So, I’ve been in this long-term relationship – five-and-a-half years, to be exact – and things haven’t been going well recently.  To be honest, it’s been a rocky relationship from the start, and I can only ascribe its duration to my own complacency, oft-misplaced loyalty, and perhaps a mutual recognition of tenacity.  There have been good times, no doubt, but also a fair share of bad times, and throughout it all, a nagging sense of boredom and of things left undone and unsaid.

When Johnson and I got together, I was 22 years old and coming out of a nasty patch; I latched on to him with enthusiasm.  He was a foreigner in my hometown, we were both looking for some security, and the mutual benefits were immediate and obvious.  It didn’t take long for me to invest my heart and time, shrugging off the occasional errant suitor in the face of Johnson’s promises of longevity and fulfillment.  If I was good and devoted to him, he would be good to me, and together, we would go places.

It didn’t take long before I could see we were going to have problems.  He had a roving eye, as is his wont, and I was going to have to fight to remain in his affections.  Over the years, other pretty girls came and went, but I continued to declare my commitment and one by one, they dropped by the wayside.  I wanted to prove I was dutiful and in it for the long-haul, but sometimes the frustrations of all this struggle to stay visible and important overwhelmed me.  I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just sail on an even-keel; maybe we weren’t so well-matched after all, and I should be seeking attention elsewhere. (more…)

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trashbookI’m a reader by nature, and have always counted myself fortunate to grow up in a home surrounded by thousands of books.  My parents are both readers as well, and my mother in particular is a voracious consumer.  Besides the handsomely bound classics lining the floor to ceiling shelves of the family room, I doubt there’s any genre unrepresented in our household, from biographies to bodice-rippers to sci-fi to comics.  Books are stacked haphazardly on every spare surface, and the unused bedroom is a repository of shopping bags filled with books to be resold or donated to the library.

I filled a spare suitcase with most of the approximately thirty books I received as gifts for Christmas when I returned to the UK, happily paying an additional hundred dollars to lug them back to my apartment.  Even then, one of the first things I did this weekend, my first back, is walk to a used bookstore in Soho to stockpile more treasure, and then spent the rest of the day in bed happily working my way through two of my new novels.  In short, there are few things in the world I would rather do than read, and I am a proud book junkie.

Which is why it’s worse than a disappointment, more of a slap in the face, to have selected a book, dedicated your time to it, only to discover halfway through that your book is complete rubbish.  It’s an insult to booklovers and as we all know, there is a lot of drivel out there.  When I open a book, I am placing myself in the hands of that author (and hopefully that editor), trusting them to provide me with the escapism, amusement, and enlightenment I’ve paid for.  I enter into this relationship respectfully; I cradle the book, I give it my love, and I expect to be treated well in return.  And when a book lets me down, my reaction is outraged.  It’s like shaving your legs and getting excited about a Friday night first date, only to have your dinner partner turn out to be a bore and a Holocaust denier.  You’re pissed off to have your time wasted on a product that was not as advertised. (more…)

I am not a woman who waxes, but because I am going to Spain tomorrow for a week, I decided to be a little adventurous.  I booked a lunchtime appointment today for a leg and bikini wax, and let the Waxer know I was going to go for something Brazilian.  “Are your hairs long enough for the wax to take hold?” She asked me on the phone.  “I think you’re going to have plenty to work with.  I’ve been saving up for four weeks just for this experience.”  Clearly, my growth was going to be sufficient.  I made the appointment Monday, and have been eagerly awaiting my date with the Waxer, not least because my lower legs were starting to look like those of a sixteen-year-old boy in the wild throes of puberty.  I figured I planned this pretty well – 24 hours of redness, and I will be fully beach-ready by Saturday.

All the ladies at my work had advice for me involving tea tree oil and exfoliants, and were excited for me to join the ranks of painful (but hairless!) pubes.  Ankles hurt the worst, it was widely agreed, although having the hairs ripped out of the delicate skin of your vulva is pretty impressive too.  I chose the Brazilian after careful consideration.  It’s probably the only time in my life I’ll try it out, as I’m generally opposed to bald genitalia, but I figured I’d keep a tasteful landing strip and what the hell – I’m going to IBIZA.  Why shouldn’t my pubes join the party?

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My first kiss was an event I feverishly anticipated throughout three long years of junior high.  I had attended an all-girls Catholic school since the age of nine, and the only boys I knew were the brothers of my girlfriends.  These gawky, spotty teens were the targets of near-constant obsession and angst.  A tongue-tied and shy pre-teen, the act of calling a girlfriend was something I would spend half an hour preparing for, a list of possible conversational topics in hand in case a Brother answered and I was lucky enough to stumble into a dialogue.  I harbored a particularly brutal series of crushes on my friend Georgia’s older brother and the members of his garage band, but remained romantically disappointed.  They were, after all, sophisticated high school freshman and regularly in the presence of girls far more developed than me in the breast region; I wasn’t even allowed to wear makeup.  After drooling over the band boys and some secreted issues of Tiger Beat, I composed an idea of what I wanted my first boyfriend to be like.

He had to be mature and sophisticated, like me, and might even be as old as 16.  He would have to be creative so that if he were a musician, he could dedicate his songs to me; if he were a painter, he could paint pictures of me; if he were a writer, he could write anguished poems about our torrid love.  I definitely leaned toward a poet, as I had just read Romeo and Juliet and felt that passionate, fatal love was a very desirable thing.  I understood poets to have a high mortality rate.  He had to be tall with intense eyes and healthy teeth and should photograph handsomely so that I could take pictures of him to school and brag about his prolific creativity, adoration, and general hotness. (more…)