Addiction, Boys, Breakups, essays, Fantasy, Men, Queens, Want Monster, Writing

The Reformed Werewolves Club

images-78Are you supposed to feel this insecure three months into a new relationship? I guess no one ever looks down until they are halfway up a ladder, and when I chance a look, I feel sick. Because he matters to me now: I eyeball Connecticut, across from my parents at brunch and I wonder I wonder if I look too old for him, and if that is what everyone is thinking, and if it is only a matter of time until he thinks so too, and the whole structure sways vertiginously beneath me.

He meets my family, and at brunch, he gives my parents too much information; they ask how we met, and he launches into the long tale of how he was retired from dating when he met me, had been for a while, and then how things were sort of bumpy at first, and how he had told me on our first night out together that his dentist was hot and from this I had concluded that he wasn’t interested in me.

I can still remember how disappointed I was that first night. That’s how he got the name “Connecticut—“ named after the state he’s from, where people are regular and do not like me. He hates this name, has requested a new one for the purposes of this blog. So far, no dice.

Connecticut is not regular, and he does appear to like me, but still, I never feel like I have a good hold on him. He feels slippery, like any moment he might need to get his teeth cleaned and realize that loving me is a mistake.

With my addict-head thusly jammed up my own ass, I go out to speak at a 12-step meeting in midtown; I was nominated to speak at this fundraiser in October, and there are people there with clipboards sitting in the folding chairs and coffee fug, scoring my story on a rubric. It’s not a good enough story, I know it’s not good enough. It’s ordinary and I stumble over the words. A man with a clipboard makes a notation when I freeze and look at everyone for a long time, forgetting what I’m supposed to be doing and why I am here, my back a run of flop-sweat. When I was little, I was in some performance where I self-consciously pulled my dress up over my head so no one could see me. Stood there hidden, showing my underroos. This feels sort of like that.

When I get home, my apartment smells like grilled vegetables; Connecticut has magically made there be dinner out of the ingredients for dinner in my cabinets. I keep a lot of ingredients in the house, but only he knows how to put them together; left to my own devices, I will eat the same vegan grilled cheese sandwich night after night. While I was out, he hung my mirror; he hooked up my DVD player.

And I don’t know what to do with the certainty that I do not deserve this, any of this. Who sent you? I want to bark. Why are you here? How long, exactly, are you planning to stay?

When I look at him, I feel certain that he will be gone soon. He is like a snowman someone built on my lawn. In June. Inexplicable and temporary. I’m scared to get used to him being there.

Are you supposed to feel this insecure in a new relationship? I do not know. Maybe it’s the thing that keeps me from taking him for granted.

But in the middle of all this fear, I become aware, suddenly aware, of how many other interesting-smelling people there are around.   Deal messages me, letting me know he’ll be in New York soon; I never got the chance to fuck him while I was single and that doesn’t seem entirely fair. Also: I’m going on a field trip today with my students, and one of the chaperones is this sexy divorced father, who I think was waiting until the end of the school year to invite me out for coffee. I go on Facebook and stare forlornly at the long, golden limbs of that hot yoga teacher; she is wearing a bikini, and she is upside down, and she looks delicious.

But I am somehow in a monogamous relationship.

I look at myself in photos on Facebook and think I am unbearably ugly—the way my mouth hangs crooked on its nail, the tendons in my neck taut like rigging. I am old and uneven and I exercise too much. When I feel this way, I usually go looking for someone willing to try to persuade me that I’m wrong. Me, along with a million other girls I see walking around Astoria, all bright lipstick and short skirts and thumb-shaped bruises on our muscular thighs, waiting for someone to tell us we’re pretty enough.

This weekend, Connecticut and I are driving to New Haven, where I will be meeting his family, even though I’m not to be trusted in polite social settings, and even though people from Connecticut don’t like me. It’s a pretty good sign that we’re in something solid. But when he tells me that afterwards, he’s going to drop me back at my place and go home to his, because he’s tired, and is that OK, I tell him that it is. Of course it is.

It’s fine, to be alone on a Saturday night, with incoming text messages that offer me opportunities to feel wanted, to touch and to be touched even if it’s only our emojis that rub up against each other. I’ll be fine. I’m not going to turn into some addict-werewolf that rips her pants off and runs out into the night baying for attention.

