So, I am prone to what Frank refers to as “Tinter Tantrums,” which are the 44-year-old version of the classic two-year-old temper tantrum. They involve screaming and crying, accompanied by some physical action equivalent to a toddler throwing themselves on the floor and kicking. My most recent tantrum was about my weight gain of thirty pounds since meeting Frank.
I bellowed, “You did this. It’s your fault. I’m fat, and it’s all your fault.”
All the while I am grabbing my belly, which now lies around my lower abdomen like a giant unbaked croissant, and shaking it at him.
I don’t remember exactly what provoked me, but this outburst was probably brought on by him either suggesting a Dairy Queen Butterfinger Blizzard, asking if we could go through the Indi’s Chicken drive-through on the way home, or dropping a stick of butter in something I was cooking that was otherwise healthy, which he does often and defends by saying, “But, butter makes everything better.”
YES, butter makes everything better which is why I have a closet full of caftans, which I attempt to claim are a fashion statement and not the only thing that I own that fits anymore.
I recounted the incident to my next door neighbor, Renee, who may be a witch…but a witch in the best way. She’s the kind that knows herbs, communes with nature, understands the workings of the world, and is centered in the power of her womanhood.
She explained, “I know it is counterintuitive, but you must love it to lose it. You must embrace your stomach.”
“Duh…I did. I embraced it with both hands and shook it.”
“You know I didn’t mean literally. I’m just telling you what worked for me.”
Now, Renee has successfully lost 60 pounds without succumbing to any crazy fad diets or hours of exercise. When asked how, she says, “I simply redefined my relationship with food. I actually started tasting it. Just slow down, taste every bite, and stop when you’re full.”
I can genuinely say I have NEVER been full. Not after Thanksgiving Dinner, not after inhaling a whole large Good Fellows pizza by myself, not even after winning a Twinkie eating contest…Never! Food always swears if I just eat one more bite I’ll feel completely satisfied…food lies. Another friend, who has also lost in the 60 pound range, suggested low-carb, so I went to the grocery and loaded up on string cheese and broccoli and lunch meat. Then, Monday morning, my first interview of the day was with the guys that own Lexington Pasta. They are just as charming and handsome and generous as you would expect two half-Italian, half-Spanish men from Venezuela to be. When I left, they sent me off with a bag of fresh pasta. Fuck Low-Carb! I prepared it just as they told me to—boil two minutes, drizzle with good olive oil, and top with Parmesan cheese. It was a revelation in a bowl.
I realized the only way I am ever going to have the healthy relationship with food that will lead to only eating as much as I need is to stop treating it like an abusive boyfriend who apologizes and sucks me back with promises of deliciousness. I am going to treat food like a friend. I have decided, like the chick in “Eat, Pray, Love,” I am going to give myself one month to eat whatever I want, and actually enjoy foods company. I am going to try to actually taste my food without imbuing every bite with guilt. I am also going to be kinder to my belly. I will look at it in the mirror without cursing. And, I will not shake it.
_ (07/10/2009) How do I say this in a nice way? I don't. There are some really ugly children. This in and of itself is not a problem. The problem is that the parents of said children don't seem notice that their little angels look more like hobgoblins than humans. And if these parents happen to own a local business, they feel the need to assault both my eyes and ears with their talentless, little ogres
Every time I turn on the tube there are terrifyingly homely tots screaming at me through the screen with their monotone lisps, like a zombie version of Cindy Brady. A few offenders must be singled out. Like the parents who float blonde babies, stuffed into itsy bitsy bikinis and Barbie inner-tubes, around in a hot tub in an effort to sell home spas. I ask, isn't there a warning about that? Won't the 102° water boil their little organs? Yum...toddler tripe.
Then, there's always the creepy commercials made by the family who owns a construction, towing, or pest control company. Their offspring is always a chubby, redneck kid with a buzz cut, and if we're really lucky a rat tail. Inevitable, they put him in an ill-fitting tuxedo. Then, the little oaf hollers some asinine motto like, "Bugs bugging you? Let my Daddy squash 'em" while the camera pans so close that I can see the mucous dripping from his left flared nostril. I'm sure his mama thinks this television debut will catapult him to later WWF fame and fortune.
