Confessions


Sometimes individual things add up to form a light-shedding, bigger picture.  Sometimes it is not a pretty one, and sometimes it is deceptively pretty, which is not to say that either may be accurate.  No, wait, come back!  I promise, I am going somewhere with this, Your Honor.

I have a Blackberry, which I regularly use as a mental scribbling pad or an electronic ribbon-around-the-finger to remind me to do stuff.  It is better than a ribbon, because it vibrates and blinks and when I pull it out of its little leather case, it says things to me, like:  (19:00) MILK, or (21:00) Client meeting tmmw – IRON/GO TO BED, or (10:30) SandPOW.  These are all recent reminders that Past Tailfeather sent myself at various points.  The first, clearly, was to remind myself to pick up some milk on the way home from work.  The second was to remind myself not to stay up until midnight drinking wine and watching Community on the internet but to, instead, pluck the least crumpled blouse out of my wardrobe and pass out at 11:00 pm after forgetting to call my mother.  The third, sadly, I have stared at for the last three weeks as a saved reminder in my Outlook calendar and still have no idea to what it pertains.  I have a friend nicknamed Sandy, but what is POW?  I refuse to delete it until I figure it out.  It is like a riddle of my own creation.

This Blackberry is a company-owned one, which is another reason I tend to keep my non-work-related reminders cryptic.  This is why one might enter “RX,” for example, instead of “pick up yeast infect meds.”  Also, it is catchier.  So with both work and personal reminders, I sometimes find myself making lists that grow throughout the day.  A work example would be if I have several clients or contacts to call in Southeast Asia.  As I sort through them the day before, my 9:00 am reminder grows from:  (9:00) Call Client X, to (9:00) Call Client X, Provider Y, Client D, Contact A, Contact C.  And then I know to start calling those people early in the day so I can spend my morning sweet-talking them.  Likewise, a personal errand list might grow from: (18:30) Nails, to (18:30) Nails, shower gel, toothpicks, sea bass, SORT RECYCLING.

Those items on my last example list are not related.  Like, that is at least two stops, if not three, plus home from there, as I do not professionally sort recycling or get my nails done at a place where I can also buy seafood.  And yet if you were a television detective trying to solve my murder by reviewing my planner, you might be confuddled.   “Let’s just go to Soho,” you would say wearily.  “It must be some underground perv thing.  Or drugs.  Shower Gel is a big thing now, right?  Oh, sorry, yeah.  That’s Bath Salts.” (more…)

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I have a lovely friend whom we will call Marla, for the sake of this discussion.  Marla is just like us.  She is a smart, capable, attractive young woman with loads of potential and that mixture of confidence and nagging self-doubt particular to modern women in their twenties and thirties.  Marla has nice shoes that she keeps under her desk, a subscription to the Financial Times, and commutes daily and smartly to her city job at a respected bank.  With continued focus and effort, Marla is Going Places.  She also has a nice boyfriend she loves, but with whom she is not certain she sees a long-term future.  No matter; Marla is focused on her job and happy with her relaxed relationship.  She is living in the moment, and the moment is good.

And then.  Marla attends an important client event with a number of her colleagues, including several VPs.  The dinner goes very well, the drinks are flowing, the mood is giddy, and somehow, without prior intention, Marla goes back to a hotel with a Senior VP from her company.

“I didn’t mean to sleep with him,” she says.  “Even when we went back to the room, I thought we would have a drink or two and then I would leave.  We talked a little about his wife, as a matter of fact.  I never felt like he was trying to seduce me, or vice versa.  It was late, and I curled up in bed, and then…  Well.” (more…)

If there is one thing that every young radical who has the misfortune of reaching their late-twenties and discovering that non-profit work fails to pay the electricity bill will discover, it’s that her cooler friends will accuse her of selling out.  And in all likelihood, the accusation will be just, and the “victim” of said insinuation or outright accusation will find herself with only a shaky stiletto on which to stand.

To many people, it doesn’t matter how much I recycle, that I walk to work, or how much money I donate to Planned Parenthood and the Red Cross.  The fact that I listen to NPR only consolidates my place in the affluent white liberal ranks.  I am a meat-eater who feels guilt because I am too lazy to make it to the organic farmer’s market every weekend.  I have a Banksy coffee-table book.  I am friends with my housekeeper.  I yearn to be a roller derby girl but don’t have time and was rejected by Teach for America.  My best friend bought me a Kindle for Christmas.  I am an embarrassing living embodiment of Stuff White People Like.

And yet, last week, when my best friend from high school jokingly emailed me something about my job as a “corporate shill,” I about spluttered my Merlot all over my Netbook.  I am far from moneyed, after all!  My apartment doesn’t even have a dishwasher (and I will tell you, I never thought I would be practically 30 and living without basic mod-cons like central air).  I do have a classic dryer from the 1970s, and a television that, as best I can tell, was the finest model on offer in 1995.  I have a mouse for a roommate and a potentially murderous mold problem in my bathroom.

If I were a proper corporate shill, I would have a condo and a standing appointment for a weekly bikini wax.  I would fucking know how to ski.  I would not have a deep-discount wine habit and holes in the toes of all my socks.  Just because he’s living in one of the Carolinas and getting his PhD in Hippie Pot-Smoking does not mean that I suddenly know how to iron. (more…)

Many moons ago, I was forcibly uprooted from the co-ed, hippie, Montessori learning enclave of my early childhood and enrolled by my parents in Catholic all-girls’ school.  Whereas once I had daily worn teal-and-black animal-print high tops and tee-shirts celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall, I was suddenly thrust into a world of uniform plaid jumpers, saddle-shoes, and dour-faced nuns.

