Sunday, February 28, 2010

Father Knows Best: Reason My Dad F*CKING ROCKS #147

As Margaret More Roper once said of her father, Sir Thomas More: "My dad fucking rocks." (Actually, I think the exact quote was, "Excuse me, sir, can I buy my old man's head back? Our fam's in a real pickle." 

And if you don't know why that joke is effing hilarious, you really need to catch up on your 16th century Reformation-era history. But I digress...)  

The point: Like Sir Thom, my father rocks. 

A few examples:

#76: He slow-braises beef short ribs for hours in savory demi-glaze, spoons them over homemade garlic mashed potatoes, freezes them, then sends divine meat-packages into the city so my friends and I can have home-cooked meals even when we can't come home.

#15: He prefers weed to alcohol and, at 56, can still roll the most immaculate joint you've ever seen in under two minutes.

#112: He's 6'2", 240 lbs. and weeps openly every time he sees a father walk his little girl down the aisle at a wedding.

#147: The card I'm about to detail for you in this post.

A quick primer: 

Having successfully survived the part of raising girls which includes living under the same (small) roof with two hormonal teenaged time-bombs, a perimenopausal wife and a deaf female rat-terrier with OCD, Dad's paternal instincts are as immaculately honed as Charlie Sheen's coke insufflation technique. With his nest now empty, he keeps his skills sharp in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) playing surrogate father to the myriad vagabond bohemians I call friends. 

A few weeks ago, said ring of vagabond bohemians continued its decade-long tradition of inbreeding when one male member and one female member started hooking up on the regular. (This happens frequently. Though I'm assuming it'll be happening less, since we're running out of members who haven't, at minimum, gone down on one another...but again I digress.) The male then did something even he openly admits was stupid and hurtful, wounding the female badly enough that she told him to go fuck himself.  

When Dad called a few days later he asked after his surrogate children. I gently explained the falling out of Male and Female (both of whom he loves and will love no matter what stupid thing they do) and mentioned Female was feeling jaded by the whole encounter. 

Shortly thereafter, Female received a handwritten note from my father in the mail. 

The front of the card has a picture of a dog hanging out a car window with the Madame de Stael quote "The more I see of man, the more I like dogs" underneath. The inside reads thusly:

Dearest Ms. [Female's Name Withheld Because Blogging is Bad for Incestuous Social Circles],

I'm sure you get the sentiment of this card...especially when you are dealing with "young boys"...they oft think like "young children."

Sometimes I wish I could have redone some of the things I did when I thought like a young manboy...and, of course, [insert name of Male who wounded Female here] is incapable of being as perfect as I was in my youth. But that's still no excuse for him being a dumb ass.

It's pissed...think revenge...then move on.

You have so much to much personality to be able to handle much that makes you the catch you will be for the right person when you are ready...and so much life to go. Don't fret--know you are loved by family and friends...when you are sad so are we, so move on to a better place...and better guy.

With love,
Papa and Mama Syllabick

PS: "Love" doesn't mean a six pack stomach and rippling tushy muscles...if that were true, then why has Mama stayed with me so long? It's more important to feel love in your heart and mind.

And if that fails, go for the money. 

That, gentlemen, is how you raise daughters.

That, ladies, is a piece of text we should all be reading like scripture. 

And that, everyone, is reason #147 my dad fucking rocks. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

EPIC (DETOX) FAIL: Purple Haze

My dumbass, red-purple "edgy girl bob" dyed the freaking sheets violet. Both pillowcases, plus the portion of the sheets under the pillows that makes contact with my head when I start rolling like an alligator in a death-spin after the insomnia frustration sets in.

Remember that part where I was going to slip out like a ghost in the night, leaving no trace behind? 

I'm as stealthy and untraceable as a know, if ninjas wore suits made from bubble wrap and cowbells and carried Chinese sparklers as weapons. 

(Also, that would be SO cool.)

Fuck my life. Wild Oxiclean session commencing immediately. 

And for the record: This is not Manic Panic--this is a very professionally executed and (embarrassingly) expensive red-purple-black dye job. So I feel the least the salon could have mentioned was, "Hey don't squat at any dudes' places, your bougie hair could potentially leave a berry-colored trail pointing directly to how retarded you are if you sleep on white sheets."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Musing over Muses, or, Detox-Driven Girl-Blogger on Girl-Blogger Love

It's day eight in detox. And I think it's working. 

