Plaisir


Scott (Part Two)
December 14, 2008, 2:36 PM
Filed under: Chatty Kathys, Prehistoric Homosexuals, Roommates

When my mom and my sister left me after everything was finally moved in, I took in a breath of fresh air in what would be my new home.  I joyfully hopped over to the dining room table, where I found a note, written in almost perfect Helvetica, that said: “Welcome home!”-how cordial!-“Make yourself as comfortable as possible while Huberto is staying here.  I’m sure he’ll be out soon.  Any questions, feel free to call! Ok!”

‘Wait, I have a question,’ I thought to myself, ‘Who in Hades is Huberto?’  I went over to look in my new room, only to find that there was articles of clothing strewn about, a suitcase completely open, and a whole bunch of old man stench.  While I was angry about this, there wasn’t much I could do, and seeing as I had rehearsal in twenty minutes, I didn’t have time to do anything anyway.  So I begged Doug to come pick me up and told myself to deal with it whenever I got back.

I got home from rehearsal around 9:30, and the first thing I see when I open the door is, what I assume, a Huberto.  He resembled an oversized Gremlin, which frightened me when I realized he was drinking a glass of water.  His accent was thick, like a cream-based soup, and his smile was so crooked you could have shot pennies clear through the gaps in his teeth.  I was certainly overcritical of him when first meeting, and I had every right to be.  The man was an intruder in my house.  I didn’t know him, and because of him, I had to camp on the couch for the night.

For the rest of the week, I came home after rehearsal, only to find this Huberto character maxin’ and relaxin’ all up on the couch.  I continued to ask Scott as to when I could actually move in to the room, and he told me that Huberto would be gone A.S.A.P. “I’m sorry about this…I’ll make sure and give you a refund for some of the rent money because of this-ok!”  That made me feel a little better, but when Huberto began to disappear mysteriously even though his stuff was still there, I began to worry that this would quickly turn into my permanent, dysfunctional living situation.  Scott, me, and the estranged Mexican immigrant Huberto who wouldn’t go away.

I remember one of the first nights I moved in, I had decided to take a shower.  It was around 10:30, and Huberto had already gone to bed, considering it was noches and all.  Scott informed me that he was almost always home around 11:30, so when I got out of the shower, I had left all of my clean pajamas sitting outside the door.  Wearing only my bikini-cut underwear (just for you ladies), I creeped out of the door, hoping and praying that Scott would still be making his way back.  Unfortunately, he was the first thing I saw.  Fourteen seconds and an awkward greeting later, I was completely clothed and completely mortified.  I had never expected him to see me practically naked, especially within the first week of my living there.  A few weeks later, I found a Crisco tub-sized container of lubricant in one of the bathroom cupboards, and after that, I vowed to make sure that I never showed too much skin ever again.

Unfortunately, I also discovered that Huberto wasn’t just a house guest, but a house boy as well, if you will.  As much as the thought of them comparing bojangles disgusted me, I was relieved that I at least wasn’t the first cut of meat being primed in the apartment.  But the Three’s Company act was getting very old very fast, so luckily Huberto packed his bags and flew back past the border before I tore all of my hair out.

During my most recent show, the relationship between Scott and I was strictly professional, which was good, seeing as befriending a creepy old gay wasn’t on my list of things to do.  We would communicate mostly via email and little notes that he had left me which, albeit annoying, I found were somewhat effective at the time.  I was too busy to be dealing with him anyway, I figured, and so far, everything had been okay.

One night when Scott came home from work, I was still awake, making myself something to eat.  He began to vent about work, even though I never asked him how his day was.  What would have been a ten minute conversation quickly turned into a forty five minute conversation.  During most of it, I was tuned out and thinking only about how I wanted to go to bed.

“…They make me do so much work there, it would make your eyes pop.  I mean, seriously, just because I’m good at my job doesn’t mean they can just take advantage of that, you know?”

I yawned.

“But it’s better than my old job.  Much better people.  Where I used to work, there was just too many black people.  Seriously, it was incredibly ghetto there, and that’s just not my scene.  I eventually had to put in my two weeks because I just couldn’t stand the way they talked anymore.”