Orderly rows of assigned desks replaced the colorful carpets on which I was accustomed to lounging.  I was no longer permitted to while away the hours in the library, obsessively consuming comics and books on the Salem witch trials, or scribbling in my journal.  Instead, study time was strictly scheduled and misbehavior was publicly punished.  I was forced to take math beyond pushing a desultory bead around an abacus.

Math, in fact, was the fundamental cause of this disorienting change of course, as recent testing demonstrated that my nine-year-old self possessed the vocabulary of the average college student (thanks to my insatiable appetite for reading) and the math skills of your average three-year-old sorting out Cheerios at the breakfast table.  It seems my parents found this troubling, and despite the fact that I could adeptly weave hammocks from plastic six-pack rings and was extremely disturbed by the Gulf War, some basic educational tenets were lacking in my development.

This alleged inability (or total unwillingness) to learn math was also what prompted my mother to chauffeur me, whining, to Kumon twice a week, while my dad suffered my crying fits over everything from fractions to basic Algebra.  If you are wondering if the extra-curricular Kumon teaching methods are effective, I can only say that my math skills sped from 0 to 60 and the school was later that same year forced to furnish me with a sixth-grade math book – this for the girl who, months prior, had barely mastered basic addition.  In my experience, Kumon is the steroids of arithmetic, and for your math-averse child, akin to a prolonged, pinpointed torture session.  Obviously, I plan to subject my own children to it in the future, when they’ve been very bad.    (more…)

Hiya People,

Last night I was talking to a friend who happened to mention that his wife has gained a bunch of weight and he’s not exactly thrilled about it.  In fact, it has become enough of an issue for him as to cause problems for him when it comes to sexing his wife.  We didn’t get into the specifics, but safe to say he’s less than enthused about banging her and he wanted to know how he could let her know that this was a problem.  And so I thought about it, for quite a while.  But I didn’t come up with any method that didn’t involve straight up telling her, “Babe, your ass is gettin’ too big.”  In the end I told him he’d have to indirectly shame her somehow, because women are usually the most critical on themselves especially when dealing with the size of our ass.

Now, save all your outrage over how he should love her and want her no matter what she looks like, mother of his children, blahblahblah.  That’s bullshit.  Loving someone in the long term sense has nothing to do with keeping your sex appeal, that’s a separate issue that needs to be tended to as part of the whole.  If anything, keeping yourself attractive to your partner is a vital component to staying together happily, in my opinion.  That and good head.  I wouldn’t expect my man/woman to still get hot in the pants for me if I was busting outta mine and that’s just the way it goes.  Staying together for a couple decades is hard enough without having to lie to your partner about their looks and what effect it has on your libido.

But, I would like to offer him some better advice if possible.  Thoughts?

 

I am about to tell you a sweet story about my man. If you are young and idealistic, you won’t find it so sweet, you will likely think it’s depressing that my bar is so pathetically low. If you are an old bag like me who’s been cheated on a couple of times, most notably by a seriously adulterous husband who left her with faulty instincts when it comes to my first boyfriend since the divorce, you might find your cold shrivelled heart expand just a bit.

So throughout most of my relationship with Felix Unger, I have often been an anxious mess. I have always feared his emotional distance at times was because he might have someone else, even though, when I push it, it’s always the same issue — really into you, really want kids, know we’ll have to break up at some point, trying to protect myself from the inevitable pain and misery of that breakup, trying to keep things light and breezy.

But anyway, when we first started banging, Felix had a cute little painted tin box filled with condoms next to his bed. And then a month or two after we started banging, we both were griping about condoms and I said I was fine to do without them but you know, I need to know that we are either exclusive or if we bang other people, we use condoms so as not to infect one another. He gave me an odd look, but readily agreed.

(more…)

This is Adam doing something I saw a lot of as a young girl — playing lacrosse. This was taken in the mid-’70s. I used to watch him play lacrosse, but he was a lifelong pal playing with a bunch of other lifelong friends, never a boyfriend. While I might have sensed he liked me, he never told me, and he never sent any messengers to tell me, and so I never assumed otherwise.

Look at those legs!

Adam was a really cute boy, a redhead with freckles and a great smile and laugh, an amazing athlete with an athlete’s body,  great dancer, and he had a kick-ass last name that made him mysterious to me — it sounded almost Inuit. We knew each other from kindergarten on; our older siblings grew up with one another. If anyone ever picked on me, Adam had my back. A bitchy redhead named Margaret Conrad once slapped me across the face in middle school. Adam appeared out of nowhere, took her by the arm and made it clear she was never to lay a finger on me again. Duelling gingers!

When we got into high school, Adam was always lurking in the shadows, looking out for me. We got drunk once and made out; his was the first boner I ever felt, albeit over top his jeans. He still played lacrosse, I still went and watched. If he really tried to woo me, I can’t recall it. I don’t know why I didn’t make a move, but I think, when I look back, I might have assumed he was a little off. He would stare at me strangely and not speak. He would start to say something and stop. He would withdraw completely, for weeks, if he saw me hanging out with new guys. He didn’t hang out that much with my crowd. He was a slow talker, sort of stoner-ish, and maybe I wondered if he was a druggie (fool — that would be considered a bonus in later years). I didn’t know what to make of him once we got into high school, and I didn’t worry too much about it, and proceeded to go out with a complete tool named Robbie for three years. He was dumb, shallow, a cheat and lousy in the sack. To this day, I am embarrassed I went out with him. (more…)

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