Probably. Almost definitely not. I’m pretty sure.

images-79

(Side note: I think it’s impossible for a werewolf-girl to look sexy.  It always looks like a dog in a dress.)

Standard
Addiction, Bad Things, Blogging, dating, Men, Queens, Relationships, Sex Addiction, Writing

Adulting is Hard

FullSizeRender-26I settle into my new digs like fog, my belongings dustily swirling around me. This newly purchased Queens apartment makes me feel like I’m in that movie where aborigines come into first contact with modern society; I am overexcited by the jetliner flush of the new toilet, and have made a god out of the dishwasher. I’ve always loved the sound of the dishwasher, it’s my favorite white-noise setting when I can’t sleep and need sounds to block out the terrifying podcast of my own thoughts. Now, I stretch out on the couch and listen to a machine wash all my plates. Where I once used the same toast plate and teacup over and over until they were too sticky to lift off the counter, I now select a clean glass each time I want a beverage.  It’s crazy.   I ride the elevator (the elevator!! It’s like getting a piggyback ride for you and your shit every time you want to go to the laundry room!) down to the basement to wash my blankets, and there are signs down here in 400-point font reminding me not to play in the laundry carts. I’m not sure how you play laundry carts, but now that they told me I can’t, it’s all I can think about.

Things are changing, but they also stay the same. Barely 72 hours of homeownership and I drop a decorative conch shell in the bathroom and manage to smash the ceramic toothbrush holder that juts out of the wall. IMG_3801.JPG  I have noted before that everything I own looks ready for a street rumble, dangerous and jagged. And yet it’s quiet here; my one-bedroom place faces the garden and there’s no one out there to fight but this one asshole bird that makes a mating-racket at one in the morning, and maybe myself.

I move in on a Saturday, Connecticut and these four dudes I emotionally blackmailed carrying my furniture down four flights of stairs, shunting everything out of the apartment I shared with Sketch for years and years and into a moving van. I feel like I should leave a message written in all the bedbug powder I’m leaving behind, some kind of warning to the next inhabitants: This apartment is haunted and also bugs live here. I run my hands over the murals that Sketch, my charismatic nightmare of an ex-boyfriend, left up on the walls; I kiss them on the lips. I love you, I tell the paint.   The ghosts, in return, say nothing.

Love him or not, this week I unfriend Sketch and his family on Facebook so that I can make the announcement that Connecticut and I are in a relationship; then I stand back a little to give the Internet the space to react to this weighty news, covering my ears and waiting for the blowback.

The Internet shrugs.

People are busy living their lives. There are adults here in my new complex, busily doing laundry and not playing in the laundry carts, and I feel disguised among them, clearly fraudulent and yet proud of myself anyways. I fix a mortgage over my head and blink out of the eyeholes. No one screams when they see me coming, although I do get a couple of odd looks as I pedal my piece-of-shit bicycle, dead leaves ticking in the spokes and the frame tacky with duct tape, down the sidewalk. My name is on the miniature license plate.

This is important, because this week I’ve been finding that I don’t exactly recognize myself. A week of living here, and this is the first time I’ve opened up my laptop. What if I can’t write here? What if writing was contingent on living in that sticky, haunted walk-up, a punk-rock Miss Havisham waiting for Sketch to come back for me? What if I have unwittingly traded in the place where the writing comes from for a dishwasher and a normal boyfriend?

Connecticut comes over, and the next day we drive to a Target to look at rugs for my new apartment, and I help him pick out a dress shirt for work, and inside, Tippy is screaming that she doesn’t even know what is happening here. Who is this adult and why am I wearing her pants?  I bike past the old place to drop off my keys with the super, who surprises me by giving me a stiff, one-armed Ukrainian hug and wishing me luck, and that’s it; I feel like there should be some ceremony here, some number where the entire ensemble comes from the last ten years comes onstage for a final song. But there is nothing. I look at my phone, because if Sketch was to call me at this moment, I would answer. I don’t know what I would say, but I would answer.

Instead I peddle away, wobbly. My adult self doesn’t quite fit. It’s stiff at the joints. Connecticut drives me to Bed Bath and Beyond, where we shop for a dustpan and a new garbage can. Get me the fuck out of here, Tippy internally rages. Connecticut and I go back to my place and fuck, and I talk him into peeing on me, because I need the bed, the bath, and the beyond. My inner addict and my inner adult duke it out for control, and when Connecticut and I go to Home Depot to buy the shit to hang my pots and pans rack, we also buy anchors for the bedroom wall to properly tie me down as a compromise.

