though. At the diner I was asking our waitress what kind of sausage came with the Not Fucking Around & Eating All The Things Breakfast Platter, and I ended up basically miming a two-handed blow job when asking her if they were link style (I don’t know how, it just happened and it was funny so I kept doing it). And then she said yep and asked if I was a teacher.
Mime a blow job.
Get asked if I’m a teacher.
Yeah I don’t know either.
Amy and I found some cool shit at the thrift stores, which were big and awesome, plus we heard a slightly crazy woman talk LOUDLY about how she used to study martial arts. I also got to see the Empire State Plaza, which had these gorgeous old buildings and The Egg AND two very weird weddings going on, or maybe one wedding and a pep rally (loud music and not many people? We could not figure it out). Amy was SO CUTE about her city; it was very much like a proud mama showing off her new cute little baby, and I couldn’t have had a better guide to Albany. It’s really gorgeous, with tons of history and cool old shit and generally happy-looking people and THIS WAS A SURPRISE TO ME. An awesome surprise. I’m so so happy I got to see a little bit of Amy’s city the way she does, because I always thought Albany was kind of a shithole and I’m not even sure why I thought that, but I DO NOT THINK THAT anymore. Because it’s not. GO THERE AND YOU WILL SEE.
And THEN it was time to get pretty and go to that amazing dinner (where EVERY WAITER WAS FUCKING HAWT and Amy and I picked out boyfriends there), and then the play!!! I got to meet some of Amy’s real life awesome people, who were all so nice and happy. I even met one dude from Opp, Alabama, and let me tell you THAT was a goddamn miracle, because there’s maybe 10 people there at any given time AND ONE OF THEM ESCAPED WAY FAR AWAY. Naturally some accent-talk happened and I got treated to this dude Nate doing a little swoony impression of a Georgia woman bargaining for more tea during a ration-war-time and it was HILARIOUS. And then the play! The play. It was amazing, so heartfelt and true and had this delicious dichotomy of sympathy & monstrosity going on for the title character. Everyone in the production was great, but Kathleen Carey as Maggie was just outstanding. And I got to meet her afterward! I felt so lucky and special.
And dudes, people KNEW Amy at this place, and not just her friends. She’s clearly a big deal in the theater world there, and I was so pleased to be her ladydate and get to see her in her element!
Sunday was quiet and coffee-getting and train-taking. I found out that I can curl up in two seats quite comfortably and sleep on the train (benefits of being short and tired all the time, yo). THE MORE YOU KNOW.
Can I just say one more time THANK YOU AMY AND DUMBCAT for letting me come and stay, shop and eat, watch a play and feel special and hot in my dress-up theater dress? You guys are the best. I can’t say this enough.