‘The way they talked anymore?’ I thought, ‘What the hell does that mean?’  It was then that I started to question whether or not Scott was a Quaker.  Between the dislike of black people, the frugality of his ways, and the fact that voting was quote “against his religion” made me seriously believe that his ancestors landed on Plymouth and ransacked all of the Indian land.  On the plus side, his great-great-great-great-great grandparents probably invented Thanksgiving.

One of my good friends, I found out, lived next door, so every couple of days, we would have a cigarette outside before I went to bed.  I relayed the story above to her once, and it left her stunned and slightly amused.

“He really said that?  Who says stuff like that anymore?  For real…”  I nodded.  There were fundamental differences between Scott and I, yes, but how comfortable could I feel living with a bigot?

Later, that same week, I informed Scott that I would be grocery shopping that weekend.  Apparently, this was unacceptable, and he became huffy.  “Why are you going grocery shopping?”  I figured it would be moot to inform him that humans need proper nutrition in order to live, and that Deerfield yogurt raisins really didn’t count as food to me.  “I mean, I have a lot of food here…and you’re welcome to it, didn’t I mention that?  I don’t want the food to go to waste.  And I know how expensive food can be…”  I cut him off, “Well, okay, I’ll do a small shop, just a few things then, right?”  He smiled, “That’s fine.  I’ll make some room in the fridge.  Oh, and by the way, you should try that kilbasa.  Not to toot my own horn, but it’s positively to die for!”  

It was alright.

I bought only a few things that weekend, like I promised, but even with what I bought, he had so much food that it was a task to fit all of my food in any of the cupboards.  I ended up having to put some of the canned food in my closet in my room, which wasn’t really all that big of a deal.  As the days went by, I ate my newly bought food, but I also heeded his counsel and ate some of his too.  I admit, I was ruthless with the Swiss cheese, but other than that, I tried to contain myself, because I knew that I wasn’t the one who payed for it, and even though I was given permission, it just felt slightly wrong.

On Friday, I got an email from him that was unexpected, malicious, and downright strange.  

“Morn.

Keep dishes clean-ok!

Also, don’t forget to lock door when leaving.  Intruders are unwanted in my home.”

Two things: 1. The definition of intruder is someone who is unwanted, correct?  I guess I should have remembered redundancy was his forte.  And 2. MY home?  ‘I pay half the rent here, you dinosaur!’ I thought to myself.  But there was more:

“I understand that you are not purchasing your own groceries and only eating my food.  Are you really that busy that you can’t go to the store?  Or is it just laziness?  I don’t feel like being taken advantage of, so if this is a problem, let me know.”

I was, for lack of a better word, flabbergasted.  He threw a diva fit when I told him I was going to go food shopping.  So I did exactly what he wanted.  I ate his food.  I told him all of this, and the response I got was so dramatic, even Perez Hilton would have been like, “Okay bitch, relax.”

“Well, would you rather us talk about this like civilized men, or how about I just start looking for a new roommate?”

I figured that once the cocaine he was clearly snorting wore off, so would his crazy power trip.  The funniest thing about reading these emails was that Scott, in person, resembled a rejected Build-a-Bear.  A rejected Build-a-Bear with no soul and a thirst for young gay blood.  I told we needed to talk, and he suggested we had a “meeting” later that weekend.  I sarcastically told him I’d pencil him in, but being the anal retentive fool he was, he said he’d do the same.

The meeting was creepily similar to the ones I have at work.  There was notepads, adjusting of pant legs, pencil tapping, and, at least on my part, grogginess.  He had made a list of all of the things that he wanted to address to me.  Here are some of my favorite highlights:

Number 3: “Now, I know we all brush our teeth, but after you’re done, make sure and wipe down the mirror.”  How patronizing!

Number 7: “If you eat my chocolate, I will kill you, your family, and anyone that makes you happy.”  Luckily, I don’t eat dark chocolate.

Number 11: “I wouldn’t sing in the shower after 11:30”  Really?  I would.

Number 14: “I can’t really hear your flute, since I’m deaf in one ear.”  Why the hell is this important?  My Saturday is dwindling away!

On and on this went, and we barely even discussed the food situation.  All he said about it was, “Look, I don’t care what you eat.”  ‘Wow, that’s vague,’ I thought to myself, ‘And strange, since you seem to care about everything else I ever do.’  When the meeting was over, we pushed in our chairs, shook hands, and continued on with our lives.  At least, for the time being.