And then, there are all the ads that contain pianos and some sniveling little girl in a pinafore. In some cases, they are actually selling musical instruments. But in my favorite example, it is hearing aids they're hawking, which is completely ironic because the little girl has the most annoying voice to ever be recorded since Gilbert Gottfried. In it, Grandpa is devastated because he can't hear his precious princess plunk out some insipid tune on the old upright Steinway, so he upgrades his hearing aids. Poor, Grampy--once his Miracle Ear is inserted, the first sound to greet his ear is little Whiney Winifred droning on about how much she loves him in a nasal twang while staring blank-faced into space.
And, I cannot earn the full number of points I need to go straight to hell without mentioning the parents who capitalize on the fact that they have a disabled child to try to guilt the consumer into patronizing their store.
In this day of High Definition, I feel it more important than ever to issue this plea: Please, keep your ugly children off of my TV. Remember, you can give your darling dolt a script, but you can't make it act. Now...I'm going to go pack for hell.
My muse is back with a barbed wire neck tattoo, spear purchased from a Comanche Medicine Man, duffel bag full of stolen towels from the Niagara Falls' Stardust Inn, and a vengeance. Apparently, while attending Comic-Con, she met the woman of her dreams (they share a mutual obsession of The Hunger Games), and took off on a cross country jaunt in her motorized Off-the-Grid Tiny House trailer. They stayed in campsites and Walmart parking lots. They spent their blissful days drinking tequila; Freegan eating out of dumpsters; doing naked yoga, and communing with a coven of Wichita witches. After an argument over Fleetwood Mack, they parted ways at the Falls, and she hitchhiked the rest of the way home with a long haul trucker carrying Texas Longhorn cattle. They pulled into town last night at midnight.
Yep, she's back, manic as hell, with tons of ideas and demands. She wants me to write a historical horror about Lady Bathory, a mini series about the birth of bourbon, a play about my time as a gogo dancer, an Urban Fantasy about disco werebears, a political satire called Art Zombie about undeserved fame in our society, a retrospective show with the Sisters Provocateur, a poem to celebrate puberty, a KFW grant proposal for the “Why Settle for Princess When You Can Be Queen” project, and a series of Creative Nonfiction about my drunken exploits.
I asked, “How am I supposed to accomplish this word proliferation AND be the editor of skirt! Magazine, manage Frank's new heating, air, refrigeration business, take care of seven pets, lose thirty pounds, and keep both a house and a boat clean?”
She replied,”Don't know. Don't care. Not my problem. I'm just here to supply the inspiration. It's up to you to write.”
“What if I don't?”
“Then I'll stab you with my new sacred spear. It's magic. It won't leave lethal injuries or show any visible marks, but it will hurt like hell.”
So, if you don't see me for the next year or so, you know where I'll be...WRITING.
(04/21/2008) I was a very late bloomer. Throughout high school and all the way up to my mid-twenties, I was an average 34B. Then, while living in New York, I went up to a 36DD within a few months. Before you ask, no Upper East Side surgeon had anything to do with my cups going from half full to running over. I attribute it to a Washington Heights' Santoria priestess. It is the only explanation. I am seriously about 90% certain that my boyfriend at the time paid a voodoo woman in our building several chickens to bless my breasts. Thanks to both of them…even though I never really felt lacking, I must admit having the girls is great.
For the past ten years, I have wielded my cleavage like a Viking wields a mace and have slain a slew of foes with it. You can tell whether I’m feeling witty or not by how low cut my dress is. If I have nothing to say that day, I let the girls do the talking. And they don’t just talk to straight men. Gay men adore a good rack. Women, both lesbian and not, respond to breasts, too. Breasts are friendly, playful sorts of creatures…like otters…though hopefully not that hairy.
I myself can’t help becoming mesmerized by certain mammaries…especially when there is something shiny helping attract my gaze. Yesterday, I met this woman with huge boobs and a silver and ruby crucifix. It was very disturbing…Christ on a cross dangling between her bodacious set…I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I found myself saying the Lord’s Prayer to her decolletage.