The first two days were predictably awful--me moping around in dumpy t-shirts with no make-up on through twitchy bouts of dopamine withdrawal, voluntarily isolated in an empty space that felt weirdly wired with a thousand eyes sardonically watching each pathetic example of my LAMENESS. It probably looked a bit like "check in" day on the shit show that is HBO's Celebrity Rehab, only no one confiscated the stash of klonopin I stuffed in a balloon and hid in my anal cavity and Dr. Drew was no where to be found, which is sad, because if he had been around I would have screwed that sexy, sensible, silver-haired poindexter until he took to his Twitter account and sent out a 140-character mayday for help.

Fortunately, around day four a few landmark things happened, one of those events being a relentless night of insomnia which would not be beaten into submission by anything, including two of the previously mentioned anally-stashed klonopin. So, like all sleep experts recommend, I stayed up until dawn going through the archives of my favorite bloggers.  

By sunrise I was delirious, overwhelmed with words and wit and bad puns and really fucking great bad puns and poetry that doesn't suck and pictures of assless leggings and months and months of the banal shit we occupy ourselves with on a daily basis that, in the hands of lesser personalities, would probably make me want to eat an entire balloon stuffed with butt-benzodiazapines...but doesn't, because when filtered through the prism of certain people it all becomes twisted, fascinating, relatable, and sometimes outright funny. And the best of it was written by women. 

Sleep-deprived and barely lucid, laying in someone's empty bed with dawn lapping at my face, my brain spun a wild, tongue-in-cheek Sapphic monologue, a talent-crush fantasy strewn with hyperlinks:

"I need an escape from my self-absorbed prison, where I let male guards piss in my cell and then ask why the floors are so sticky. 

Maybe I'll take off to Texas and have a torrid affair with the Hipstercrite, plying her with PBR until she blacks out and I can steal from her closet. But only after her cool Austin buds bail us out of jail, because if she (and this brain) and I meet and alcohol is involved we will inevitably get ourselves arrested...

...or maybe it's about staying local and fucking My Soul is a Butterfly's Hannah Miet like a palindrome, which is fine because she likes shit like that thatAnd when I'm through I'll loll naked and tangled in her sheets, praying she'll read a stanza of the poetry that flows through her as naturally as blood so I know what real poetry sounds like out loud... 

...I could marry The Sassy Curmudgeon, especially after this brilliant piece of insightful comedic foreplay, but someone beat me to it and she blogs about him frequently, and he really looks better with facial hair than I and I couldn't deal with the competition...

...I would fall for Ashley of lesbifriends, but it would never work out since her lesbian pals would find my bisexuality suspect and tear us apart like Tony and Maria (Toni and Maria?). So I'll just read posts like this on a fire escape "somewhere" (ha, get it? Oh man. Musical theater jokes. You hit the jackpot today guys...) and love her from afar...

...Meg of Blackberries to Apples is a good Southern girl who'd never tolerate my crass Northern bullshit, not even if I toned it down to write her name in the snow in romantic calligraphy like a proper suitor, but I can still watch her writing climb upwards like ivy and say that I knew her when she was a seedling...

...I've known Jenny of At a Loss for Words long enough to know she'd never biflingual, but I can certainly lay here and pray to see the world through her eyes someday, since I'd be beautiful enough to take pictures of (inside and out) if I could learn to quiet the sharpest words in my head... 

...and the first thing I'll do when I remember this ramble is thank the logical, unstoppable phenom that is Jessie at 20-Nothings, because she told me and taught me to write a blog, and opened a world beyond my old journal, and helped me find minds that make me feel crazy moments are okay, as long as you can make other people  laugh at them."

Then I finally fell asleep. I think.

So far the time in detox has done several things, some I don't totally understand. But I do understand it's made me want to spend more time in the company of minds like the ones listed above and fewer hours sequestered away obsessing like some far-off Rapunzel with an Aeon Flux bob and binoculars, as tends to happen when you get distracted by things without boobs. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

NUMBERLESS HITCH LIST ITEM: Emotional Detox, or, Semi-Illegally Squatting in an Ex's Apartment (with a non-stalker purpose)

I'm squatting in an ex-lover's apartment.

Okay, well, not entirely. According to the unquestionably reliable pillar of knowledge that is Wikipedia, "squatting" is classically defined as "occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use."

The whatever-he-was knows I have his keys, because he gave them to me. And, before our tenuous pseudo-romance pseudo-ended with all the flaccid fanfare of a cigarette sizzling out in a rain storm, he asked me if I'd mind picking up his mail while he was away on a trip I was not invited along on. (An exclusion that led to the conversation which finally revealed, to me at least, the Munchian portrait of how much he was "just not that into me." Hence the weird psuedo-ending.) So he knows I'm around his unoccupied residential space that I do not own, rent, but otherwise have semi-permission to use. 