I need to be restrained here for a little while. I’m not to be trusted, I want to tell everyone I pass. You can’t trust me to pay a mortgage like an adult. You fucking can’t trust me not to run. Sketch calls, and I let it go to voicemail, and I talk to Connecticut about the voicemail at dinner.  But I do not tell him: You can’t trust me not to hurt you.  But he does. Foolishly, the people here trust me not to play in the laundry carts, and it’s the trust that keeps me from climbing in and taking off.   It somehow staves off the impulse to ruin everything, before it all falls apart anyway, at least for the fragile moment.

Standard
Addiction, Bringing Yourself, Distance, essays, Men, Photography, Relationships, Sex, Teaching, Writing

Giving a Shit, And Other Things That Hurt

IMG_3581.JPGThe Eftilou guesthouse where we’re staying is surrounded by hordes of semi-feral cats, needy and squalling, their ears shredded, their tails bobbed, some of their eyes missing. Battle cats: they fight and fuck late into the night in the jasmine-scented darkness. It seems like it’s always quiet in Greece until the cats or the church bells raise a sudden commotion, or some men from the local village start shooting shotguns at an effigy of Judas Iscariot tied to a pine tree. It’s Greek Orthodox Easter, and my friend and I are looked after by an old Greek woman whom I want to jam into my suitcase so she will come back to New York with me and be my new grandmother. She bakes me cookies. She picks me some strawberries.   She enthusiastically wishes me good morning in her thick accent. I love her.

But mostly the first thing I want to do when I get back to the guesthouse is get on the wifi so that I can text Connecticut. It’s a jones, low-level but persistent and distracting, like wanting a cigarette or something with sugar in it. Back in New York it is lunchtime; he’ll be sitting out in Union Square Park, and I can usually talk him into taking a selfie to show me what color tie he is wearing. I don’t particularly care what tie he is wearing, but I love that there is a person who will photograph themselves at my demand, for my personal pleasure.

But the wifi is out in Eftilou; there was a storm earlier this week that chucked rocks up onto the esplanade and swallowed deck chairs whole. It was a day to be relieved that the Coast Guard is turning back the Syrian refugees that are trying to cross the Mediterranean out of nearby Turkey; they wouldn’t have survived the five-mile crossing today. I, meanwhile, am a person whose worst problem is that she does not have wifi, and I am losing my shit. Because I can not text Connecticut, and if I can not text him, I worry that maybe his attention will shift to something or someone else. After all, that is my modus operandi: code name Out Of Sight, Out of Mind.

And now I care, and it is hard, caring. I still remember the way he side-eyed me back in December when I told him, I find you riveting. I’m pretty sure the only way I was able to get this close to him was by being all casual and ambiguous, still ducking out to go crawl under my ex. I got close to him the way you get close to a shy cat: a careful display of disinterest. I think of the battle cats outside, who wind around your ankles, hoping for scraps; the second you make eye contact and extend your arms, they bolt.

And now I catch myself pursuing Connecticut with my arms outstretched, texting him that I want one of his old t-shirts to sleep in because I miss his smell, my stomach lurching when I see his name, wildly swinging my phone around in circles trying to catch a bar. A throbbing cliché. Next I will start drawing hearts in a notebook and checking out his horoscope in the newspaper.   It’s terrible. He has a hundred and ten percent of my attention and I’m worried I’m going to freak him out, because my full attention is scary, and what if he only likes me elusive and disinterested?

So maybe it’s good that there’s no wifi. It might save me from myself.  For all he knows, I’m down on the beach with some Greek fishermen, running my fingers through their beards. This is a country where, to appropriate a line from Bill Bryson, the hottest man you’ve ever seen is blocked from your view by the next hottest man you’ve ever seen. I walk around smiling at people I could easily fall in love with for a week or two, fists balled under my chin. I flirt, but halfheartedly.