Now, I’m going to say a prayer for my own:
As I lay me down to sleep,
I pray my perkiness to keep,
But if they fall before I wake,
I’ll accept it and not resort to fake.
(08/15/2012) To simultaneously mourn my bosom, and celebrate “Bad Poetry Day.”
The Pencil Test
When I was twenty-three or so,
I was administered a test.
It required gravity and a pencil.
And you took it with your breasts.
As the pencil was placed beneath my boob,
I held my breath in fear.
Until the lead-filled judge declared,
That I could still go without a brassiere.
You see, if the pencil stayed suspended,
My bra-free days were no more.
However, I could still run bare breasted,
If it clattered to the floor.
The pencil plummeted with lightening speed,
Which meant my breasts were perky, indeed.
I gloated, and grinned, and giggled with glee.
An ignorant girl of 36D,
With no clue of what cruel fate had in store for me.
At twenty-eight, the pencil faltered.
But, alas it finally fell.
When it stuck in the pink shag rug,
I let out a triumphant yell.
But when I tried at thirty-two,
The pencil stuck like superglue.
My explanation—the implement was faulty.
I refused to be disheartened.
So, I grabbed another pencil—
The fat kind they use in kindergarten.
It took a shimmy of my shoulders
And a shake of my hip,
To convince the chubby pencil,
To surrender its mean grip.
At thirty-eight, even the blind could deduce
That no pencil around was going to come loose.
So, I grabbed a marker by Crayola,
And oiled it down with Canola.
Then slathered butter on my skin,
To make certain I would win.
That night, I went out on the town--
Bra-less and bragging,
Refusing to accept the fact,
That my tits were sagging.
I retook the test at forty-four,
And discovered much to my chagrin,
My boobs can now hold a whole crayon box--
The big one with Burnt Sienna and the sharpener built in.
Twas certain death for my old friend vanity,
So, now I hang with peace and sanity.
The moral of this story…if it has one at all:
In the battle against time, even the bravest warriors fall.
So, about a month ago, my neighbor and I were sitting on the front porch watching a storm and extolling the attributes of kale chips –we talk about food a lot-- when a blond stranger emerged onto the steps from the deluge. It is approximately 9:30pm which means I am on bourbon # four or so. His pink polo shirt was drenched. His eyes were wide and desperate. He looked completely frightened and out-of-place in our fringe neighborhood, which sits in North downtown. He reminded me a little of that dainty Derek Hough of “Dancing with the Stars.” He told a harrowing tale of how he’d gone home with a woman he’d once known, and how she’d stolen his wallet, and tossed his keys, and how he had to get home to his daughter. He swore he had a job and offered to leave his business card. He vowed if I could loan him enough money to take a taxi home to Paris, he would bring me back the full amount in the morning on his way to work. And, for some reason…let’s blame the bourbon…I believed him.
Now, I am usually skeptical and distrustful to a fault. And, I never fall for the old “My child is in the hospital, and I am on my way to see them, but I ran out of gas” scam. At least, one person a week knocks on our door with that played-out plea. But, I am trying not to be so cynical and stingy, so much to Frank’s dismay, I gave him $20.
I made sure to be up and dressed early the next day fully expecting him to stop by and repay me on his way to his job. I hadn’t actually asked for one of his business cards so I had no idea where that was, but none the less. He didn’t show up that day…nor the next…nor the next. By day four, I was kicking myself for not getting his card so I could go to his workplace and raise the kind of hell that I have been specializing in for years. It involves high heels, red lips, screaming, and threats of involving my uncle the lawyer, brother the detective, and cousin the Hell’s Angel (none of which really exist). After a month, I chalked up the experience and lost cash to tuition payed out to the University of Life and School of Hard Knocks. Still deep down inside, I had a glimmer that one day he would show up with my money and a legitimate reason for it’s delay, and my hope in humanity would be renewed.
Then, yesterday, while I was stepping out of the shower, I hear Frank answer the door. It is 10am and a Tuesday, so I am bourbon-free. I peek around the corner. All I can see is a slightly built man in a dress shirt and tie. I hear him explaining to Frank how he went home with some black girl who stole his wallet and tossed his keys…what the hell, he’s back and now he’s not only a thief, but a racist!