Scott quickly became a hindrance on my happiness and my social life.  I couldn’t bring friends over, since he lived in a museum and as curator, was too afraid to let anyone in that might tarnish the art work from Big Lots that retails for about $19.99 plus tax.  I couldn’t bring over guys because the next day he would suddenly act as if we were best friends and wanted to hear all about it: “Tell me everything!  Leave out no details…seriously, I’m not squeamish or grossed out by sexual things, you can tell me.”  When greeted with this, I would just shrug and say it was fun.  He didn’t appreciate this lack of openess, so he just pursed his lips and went to his room to masturbate, I assume.

A few weeks later, I couldn’t take it anymore.  He sent me an email that was so disrespectful and mean-spirited, I began to look for a new place.  Fortunately, I found the perfect house with two amazing girls (where I’m currently living), and I informed him two weeks before hand that I was planning on moving.  I was way too nice in the email, apologizing profusely and saying that it was a lot of fun living there.  What I got back was short and bitchy, fitting for his personality I suppose.

“Please fix any damages before vacating apartment-ok.  Move all belongings out of apartment.  Other than that, nothing-ok”  

Well thanks, Scott.  I had no idea how moving worked.  Thank you for clarifying.

I’ve officially been out of Scott’s oddly sexual and parental clutches for two weeks now, and I couldn’t be happier.  The two months I spent with Scott made me realize that some people are just not meant to have roommates, and Scott was definitely one of them.  Everything had to be by his rules at all times, and if he changed them on you, you were supposed to infer and adapt, like a good little boy.  “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”  Michael did warn me, and, like everyone who gives me advice I don’t follow, he was right.  So this may sound like common sense, but do yourself a favor.  Stay away from OCD gay gentlemen who have bipolar tendencies and can openly talk about their hemorrhoids for a good twenty minutes-ok!



The List
December 12, 2008, 12:07 PM
Filed under: Lists, Love and Relationships, Sitcoms

Anyone remember this classic Friends episode?

Chandler says to Ross:  “Ok, all right, look. Let’s get logical about this, ok? We’ll make a list. Rachel and Julie, pros and cons. Oh. We’ll put their names in bold, with different fonts, and I can use different colors for each column.”

So that’s exactly what they do.  The three boys dissect Rachel’s personality and looks.  We learn that she’s ditzy, a little too into her looks, and has slightly chubby ankles. 

It continues:

Chandler: ” Ok, let’s do Julie. What’s wrong with her?”

Ross sighs: “She’s not Rachel.”

Honestly, is this even slightly romantic?  Not really.

Let’s cut to Rachel finding out about the list, shall we?

“What is this? Ross, what is this?”

Hm, smells like trouble, so Ross decides to attempt to cushion the blow by saying: “Ok, just, just remember how crazy I am about you, ok?”

“Kind of ditzy? Too into her looks? Spoiled?”

At this point, you can just hear the pain in her voice.  The poor girl is devastated.  And later, she gives what I consider one of the best explanations as to why a list like this can hurt a person.

“Imagine the worst things you think about yourself. Now, how would you feel if the one person that you trusted the most in the world not only thinks them too, but actually uses them as reasons not to be with you.”

Actually uses them as reasons not to be with you.

My first real relationship since Dave ended last week Saturday.  I was in a complete state of shock when it happened; I honestly never even saw it coming.  I tried to convince him to continue forward, at least for a little while, but his mind was set.

“Look, the bottom line is that you’re 19 and I’m 24.”

He had been 24 for approximately 72 hours, so it was a stretch to even say that we were 5 years apart, not like that’s a huge difference in the first place.  But I’m told that there’s so much I have left to learn and experience and that I’m “just not there yet.”  He’s clearly never read this blog.

Before all of this had happened, he and I were sitting on the couch with his roommate, discussing all of his ex’s and how he used to make pros and cons lists about them.  I winced, “Why on earth would you do that?”  He shrugged, “Well, when you have multiple people that you’re interested in, it makes the decision making process a hell of a lot easier.”  Maybe so, I thought, but doesn’t that make it rather impersonal?  Dehumanizing?  Shallow?  But I didn’t pursue it.  The last thing I had to say on the subject was “I don’t ever want to see you make a pros and cons list for me.  If there’s anything wrong with me, I just want you to tell me so I can work on it.”  He nodded.