All my attention is directed on Connecticut, sunlight intensified through the magnifying glass that is my addict brain. I wonder if he’s puzzled by the change. I’ve been gently nudging him away for weeks, only making plans with him at the last minute, trying to schedule him around Sketch, replying to his lengthy texts with a single, distracted emoji, getting naked with him in the afternoon on days when I know I have something to do in the evening. And then one day I just wake up in Greece and find myself wanting to be this man’s girl, and it’s fucked up. I’ve already told him that I don’t want to be his girlfriend, that I think monogamy is for suckers, that I am not a relationship person.   And this is why you should never make sweeping pronouncements about yourself; you will only need to walk them back later.

How do people handle it? All the feelings? It’s like some rock over my soul just got kicked over, and this is what is underneath. It’s gross, and scary.

There is a smoking hot yoga teacher I know who invited me to go to some sort of girl-on-girl party in Brooklyn. That is what I am supposed to be doing with my life, not this thing where I feel so needy, where I want constant reassurance, where I need to see what color tie the man is wearing just to breathe normally again.

But alas, my phone has no wifi. Also, a few days ago, my phone’s iMessage shit the bed, and now I can’t hear from anybody unless they get me through Facebook or What’sApp (the worst application name ever, by the way. I can’t say it without wanting to punch my own self in the face). So also Sketch doesn’t know what happened to me. For all he knows, the cats got me.

I can’t even begin to think about having the conversation with him about Connecticut, and how this changes things. Every time I try to bring up the subject with my brain, all my thoughts dart away into some bushes, startled and wild. I can’t shake the conviction that this is really it, this time. I’m not going to frame this departure as a date-stamped break, or claim I’m just going to see what it’s like to date other people. I love someone else, and I need to put him first now.

It is a phyllo dough comprised of flaky layers of guilt, oozing with grief and dried lust-fruits. That is exactly the Greek pastry that my relationship to my ex now is.   Something you would feed to the stray cats to get them to leave you alone.

IMG_3649.JPG

It’s not Greek Orthodox Easter without this horror show.

I’ve reached my last day in Greece; I’m typing this from the tiny balcony of a cut-rate hotel. Greek Orthodox church bells woke me up at seven, and I came out here to write for a bit, looking up at the Acropolis. You can see it from everywhere around here, it seems like.

Ten days without sex and I feel a little more leveled out. I dreamed about bondage last night and woke up unsure of who had me tied up, Connecticut or Sketch.   Maybe neither. Maybe it’s a symbol or something.

I didn’t do much here. My friend and I came to volunteer with the refugee crisis, but we spent most of our days aimlessly looking for people to tell us what to do in various overstaffed storage warehouses. We folded and labeled clothing donations from boxes where it had already been folded and labeled.  FullSizeRender-22.jpgWe went to the beach up by the lighthouse and climbed down with the environmental crew to help cut apart rubber dinghies caught on the rocks, allowing me to live out my lifelong fantasy of wearing a knife and work-gloves with a bikini, but the work could have been done in minutes with proper equipment.   Everyone here is just kind of waiting for the borders to reopen, and I feel embarrassed when my friend posts humble-brag photos on Facebook. We are tourists here, trying to blend in with the real humanitarians that have been in the camps for months.

We loiter around the gates at Kera Tepe, the refugee camp outside of Mitilini, still hoping to Do Something Good. There’s a power strip at our picnic table, so when a couple of Yazidi men come out to charge their phones and electric shavers, they have no choice but to talk to us.   That’s how we end up having English class with their children and their wives, twenty-five Yazidi in the adjacent olive grove. What words do you teach someone who has no English? (They do know the ABCs, however, everyone including the men singing the song right up to the next time won’t you sing with me part in a heavily Kurdish-accented English) Cherry-picking vocabulary to pass along, I go with members of the family, things that you wear, the names of the things on your face. They take careful notes, double-checking the letters, and teach me Kurdish for the same, but I forget it immediately. I would make a terrible refugee. I am a bad swimmer and my brain is like a fossil in a can.

What these people have been through, are going through, will go through as they petition for asylum in one of the few countries willing to take them, is a bigger and more important topic than I am willing to ham-fistedly tackle in my silly sex blog. But I can tell you that the only time I stopped thinking about Sketch and Connecticut and the whole mess was when a five-year-old refugee girl slipped up next to me as we walked back to camp, and put her tiny hand in my hand. She didn’t ask. She just trusted that I would take care of her. And the only time I stopped thinking about whether I really love Connecticut, and whether I should tell him, and whether I am capable of actually loving anyone because I only think about myself all of the fucking time, is when a Yazidi boy the age of my students at home, gorgeous with his hazel eyes and thick eyelashes, stopped me by our rental car to practice his new vocabulary: I love you.   I lost it for a moment, my throat almost too tight to return the English. I love you too. I mean it. In the moment I mean it.  For now, it’s the best I can do.