I hear him explain, “I just need money for a cab to get home. I’ll pay you back. I make $100,000 a year…”
Frank retorts, “Then pay for your own damn taxi.”
Before, I could get dressed and intervene, Frank slammed the door. Almost immediately, he realized that was the charlatan in the pink polo from a month ago. He ran out on the front porch, but the shyster was gone. It was as if he’d disappeared into thin air.
I felt foolish. I felt furious. I felt futile. I had been bamboozled. And, now, I must finally admit that I will never get that twenty dollars back.
This will be my first Sunday Six blog, where I give you six tips on how to solve life's pesky problems in Bourbonista fashion. Today's entry is in response to the question: “How can you be friendly to someone without them misinterpreting it for something much more and showing up at your door?”
I do not have a particularly delightful demeanor nor a warm voice nor body language that invites hugs or even handshakes. Therefore, the only time I have even slightly worried that some stranger might follow me home is at Walmart when occasionally some man in the canned food aisle misinterprets my “What the fuck are you looking at?” glare for a come-hither stare. I remedy the problem by throwing creamed corn at him. However,there are less violent ways than pelting canned goods at strangers to discourage people you would prefer to keep as casual acquaintances from wanting to take up residence in your tool shed.
1) Always greet them with an animal sound. You could meow like cat, or moo like a cow, or hoot like an owl, or howl like a wolf, I prefer barking like a dog. While living in Washington Heights, New York—a neighborhood mentioned on every other episode of “Law & Order”--I employed this method to keep the drug dealers who hung out on the corner drinking Crown Royal straight out of the velvet bag from snake hissing at me, which is the Dominican version of a cat call. Whenever I would pass, before they could hiss, I would bark. I also barked at sketchy people on the subway and the stockbrokers who approached me in bars. It worked on all of them, and I was free to waltz around as the Belle of the Barrio.
2) Drench yourself in Jungle Gardenia cologne...no one can stand this scent for longer fifteen minutes.
3) Scratch your head frantically, then touch them on the arm and say, “Don't worry. Lice can't jump.”
4) Always insert your complete obsession with one of the following into the conversation: your extensive clown doll collection; crafting with carcasses; the Kardashians; your Cabbage Patch daughter, Emmeline; a letter writing campaign to free Charles Manson.
5) Occasionally throughout the chat, look behind you and say “Sssshhh, not now, Mummy. I'm not planning on being naughty. I promise. We'll talk about it when we get home.”
6) Have a perfectly normal conversation, BUT pump your eyebrows up and down the whole time your talking. Seriously...go to the mirror and try it. Would you keep talking to you?
Whoa...I just thought of something...do you think the dudes in Washington Heights beat me at my own game? What if they just chose a snake hiss instead of a dog bark, and were doing it not because they thought I was hot, but because they thought I was creepy? Something to think about.
_ (08/10/2009) Let us take a minute to mourn for the metrosexual. For if I am reading the signs correctly, we are indeed witnessing the last days of this breed of man who, despite being hetero, is highly-concerned with personal appearance and hygiene, drinks his imported honey ale from a pilsner--never a bottle, subscribes to GQ, and knows how to pick out a proper hostess gift. I predict that they will be completely extinct within the next ten years. It is an inevitable result of survival of the fittest--it's hard to scratch your way up the food chain without ruining your MAN-icure or scuffing your Gucci horse bit moccasins.
Macho is making a comeback. And you need only to look at Reality TV to see it. A slew of shows like Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, Axe Men, feature dirty, sinewy-muscled, mean-mouthed men doing manual labor and spitting and sweating...and people are watching it.
And, there is a third example of testosterone in action that is emerging--and is personally my favorite. Him, I would call the Butch Boulevardier (think Anthony Bourdain). This guy has read books, he can talk politics, he knows good scotch, he can find the g-spot, he plays an instrument, he travels--but never to all-inclusive resorts and never with more than a carry-on duffle bag. He can grow things and then cook them. He would not be caught dead getting a pedicure, but might try acupuncture. He has both gay and lesbian friends. Sometimes he smokes and calls women "baby," even though both are now politically incorrect. He smells like life, not some sandalwood-laced fragrance by Calvin Klein. Everything about him says, "I can take of myself and you too." I love this guy!