The night we broke up, I went to his friend T.J.’s house, where he already was for the majority of the night.  He had texted me around 1 in the morning saying that if I wanted to talk, I could come over there, so I did.  Heartbroken and upset, I spent the night with Liz, T.J.’s roommate.  We stayed up until 6 discussing my past relationships to figure out what it was I was doing wrong.

Liz gave it to me straight: “C.J., it sounds like you’ll date anyone as long as they show interest in you.  You need to have standards.  A set of rules.”

This sounded all too familiar, since my now ex-boyfriend just told me that he “broke his rules” by even agreeing to date me in the first place.  I didn’t know how I felt about the word “rules,” but standards I could live with.  And I couldn’t necessarily argue with her anyway, after all, she was completely right.  If you surveyed all of my past interests, chances are the only thing you’d find that they had in common would be me.

From that moment on, I had decided that I needed to have a certain set of standards.  But being the person I am, I also promised myself to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  The catch is that I can’t justify issues I have with them.  As soon as I’m aware of the problem, I need to address it, end it with them, and move on to someone who is more worth of my time.

I had already begun to feel better, that is, until recently.  By Wednesday, I had moved past the tears, past the anger, and past the vindication.  I was supposed to go see T.J.’s symphony concert that day, but because of a lack of communication on my part, I ended up not being able to go.  I called him later, and we settled on me coming over there and having some wine with him and Liz.

While we were in the car, either T.J. or I, I can’t really remember, had mentioned the recent ex.  I told him that I was for the most part over it, and that I had high hopes for maintaining a friendship with him in the near future.  I began to make my whole speech about age.  I told him it’s not a deciding factor in a relationship for me, and if it was for him, then there was nothing I could do about it.  T.J. nodded, “Yeah, it definitely was for him.  He made a pros and cons list about you and the fact that you were 19 was on there like six times.”

I scoffed.  I was only half-surprised, seeing as he told me he had done this in the past.  I wrestled with my mind for a bit before turning to him and asking him something I probably shouldn’t have.  “Do you still have it?”

He laughed, “Well, maybe…I think so.”

I nodded, but left it that.  My mind was swimming with curiosity, by my heart was pleading for mercy.  I didn’t know what to do.

I was still pondering this list when we got into the house.  Liz was working on an art project and T.J. began to pour the first glasses of wine when I said it.  “The list…the pros and cons list…I want to see it.” 

Liz and T.J. exchanged nervous glances and Liz asked me if I was sure.  I told her I was.  “I’m curious.  I mean, I’m already over it, so it’s not like it can affect me that much if I read it, right?”  She shrugged and told T.J. that it was probably in her garbage, but I asked him to fish it out.  I went from being anxious to downright desperate.  No matter how awful it could be, for some reason, I needed to read this list.

T.J. looked over it for a second, but I couldn’t wait any longer, so I snatched it from his hands.  My heart sank.

19: This was on here about six times, like T.J. had mentioned.  It came as no surprise, but the redundancy of it made me realize how big of a deal it was to him.

Controlling: Whenever I would talk to my friends about him, they would always tell me, “Do you always let him do whatever he wants?”  I would just shrug and say, “Well, as long as it’s not hurting me or him or the relationship, then there’s no harm.”  I never had a problem with him going to bars.  I never told him what to do.  I may have made suggestions, but I never forced anything on him.  This is a complete joke.  I am one of the least controlling people I know.  I like a person for what they are.  I don’t get into relationships so I can change people and release them back into the wild.  It’s simply ridiculous.

Pretentious about music: Hannah put it best.  “What do you mean ‘pretentious’?  Music’s your thing!”  And she’s exactly right.  I just love music.  It’s something I can’t really help.  And it’s not like I was sitting there saying, “Well…YOU wouldn’t understand, you silly little peasant.”  I was always open to explaining anything.  Maybe he didn’t know that.

Too sentimental: This one made me angry.  I express my feelings.  I always have, and I always will.  I think there’s nothing wrong with it.  In fact, I think it’s what makes a good relationship.  If he wanted someone who was going to be all closed up and cold to him, then I suppose he made the right decision in breaking it off, because that’s just not me.