FullSizeRender-23.jpg

Come to Lesvos!  They supported the refugees and now they need support; tourism is down 85% here.  Also, there are no annoying tourists around being all annoying.  So it’s win-win.

Standard
dating, Health, Men, New York, Secret Crushes, Sex, Writing, yoga

For Play

images-67When I am embarrassed, I take my phone out and stare into it, the way a cat licks its own asshole after it falls off a table. I have my phone out; now I can no longer see you or feel required to deal with you in any way.

And I’ve been feeling embarrassed a lot this week. I recently sent Connecticut a link to one of my posts about him, over the cries and lamentations of my own diminished sense of social occasion. I do it because I need to get some of this whole thing out in the open, this thing where it seems like there’s something going on between us only there isn’t really.  He then goes off to band rehearsal, leaving me trying not to check my phone every eleven seconds, and failing.

He will ultimately thank me for sharing, along with some other boner-killing texts such as the one proclaiming that the way he sees it, we’re platonically dating. Sweeping relief, just in giving this thing we are doing a name, even if it is a name of something terrible, because dating means introducing parts of our bodies to one another while also exchanging stories about what our childhoods were like or arguing about which cookie is the best.  Platonically dating: it sounds like something young Amish people would do. This is not their fault; they have so many buttons and so little Internet porn. But I’m not sure it sounds like me.

I am a sex addict, and after a few weeks without sex, I get shaky and start looking at men on the street the way someone who is drowning will look at flotation devices bobbing just out of reach. A couple of months without sex and my senses heighten, the borderline superpowers of the experimentally deprived. I am not a person whom one platonically dates.  I kiss people the way a baby puts things in its mouth—to learn things, to know them, to understand where I am in relation to them, where they end and I begin.

But at least now I know exactly where things are at; I’ve found if you tell someone the truth, they will likely return the favor. Even if you tell the truth by blogging at them, and you can tell they read it between their fingers because you scare them.

There is such a thing as too much talking. I once dated a man who would ask me, “Do you want foreplay?”   Ugh. Not anymore I don’t. Also, no one should use ever the word foreplay, which conjures up images of men with their dress socks pulled up halfway to a solid Republican boner, a copy of The Sensual Man on the nightstand.  Gross.

Sketch never asks me questions about what I want. He just does things to me. The first time he put his hands on me he said, I’m going to kiss you now.   He doesn’t ever ask me any questions. He already knows what I want.

 

imgres-23I get sick this week; the flu is very on-trend in New York right now, some virus that makes you burn at 101 and cough until you gag on your own lungs.   I, ever disciplined, attempt business as usual: driving lesson, a yoga class, making dinner plans I’m not terribly interested in keeping, until I am finally forced to concede that I am actually on fire and take a day off from work.

Being stuck in bed means one thing: I will watch porn until the Internet is disgusted with me.   It seems that anyone I spend enough time with I end up wanting to fuck, including, apparently, my own feverish self.   But it does start to wear a little thin after a while; it starts to remind me of coming down off cocaine, watching the same filthy VHS tape over and over again, trying to pry an orgasm out of the dwindling dopamine supply in my increasingly miserable brain. I think that VHS tape is still kicking around my apartment somewhere, maybe behind the box of Christmas ornaments. It’s like Jacob Marley’s ghost, only in tranny-porn form, reproachfully moaning.

Masturbation is a lonely pastime, but it’s being sick that makes me most vulnerable to wanting the kind of things other people have, like a car to drive to the doctor, or a husband who will go pick up the cough syrup and gingerale. I could take my bike to Urgent Care, but I’m pretty sure I can’t make it back home up the hill with my lungs intact, so I just google fever cough possibly dying before giving up, deciding to just spend the next 36 hours in bed.