What he does not know, entirely, is that I brought a suitcase, three different pairs of black suede boots of varying styles and heel size, a blow-dryer, a flat-iron and my laptop, and have set up for an all out affection-detox scheduled to last from this very moment until the day before he returns, whereupon I will slink back to Brooklyn with, ideally, some sort of immunity to him--a resistance to the pieces of him that have, somehow, taken root in the usually un-farmable topsoil that is my emotional commitment to anyone. I figure that if I cannot exorcise the demon of feelings after several days of living among the items of a life he has, almost expertly, built to exclude anyone like me, then the matter is out of my hands and I can go cry to old Joy Division albums without shame. 

I'm fully aware that this sounds insane.

Walk with me a moment, will you?

First, lets make this clear: this is not an obsessive camp-out. He is a good man, a post-Alex rebound I knew better than to catch feelings for. I was a rebound he had no intention of ever feeling anything for. And so I am not wandering his halls swathed in a burka constructed from used bed sheets while tearily keening to Vic Chesnutt records. I have no delusions that he will suddenly burst through the door, drop his suitcase on to the floor with a careless clatter and scoop my pixyish form into his arms, pressing my tiny head to his chest while confessing the time apart has made him realize all we could be. His journal, left in plain sight, remains and WILL remain untouched. I've even started to return things he's given me over the length of our purgatorial courtship--the skully I borrowed during an icy, mid-December meet-up; the vintage men's nightshirt he gave me because it made me feel like I was on Mad Men; the palm-sized copy of a book of microfiction passed along with a "you have to read this"--to their original homes. In his actual home. 

The thing is, when it comes to the end of affairs, I have chosen the "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" method of healing hurt (with a little sprinting from my emotions tossed in for good measure) for about...oh, 26 years. OSOM is easy, familiar, methodic: box up all photos, ticket stubs, items left behind, gifts given, etc., and discard or hide them. Pull all bands/songs shared as a pair from the iTunes playlist. Carefully remove "we, he, us" and their formal name from the daily vocabulary. And then, as stoically as possible, move forward (punctuating the journey with occasional emotional meltdowns, complete with  Nancy Kerrigan-style wails of "WHYYY," that are usually triggered by the door closing on a now tomb-like bedroom). 

But this tactic obviously doesn't work for me. Seven years after the first major split of my life, I still can't listen past the first chord of Des'Ree's "Kissing You" without exploding into snot and tears like a cheap tissue. I obsess. I dissect. I blame myself for everything while running as far in the opposite direction of my own bloodstains as possible. And, once the over-analysis and self-flagellating passes, I find myself thinking about the death-blow and executioner constantly, like some ghost haunting her own tomb, seeing only the specter of the fantasy "us" and not the reality of the situation. Burying my head in the sand burns the imprint of loss inside my skull. 

So, a new tactic; an experiment of emotional kinetics. Staying still, rather than running. And attempting those fledging steps of detachment while surrounding myself with things I've become attached to.   

Toilet paper. Shampoo. His coffee. That couch. I'm injecting these little pieces of infection into my body purposely, until my emotional defenses are armed effectively enough to exorcise them. Call it practical applications of vaccination theology.

I cannot run from feelings anymore. So I'm just going to sit here with them until they run from him...until the fever breaks and I go numb.

Also, his place is 3 subway stops from my office, one block from Whole Foods, has heat and there's a motherfucking blizzard outside. If faced with the same option, I hope he'd make the same decision.

I am a mad, mad, mad, mad scientist. With keys. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Resolutions Everyone With a Penis Should Make

In the predecessor to this post, I used some basic research and general "do as I say, not as I do" logic to get on women (yeah, go ahead, picture it) about the bullshit moves women as a gender need to axe in order to make the world a better place. Having called out vaginae across the globe, it's time to shift focus to the other end of the spectrum. Today, we're talking to you, peni.

Men, I get it: women are confusing. We've got hair triggers wired to bombs scrapped together from ovaries, tear ducts and emotions you don’t understand. We say one thing, mean another, pursue an unspoken third and expect you to navigate all three without a single fuck-up, lest the ovary-bomb detonate in your face (sometimes literally). We will, like clockwork, spoil your post-orgasm haze with excruciating over-analysis of "feelings" or some off-hand comment you delivered three weeks ago and don't even remember saying. And, when not clinging to you like koalas on eucalyptus branches, we will sometimes abandon you entirely...especially if you've developed feelings. 

Well, scrotum toters, you're no cakewalk either.