And then…it gets to the “Rachel has chubby ankles” portion of the list.  These hurt.  Bad.

Carries a “murse”: Really?  The fact that I have a handbag makes you want to break up with me?  Sheesh, that’s ridiculous.  First of all, it’s cute.  No, I mean, it’s really cute.  Secondly, it’s big, so I can carry a ton of stuff in it.  It’s not really just the looks, it’s the function too.  But who am I kidding?  I don’t need to justify this.  I am a murse man, and I’m damn proud of it.

Hairy: When we were lying in bed once, I had told recent ex-boy that I was slightly self-conscious about my hair.  He smiled at me, “I don’t know why…I kind of like it.”  That’s why this one was such a slap in the face, because he told me a bold face lie about previously. 

Here’s the deal…

I have body hair.  Chest hair.  Stomach hair.  Thigh hair, armpit hair, hair hair hair hair HAIR.  And you know what?  I used to shave it.  I used to sit in the bathroom for hours until I was completely smooth, just so that I wouldn’t have a situation like this happen to me.  Men have before ended things with me specifically because I was “too hairy.”  I just want to scream, “I’m an area rug, DEAL WITH IT and like me for who I am!”  But those sorts of people are too self-absorbed to listen to such a rational comment.

The interesting thing about the whole hair ordeal is that I have a quite a few body image issues.  Consider the following:

I finish a meal with a guy I’m dating.  I feel guilty, so I say, “Ugh, I’m so FAT!”

He looks at me all crazy and says, “You should love yourself no matter what.”

I look in the mirror and I hate my hair or my outfit and I say, “Wow, I look like a train wreck.”

He looks at me all crazy and says, “You should love yourself no matter what.”

I get out of the shower and look at myself and say, “Wow…I have way too much body hair.”

He nods and says, “Maybe you should think about electrolosis.  I actually brought a pamphlet, if you wanted to read it.  I just happened to have it, by complete chance, I swear.”

Anyone see anything wrong with this picture?  I rest my case.

There were others, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.  After I read them, I was pretty upset, but thinking about it now, I’m actually really happy.  I’m happy that I’m no longer with someone that thinks these things about me.  A person who uses my manbag against me in my own relationship.  A person who lies to my face about probably the most sensitive subject when it comes to my body.  I trusted this person with a lot, and unfortunately, in the end, it bit me in my ass. 

But I guess that’s what I need to look for.  The one who doesn’t need to make a list.  The one who understands that I’m imperfect without having to address the imperfections.  The one who can still be with me despite those things. 

That’s just the difference between me and those other shallow, self-obsessed men out there, I suppose.  “See, because I’d never make a list.”



Alaska Or Bust

Before the most recent presidential election, only once before had the state of Alaska been such a powerful and obnoxious presence in my life.  Few people know this, but about a year ago, I had given serious thought to moving there, away from all things civilized.  A place where shopping malls are scarce and the idea of  “privacy” is less common than a drunk college girl using protection.  A place where polar bears are considered as docile as chipmunks and where policy is handled with automatic weaponry.  Alaska.  What in the world was I thinking?

Sometimes I’m almost inexcusably foolish when it comes to men, and the “let’s run away to Alaska together” is testament to that.  Last year, I had met, via MySpace of all places, a very sweet guy named Andrew.  We were talking on and off for a few months and inevitably lost touch.  One day, I opened my mail and saw a message from him asking me out to coffee.  I figured I had nothing to lose, so I accepted, suggesting Mocha, a quaint cafe and bistro in the heart of downtown Milwaukee.

I took the bus from my new place on Belleview and got there at 6:45, fifteen minutes before the date’s start time, just to make a good impression.  At 7:00, I was settled in my seat, sipping on a cafe au lait, and peering nervously around, waiting for this Andrew character to strike. 

At 7:15, I started to worry.  I began to observe all of the other patrons at the cafe.  I could feel them mocking me, silently and secretly mocking me.  I had been alone for almost thirty minutes, and with no book, no laptop, and nobody on the opposite end of me, I started to look as miserable as I felt. 

At 7:30, I was mashing the redial button as if it was a life raft button on the Titanic that just wouldn’t budge.  I almost began to cry, and I’m pretty sure I was sweating profusely, partly out of nerves and partly because the fire in that place could have baked a pizza from halfway across the room.  I was leaving crazed voicemails and people around me began to look worried rather than judgemental.  I was trying my hardest to smile and stay positive, but at 8:00, I finally threw in the towel and realized that I was completely and totally stood up.