Sketch Facetimes in twice, and I almost don’t pick up; I’ve got no makeup on and my hair is sticky.   But I do, and he is sick too, naturally, as I was just over there the other day licking things and leaving germs everywhere. We lay in bed, and we are together and separate at the same time, laughing at what our flushed faces look like, zooming in close to the screen before pulling away slowly, turning our devices around to show one another what’s going on in the background. He has no girls over there, unless they’re hidden out of frame. It’s just us, shimmering with fever, locating one another on our screens and marking each other for the next time.

Standard
dating, Men, Recovery, Relationships, Travel, Writing

Women Yelling

images-33There is a woman that I only know by the sound of her screaming. She likes to scream on the sidewalk four stories beneath my window after the slimy bar down the street slams shut. A woman after my own heart, she relies heavily on the rhetorical power of a good fuck you, you fucking motherfucker. Tonight, she wakes me up at two in the morning because some girl’s brother has hit her, and she needs to tell about it in her outdoor voice. I wonder if she was raised beneath an elevated subway line, or over a jackhammer factory, or by a pack of drunks who won her in a card game, and now she’s accustomed to shouting to be heard. I’ve never seen her face; I try to look out my window but the angle is all wrong. Sometimes I think about calling the cops, but I have been that angry, I have needed to be heard that badly. I know exactly how she feels, like there is nothing to do but stand under some windows and scream about it.

She wakes me up from a dream I was having where I was getting breast implants, and I startle awake like I’ve forgotten something. I feel a little lost without all my familiar dysfunction, without Sketch as an organizing principle for my angst. I go to a yoga class and see the girl I was recently obsessed with, but after throwing an admiring glance or two her way through the mirror, I go back to staring at my own abs. I don’t know what happened. Just a month ago, I was walking barefoot through her recently vacated spot in the hot yoga studio, wanting to roll around in the moat of sweat she left around her mat on the floor. I’m over it now, left with an absentminded appreciation for her beauty that is all abstraction with no intentions. Without my addictive purpose, I feel a little lost; I used to have one problem, and now I have many significantly smaller problems.

Push texts me a series of dirty emoji, collaging them so it looks like one of them is eating the other one out. It would have been so much simpler to ask me how I’m doing, but he has to pretend he doesn’t care about that, and I have to pretend not to care that he doesn’t care. I walk past his building on my way home like an arsonist revisiting the scene of their most recent conflagration. I can’t decide if I feel like ever seeing him again.

I still can’t find any pictures of myself for my stupid online-dating profile that I’m not completely disgusted by.   I look especially bad in selfies, the arm’s length distance a bad choice for my crooked face, which seems to be aging like time-lapse photography since I stopped drinking. Maybe the vodka was my preservative. In the recovery rooms, I meet a beautiful, chubby 25-year-old girl recently who tells me that the cut-off age for crop tops is 30. This is very easy to say when you are 25 and feel you are entitled to at least 5 more years of wearing crop tops. I parade my 40-year-old abs through the streets anyway, honed through a thousand yoga classes, my ribs like a rack of swords. I finish another Bikram class this morning, my pigtails dripping with sweat, before I climb on my bike and pedal away in tiny shorts with my headphones clamped over my ears. I am the oldest teenager you know.

Like a teenager, I am planning a backpacky trip to Europe next week. I’ll be bumming around for a month without much of plan except to see art, eat stuff, and of course, to meet men.   They won’t speak my language, but that’s OK; even here in New York, I don’t speak theirs either. I’m headed for Rome first. According my therapist, the men there really pay attention to a woman. “They will follow you down the street,” she tells me. “Especially once they find out you are American. They think American girls are easy.” To this information, I begin to emit a high-pitched squealing sound, like a puppy or a toddler with a particularly exciting present.

More than anything else, I can’t wait to be somewhere where I don’t have to make conversation. I don’t have to try to think up clever retorts, to explain that I haven’t had an STD test in a year, to confess that I am still in love with my ex.   It’s my birthday this week, and I wait for a phone call from Sketch.   I want to text him, but my friend Jeanine tells me: If you want a man to come to you, let him come to you. I wait, but he doesn’t come, and I wonder if he’s forgotten me. Eventually, I go down to my overstuffed, forgotten mailbox and there is a card from him: his familiar perfect handwriting, an inside joke tucked into the return address.