In order to help pave the divide between the sexes, I interviewed a group of 20 men and 15 women, gay and straight, single or dating, ranging in age from 22 to 56, to get a rough idea what behavioral changes would make 2010 a better year for ALL of us. Here, in no particular order, are the top five changes which could better the lives of the menfolk and the partners they love (or used to love) if implemented en masse, recognizing they're applicable to both genders:


1. IF YOU'RE JUST NOT THAT INTO HER, DON'T ACT LIKE YOU ARE. This one is the root of 90% of all female insanity.

Mixed signals have been a plague on humankind ever since Eve told Adam she was “totally happy” (direct quote), then took off to get happier with a fucking serpent and his quince (PS: that snake was totally gay. A quince? Really??). They’ve gotten no easier to deal with or interpret, and the reality you’ve been misled by someone you thought cared for you stings no less than being ejected from Eden.

While both genders struggle with this, the thrill of the hunt and validation of someone’s affection is something which seems to scramble the empathy chip in men faster than women. I sat over drinks with a male friend recently, watching as he rolled his eyes while his phone lit up with texts from a girl he’s been seeing several weeks without much fanfare. “She just can’t take a hint,” he groaned while nevertheless texting her back something with a cute emoticon at the end...before casually dropping how amazing sex had been with her the night before.

“Wait, so, you don’t really like her?”

“She’s cool, but not my type.”

“And you’re not interested in pursuing anything serious with her?”

“No. And I told her that.”

“But you were inside her less than 12 hours ago and are now texting her cute messages with little smiley faces?”


It took everything not to reach across the table and slap him.

After a little more probing, it became clear that my friend is not a heartless cretin--just stupid. To him, the words “I’m not interested in anything serious” were in no way a contradiction to his actions. Hey, he’s warned her, right? When I explained that the combination of sex, daily texts and taking her to meet all his friends (which he did) could be interpreted as “boyfriend behavior” and would turn her into what all men fear most--a clingy, crazy woman--if he didn’t STOP, he seemed baffled.

Purposefully cultivating the affection of someone you do not have feelings for out of practice, sport, boredom or loneliness isn’t just childish--it literally breeds the sort of trust issues, game playing and maddening neuroses that can cripple the next relationship you really do want. No decent human wants to be the bad guy...but I guarantee you will be if reconciling your signals with your intentions is not a priority. If you really need the attention that badly? Get a dog.

2. STOP USING INFATUATION AS A BAND-AID. Again, both genders are guilty of this one, but men, largely because of the societal pressure to “man up and get over it,” are expert abusers.

Infatuation is one of the easiest and most effective remedies on the shelf. I know the set-up well: a partner breaks your heart; a major tragedy shakes you to your foundation; a difficult life change opens wounds you didn’t know you were nursing. The pain, anxiety and isolation that follows any of these events is almost too much to bear. When a distraction (particularly one with a pulse that can validate you with their attention) finally comes along, it feels like divine intervention.

Throw in a little sex and things get even better. Different from love-making, infatuated sex causes a potent cocktail of drugs to be released by the brain and into your depressed body, specifically oxytocin (a natural painkiller), vasopressin (a chemical which causes bonding between individuals) and endogenous opioids (your body’s own homegrown heroin)...basically, everything you need in that moment to feel not just human again, but superhuman.

You are not superhuman. You’re a junkie, masking the real issue with an intoxicant that makes absinthe look like O’Douls. And, like any junkie, the only way to keep the high rolling is to find the next fix. Since infatuation inevitably fades (our brains are wired to move to the next thing), a cycle begins: enter blissful plaything after plaything, each holding a fresh hit of distraction in their outstretched palm.

But infatuation is a poor dressing for wounds. It heals nothing and delays re-growth, allowing major trauma to fester for years before the smell of your damage finally alerts someone--if you’re lucky, you--that gangrene has set in. At best, you don’t lose any limbs and recover. At worst, your untended issues become your undoing...or become the kind of scars someone who would treat you the way you’ve always wanted won’t be willing to deal with.

A little post-break-up booty never hurt anyone. I’ve even practiced this ritual as a religion at times. But ignoring the heart of the matter (your own) entirely is an excellent strategy for longterm misery, and no amount of band-aids will fix a sucking chest wound.

Men are fantastic fibbers, especially when it comes to the basics. "Where are you? Who's with you? Are you drunk? What happened?"

I've both witnessed and received completely fabricated answers to all those questions and seen them delivered with remarkable flair. But then, anywhere from a week to six months later, it comes: the inevitable fuck-up. 