I was walking back to the bus with tears streaming down my face.  I wasn’t like I had high hopes for the date or anything, but the pain and public embarrasment of being stood up is rivaled to a pack of wolves coming in your house and eating all the cheese popcorn, or your children I suppose, depending on where your faith lies.  The wind was whipping past with incredible force, and all I wanted now was to go home and sleep.  The entire night, I figured, was essentially ruined.

When the bus arrived, I was literally standing on the platform when my phone rang.  I picked it up.  It was Andrew.

“Hey!  I’m so sorry…I had really bad car trouble.  Do you think we could still do coffee tonight?”

Someone who was self-empowered, intelligent, and had a set of nuts would have told him to fuck off for making me wait an hour and fifteen minutes for him to show up.  I, however, was not one of those people, so I said, “Of course!”

Of course.  Gag me.

I got off the bus and started walking back toward Mocha, feeling much better and even more excited.  I figured this way I could redeem myself with anyone who was in the coffee shop, or at least prove them wrong.  I had a short fantasy that involved me bringing Andrew in and pointing at him emphatically while shouting, “SEE!  SEE!!  I WAS waiting for someone!”

I was only waiting about five minutes when Andrew got there.  He looked, to his credit, remarkably like his  picture online, which is more than I can say for most men.  He seemed reserved and timid, but maybe it was just in comparison to my personality.  He had a strong jaw, strawberry blonde hair, and even still one of the most ravishing smiles I’ve seen to this day.  The date, minus the dramatic waiting period, went off without a hitch.  We took a walk afterwards and just talked for a good hour, not caring at all that it was probably below zero with the wind chill.  I was positively smitten.

When we were walking, Andrew began to tell me about his past.  More specifically, about past ex-es.  Usually I find this taboo on the first date, but I was pining so much at this point that he could have body slammed me and I still would have given him at least a peck on the cheek at the end of the night.  His most recent ex, who for security purposes we’ll just call Big D, was, in all senses of the word, completely and utterly insane.  I also learned that Andrew’s car troubles that he referred to weren’t of the typical kind.  He couldn’t get his car to start because he didn’t have his keys: Big D had taken them from him because he knew about the date with me.  For the next two weeks, whenever Andrew would mention Big D, his eyes would flicker with fear and his voice completely changed inflection.  It was clear that he was not only upset when talking about him, but he was also afraid of him.

We started to see each other almost every day after that, and every time I would learn something new about Big D that was unbelievable and downright cruel.  The stories ranged from throwing Andrew’s car keys into a lake to beating Andrew when he was drunk.  I couldn’t believe that such a wonderful man was with such a monster, and I never missed an opportunity to remind Andrew that he was not just special, but much, much better than his snake of an ex.

One night, we were having cheese pizza and watching movies at my new place, when he randomly suggested we take a walk and talk for a bit.  I swallowed my first bite, shrugged, and made my way out the door.  As we walked through the cold, I started to wonder where we were going when he began to direct me with turn signals.  About ten minutes later, we were by the water tower on North Avenue that overlooks the lake.  It was around 1o o’clock PM, and the moon was glistening in the night like some giant shiny vanilla wafer (remember, I didn’t get to finish the pizza).  It was a magnificent sight.  I looked over at him, and he grabbed my hand.  I could see his breath colliding with mine, as we were standing there, both paralyzed with excitement and indecision.  Finally he said something: “C.J., I would like to ask you to be my boyfriend.”

I was elated, “Of course!  Of course I will!”  There’s that “Of course!” again.  And so we were boyfriends.  And we kissed under the moonlight, just to make it official.

Later in the night, around 12, we had gone into my room, and all of the romance had apparently made Andrew very horny.  I, however, was one who believed that since the relationship was so fresh, picked only two hours prior, the chastity belt hadn’t gone out of style just yet.  I allowed only certain things to happen, but when I started to feel uncomfortable, he noticed and asked me, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just…um…I don’t really think I’m ready for that yet.  Sorry.”