I’m starting to think Sketch and I need a long-distance relationship.  It would be so much easier to be his partner from another continent, an ocean the buffer between our bad moods.   We put the space between us, and I yearn for him across it. We need a longer distance than the East River, and knowing I am leaving for Rome on Tuesday makes it even easier to reach for him, to picture myself standing on the sidewalk under his window yelling my faceless love up to where he is sleeping.

imgres-11

WYSD goes to Europe! I’ll see England, I’ll see France, boys will likely see my underpants. The blog should keep on rolling from abroad, unless something terrible happens to my plane on Tuesday. Kisses!

Standard
Fighting, Men, Relationships, Sex Addiction

Fighting Words, Saving Face

images-17In any relationship, only one person gets to be Batman. There is only one alpha dog and, with Sketch, I am not it.  It’s just easier to cede territory; I have never been a confrontational person, and my favorite rhetorical strategy for winning an argument is to never speak to you again.   In this round with Sketch, I am lowering my chin and retreating into that familiar silence.  From this, I hope he will deduce that he is being mean when he gets mad at me for canceling dinner plans.  His horrible cat joins in the nocturnal bullying, pushing at my headphones with a paw while I am trying to listen to ambient noise (my favorite track is the dishwasher, with clothes dryer a close second.  I’m not sure what it says about my personality that I prefer the sound of large domestic appliances to an ocean or a campfire or some shit).

Now I am waiting for him to get over it, a patient monk-like expression on my face.  The problem is I want to check in every fifteen seconds.  Are you still mad?  How about now?  How about NOW?  This must be more infuriating than the original infraction, but I can not help myself.

Complicating things a bit is my love of punishment: the sound of Sketch pulling his belt through the loops of his pants undoes some latch deep inside me.  Does the meaning of the recreational ass-beating change when he is pissed because I’m unable to keep dinner plans with some of his friends at fucking Pio Pio Rio on Sunday?   I can’t figure it out.  All I know is that when his hands are on me I fucking dig it, and I am completely into this man, and this is the one time when I feel completely and utterly in the moment.

But afterwards, he is still mad at me.  The cartoon me would have a frown and two big question marks overhead.  Deduction: amazing sex does not buy me out of trouble.  I want to say something, but my jaw feels painted shut.  In the night, his horrible cat pops a single claw like a hypodermic needle through the soft, vulnerable underside of my foot, and he is irritated when my yelp startles him awake.  Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a say in this relationship, which is probably why I need to get up in the morning, after a night of not sleeping in the smoke and in the cats, to lay the words down for my side with a purr of animal relief.

I try to just keep moving. When I am walking around New York, I sometimes put my foot into invisible holes; one minute, upright, and the next on the sidewalk. My relationship has these hazards too. I don’t understand what I’ve done this week, but I seem to be in time-out. Vaguely disappointed in me about something, Sketch is showing some work this week at his studio, and I somehow get uninvited from the opening. I wonder if it’s because I look weird. My face is still bearing a hard left, a result of a recent bout with Bell’s Palsy that leaves me smirkier than usual. I ask him what he is upset about, but it seems he doesn’t want to give me a talking-to while my range of facial expressions is so limited.   I find I am smiling less, and that this is not a bad thing—I only smile when I really want to, for a change.

The newly paralyzed side of my face is curiously unlined; it would look like pretty badass Botox if only both sides matched. I wear my hair over one half, like a burn victim, and peep out from behind the curtain. My friend Dawn tells me that the people who say it is not noticeable are fucking lying to me, and I appreciate the candor, rethinking my plans to go to some party where that boxing match is being shown. I decide to go anyway, and sit next to a neurologist from Cornell who serves as the fight doctor when they happen here in New York. He tells me about the correlation between yoga and brain injuries, and I feed bits of cracker into the working side of my mouth, wondering if this is something else I’ve done to myself.

I watch men onscreen punishing each other, their faces wet and glove-burned. One man has his shorts up higher than the other; after a certain point, you may as well cut eyeholes in the waistband and call them all low-blows. I have no idea what I am watching, and go sit down next to an attractive curly-haired man who explains things to me. When I lean forward for my seltzer, he puts his hand briefly on the bare place where my shirt rides up my rib-cage, and I feel that Vegas thrill in the part of my brain that needs attention, that needs to be touched. I settle in closer to him, and we watch the fight and trade bits of snark, his hand on my leg. Tom Brady is sitting ringside, and his head looks three times larger than anyone else’s.  Some people just have punchable faces.