The fuck-up is a two-pronged inevitability. First comes the predictable atrophying of the Male Lie. Like an overweight caribu falling behind the herd, one flubbed "fact"--a Facebook photo which contradicts the intel you gave your interrogator, a wingman's public admiration of what you had assured your woman was anything BUT bad behavior, a slip of the tongue that reveals one of your partner's rivals really WAS present on the night in question (after you said he/she was not), anything--loosens itself from your airtight story, compromising the stability of an otherwise solid untruth. This misstep then awakens an entity that has mystified and ultimately destroyed men for millenia: the Female Memory.

A Venus flytrap brimming with seemingly benign details, the Female Memory violently unwinds thousands of hidden tentacles once provoked, each demon-limb thorned with tiny details (from ex-girlfriend names to subway routes) you, the man, have long since let slip away. In a bloody scene that could have made the final cut of Clash of the Titans, these flailing appendages wind themselves around the petrified form of your flubbed factoid, slam it into the hard surface of reality until the spine shatters, then use the broken body like a hammer to break apart your lie until nothing but bare, raw truth lays naked on the ground.

More vicious than when this brutalizing happens openly (spurring a fight, an apology and, if you're lucky, make-up sex), however, is when the Female Memory rips something apart--and the woman says nothing. Sometimes we're waiting for more proof, even though the tidal wave of bad feelings is already headed toward the shore. Sometimes we've made the decision not to start a fight over something small...or to save a big one for another time. Sometimes we honestly don't know what to do with the truth. Regardless, once exposed to the Female Memory, the Male Lie becomes a landmine the man in question could set off at any time.

I’m not saying women don’t lie. (On the contrary, we are the only gender that can utter the phrase “I’m pregnant” when it’s not true, and we’ve all watched Maury enough to know how that story ends.) Lying and the erosion of trust is a major issue on both sides of the fence. What I’m saying is, simply: Women are better at lying than men are, which means we know when you’re full of shit. So, in the presence of the masters, don’t complete...don’t challenge...

...take notes.

4. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. I discussed this one in detail on the women’s list already, so I'll just summarize here. As mentioned originally, the most emotionally raw people I interviewed all commented that they'd been hurt by the same two things: A) pursuing lives which didn't make them happy, and/or B) being misled by someone who said they wanted one thing but really wanted the complete opposite. This basically means people spend as much time lying to themselves as they do to other people, if not more.

The good news is that while self-ignorance is harmful to you and everyone you care about, it's remedied fairly easily. So go hit a retreat in Utah, meditate at an ashram in Bali, or simply grab a six-pack and go sit in the corner until you’ve figured out what you want from life...and us. Knowing thyself is the new yoga.

5. GO DOWNTOWN. I don’t know how else to put this, so I’m just going to say it: You. Have. To. Eat. The. Pussy.

During my many years nestled in monogamous (oral-filled) bliss, I heard grumblings from girls about non-reciprocating oral sexers. These weren’t isolated incidents retold by wildebeests you wouldn’t expect ANYONE to go down on. These were tales of dissatisfaction from women at the top of the sexual food chain, hot, discerning and Brazilian-waxed lovers that lavished oral attention on their partners willingly and without complaint...up until the point when the menfolk bypassed their turn and went plunging into the tunnel without paying the freaking toll.

I’d encountered one of these tongueless gremlins in college, but figured he was an anomaly--a charismatic alcoholic whose unfortunately tiny penis was frequently downed like a windsock on a still day by cocaine, his clitoral ineptitude seemed just another part of his complete, sexually retarded package.

He was not an anomaly. Since college (which was half a decade ago) I’ve crossed paths with his ilk once myself, consoled two friends and three different acquaintances from other social circles who've gone un-licked, and spent five years verbally berating wingman Red for actually dating one of these lazy S.O.B.’s for such an unreasonably long period of time (yeah, he was a vegan, but that’s no excuse).

So I ask: What is it, Vagaphobes? You don’t like the mess? Just stay north of the canal, it’s drier up there! Don’t know what you’re doing? It’s the internet age--you can Google it! Can’t stand all the time and effort? Cool...we’ll be happy to watch Project Runway while your handle yourself tonight.

Men, this denial of service is particularly unacceptable if your partner gives fantastic head. I’m not talking run of the mill, vanilla soft-serve tonguing; I understand you can find that anywhere. But if your woman seems to have been divinely assembled in a Dyson laboratory, DO NOT SCREW IT UP. For every guy out there who won’t give head there are three women who give totally average head...and life is too short for average oral.

Oh, and while we’re in the area: shave it or trim for Chrissakes. This isn’t Europe and the waxing we do for you doesn’t tickle, so man up and fucking groom.

And thus ends the penis-oriented installment of this series.

May all genders and orientations remember that, regardless of gripes, we love each other. We've just got some work to do.