In some ways, I will miss the boys who didn't mind shopping all day at H&M and then going for Sushi and Appletinis. But, I was getting really tired of my men being prettier than me and constantly borrowing my Aveda sculpting wax. So, all in all, I'm thrilled with this latest Darwinian advancement.
Hoorah, for the return of real men!
(08/10/2012) Since this post was written, exactly three years ago to the day, the metrosexual has indeed gone the way of the DoDo Bird and Wooly Mammoth. However, it has been replaced by another breed that threatens the holiness of all that is virile…the Hipster. You can recognize them by their skinny jeans, skate shoes, plaid shirts, and bow ties. In one hand they carry a bike polo mallet and in the other an IPA beer. When not stroking their barely-there beards and brooding over global warming or the untimely death of Jeff Buckley, they are lauding the attributes of composting bins, pointing out the cons of downtown gentrification, and lamenting that the character of Juno is not real.
But, there are still men out there, for better or worse, who have more testosterone than a non-organic T-Bone steak. I married one. Example A: He firmly believes that the male areola is in no way an erogenous zone and should not be touched. At any attempt, he will bellow, “Get off! You don't touch boy nipples.” Unfortunately, the big Bluegill that clamped down on his right nip two weeks ago does not understand English or sexual double standards, and continued to bite it until it bled.
I am writing this post from the balcony of a cabin in Sevierville, TN-home of Dollywood, black bears, and all varieties of pricey, country crap. I'm drinking coffee from the one cup I found in the cabinets while Frank snoozes in an oversized bed made of logs--the early bird get the hazelnut cream. When this blog will get posted God-only-knows since I have zero internet access. By the way, If you are an opportunist who has visions of robbing my home while I'm gone...good luck. The man housesitting for us served time for murder and would do it again under the right circumstances. No, I am not joking...but the cats like him and he's very tidy. This is not a standard vacation. It's more of a working trip. While here, Frank the Heating and Air Extraordinaire must fix some duct damage done by squirrels; I must write a Halloween murder mystery; and on the way home we have to stop in Knoxville to perform an intervention. So, on this Flashback Friday, I return in my mind to a simpler time when we came to Gatlinberg to celebrate Frank's fortieth birthday.
Oh, the fun and adventures! That weekend, we decided to go on the Mushroom Diet. Though most of it is a glorious blur of Go-Kart Tracks, sawmill gravy, and sex, there I one event that sticks in my mind with clarity: the Mirror Maze. And just like it's name, it caused confusion and reflection...but not for the reasons you might think. Here are the questions and answers it spurned.
First Question: Who in the hell, after a weekend of eating nothing but deep-fried food, really wants to pay to look at themselves from every angle?
Frank, and me by association. He has heard that it is “trippy and really hard.” We pay the $14.50 or whatever ridiculous price it is. I enter. He's lolligagging behind talking to some tourist from Arkansas. I run through the maze at breakneck speed, never even skimming against the glass, and exit before he has stepped foot in the attraction.
Frank: Damn, how did you find your way through so fast?
Me: Easy, just avoided the sugary hand prints.
Me: Allow me... (I take him inside and show him all of the pint-sized prints at crotch level)...the mirrors have those. The clear paths don't.
Question Two: Who the hell puts a candy store at the front of a mirror maze?
Yes, the vestibule was filled with bins of gummy critters, jelly beans, caramel swirls, and the like. Munchkins gorged themselves while their parents paid, and then went through the maze putting their sticky little paws on everything.
Frank: Well, that kind of ruins it for everybody. I wonder why the clerk doesn't clean it?
When we exit again, we get our answer. Standing there, mouth full, elbow deep in Hot Tamales was the woman who happily took our $14.50.
Final Question: Who in the hell puts a chubby chic with a sweet tooth in charge of a candy store at the front of a Mirror Maze?
Sharing All I KNOW about the fine art of voluptuating. here's to living the lush life.