I’m not supposed to be doing any of this; I know I’m just upset because Sketch is being distant, and that the fantasy of new sex feels better than the reality of handling the problems with the one I’ve got. My face hurts when I talk about this relationship, I want to tell him. I can’t just smile my way through it; all I’m packing is this half-smirk.

All Sketch and I do this week is pummel one another, and all I want to do is wrap my legs around this curly-haired stranger.   I am tired of Being Good.   I am tired of keeping score. I just want to throw a chair at somebody, grab for down low.

But you can’t escape who you are. I fold myself in close to the curly-haired man when I hug him goodbye, but leave on my own. I will lay awake in bed when I get home, feeling my bruises; I had acupuncture today, although I am coming to suspect that integrative medicine is bullshit. Fix me, I yell to the East and to the West. East and West retreat to their corners, leaving me in the middle making promises to myself that I will learn to swing, wondering what the over/under is on saving what’s left of my face.

1222078641

Drew Barrymore, circa my bisexual years. God, I loved this picture when I was twenty.

Standard
Attention, Blogging, Men, Originality, The Internet, Writing

Hear Me

images-2

There’s this recurring dream I sometimes have where I’m talking and no one can hear me. I get louder and louder, but I the more I squeak, the smaller I shrink.

Blogging, I shout brave truths from my cowardly hiding place, the Internet my virtual bushes. I say some shit on here that I would never, ever have said to some guy’s face, and then fantasize about that dude stumbling accidentally across it. That’s pretty much the end of the fantasy; there is no moment where the guy realizes anything or comes to my side with an enhanced understanding of my personhood. The whole fantasy is just seeing them seeing me, through the monitor and at a loss for a rejoinder. I am speaking and they are speechless, for a fucking change, and it is awesome.

It’s a thing, not being able to ever talk to anyone, to confront anyone. Once, on a date at a Japanese restaurant, there was a teeny, tiny dead cockroach stuck to the bottom of a piece of salmon sashimi on my plate, and I was too embarrassed to say anything.   I felt tainted by its disgustingness, like it said something about me, like this cockroach had been selected for me in particular. I didn’t want my date to think I was gross because I had gross dead bugs in my food, so I just pushed it under some julienned radish and kept it moving. So far, this is the best I can do.

Sketch has my blog up on his Favorites bar, although it’s not his favorite. I don’t think he has been able to bring himself to actually read any of it, and I do not blame him. Were he blogging about me, and about other women, I would run screaming through a plate glass door to get away from it.   He can see the headlines, anyway, and since I’ve been posting stuff I wrote a while ago, it’s a lot of headlines about penises. He hasn’t said anything, but when he doesn’t call me back, I wonder if he’s home, reading about my adventures with penises and getting mad.

Meanwhile, there is a blogger I like who takes a turn of phrase from me. It is incredibly petty how irritating I find this. Probably because his posts get twenty times as many likes as mine; I am a WordPress nobody.   His is one of the only blogs that I follow, because most blogs are freaking terrible, and his blog is good shit: funny, angry. And I have a weakness for angry, funny men.

For a couple of weeks, I try to ignore it. Afterall, this is the Internet. Nothing is original. I straight-up boost most of my pictures. And it is literally a stupid, two-word thing. I always tell my seventh-grade students that it has to be five words or more copied in a row for it to be plagiarism; otherwise it could totally be a coincidence. I have no idea if this truly is the definition of plagiarism or not, but it’s something I heard somewhere and thus I believe it utterly.   But it bothers me. Finally, I wake up one night from a dream in which I am peeing in a fax machine (Why, Dream-Me? You had to know you would get caught), and it is three in the morning in New York, but I am so alert and awake that I swing my feet out of bed with great determination, ready to go and leave this guy a comment, and I crack my shin against my shoe rack hard enough to leave blood.

The thing is, though, that exact phrase that I’m being so possessive of is one that Sketch uses; I freaking stole it from Sketch. So this is really a big karmic wheel of not-quite-enough-words-to-call-it-plagiarism.   Sketch doesn’t write, but the man is the anti-cliché. I follow him around with a notebook between alternating courses of kinky sex and love and breakups.   It’s a parfait of dysfunction, but it’s mine. I steal from him. I feel somehow I have earned it.

Standard