He smiled and kissed my nose. “Don’t be sorry.  It’ll happen when you’re ready.”  We went to sleep, and all I could dream about was how I had the best boyfriend on the whole planet.

I was woken up about an hour later, by Andrew shifting around, trying to find his clothes.  I was a little perplexed by this, so I cooed to him: “Hey…what are you doing?”  He was jolted by the sound of my voice, but then he flashed a smile, “I have to get home…early morning tomorrow.  I didn’t want to wake you.”  ‘How considerate!’  I thought to myself.  I gave him a quick peck goodbye and collapsed back into deep slumber.

I woke up the next day around 10 AM, refreshed and ready to start the day.  My roommates and I celebrated my new relationship with a bowl, some Family Guy episodes, and a helping of cracker nachos.  Around 12, when the haze wore off, I called Andrew, but he didn’t answer.  I tried again at 2, and again at 3, still with no answer.  Because I was such an insecure wreck, I started to worry that he was having second thoughts about pursuing a relationship with me. 

Around 5, I was walking down Farwell avenue, when my pocket began to vibrate.  It was a text from Andrew.  Sort of.  Well, the text was from Andrew’s phone, but his fingers did not touch the keys.  Instead, the text was written by none other than the notorious Big D.

“Hey this is Big D, Andrew’s ex.  He left his phone here last night, so that’s why he’s not answering.”

I was stunned.  Fuming, I texted back:

“Why was over there in the first place?”

I received, not a minute later:

“I don’t really feel comfortable telling you.”

At that point, he didn’t really have to, but I still wanted to see it.  I wanted to know exactly what he was talking about, without inferring anything for myself.

I texted: “Tell me.  Please.”

After about five minutes of pure agony, I finally got a response.  And it was exactly what I had feared.  Andrew had cheated on me, and it was only six hours into the relationship.

Around 7, Andrew called me and pretended like nothing was wrong, something I’m not very good at.  I began to scream at him, calling him all these names, and I told him it was over.  I stressed the fact that I couldn’t believe, after everything he told me about Big D, he still slept with him.  Andrew was begging me to give him a second chance. 

“Please, C.J., I’m so sorry…can’t we just have coffee and talk about this?”

Once again, I was a total pushover: “Fine, but I’m not promising anything.”

We went to Rochambo later in the evening, and for the first three minutes I did nothing but glare at him or look away, and he did nothing but smile at me and try to hold my hand.  The cat and mouse game was getting old fast, so I decided to end it by saying, “What am I doing here?  Don’t you have something to say to me?”

Andrew began to explain himself.  The explanation seemed pretty decent: he can’t seem to get away from Big D, since he lives so close to him.  He says Big D has so much control over what he does and he doesn’t know how to stand up for himself.  He began to emotionally beat himself, which was too difficult to watch, so I interrupted.

“Well, what is it you plan to do about it?”

“I’ve been thinking…I need to get away.  I can’t stay here anymore, C.J.”

“So you’re thinking of moving into the city?”

“No, further…much further than that.”

“Well, then why am I here?  If you want to go, then go.  I can’t understand why you’re trying to get back together with me if you’re flying out to Bangkok or wherever in the morning.”

“Because I want you to come with me.”

I hadn’t expected this.  I sat with my mouth slightly agape for a second, thought better of it, and resumed consciousness.  “You’re insane.”  But as I started sipping my latte, curiosity caught up with me.  “Where exactly were you thinking about moving to?”  I figured if it was L.A. or Paris or Milan or something, I could at least weight the pros and cons.

He grinned, “Actually, Alaska.”

‘Alaska?!’ I thought.  Hardly L.A., or Paris or Milan for that matter.  My immediate judgement of Alaska was non-cultured hick-sicles huddling together with harpoons to stay warm and search for weak Democrats to poach.  It wasn’t my idea of glamorous whatsoever, so my immediate reaction was to say, “There’s no way that’s happening.”

I’m usually easily convinced into doing things, specifically wrong things, but I thought that this time, since it involved moving into a remote corner of the earth, I would be headstrong and stick to my word.  But the more he began to explain it, the less crazy the move seemed.  At that point, I didn’t really have much keeping me in Wisconsin.  I had my job at the Rep, yes, but that was no career.  He claimed that he would be able to take care of me, which now seems patronizing and ridiculous, but back then was actually one of the reasons I considered it so much.  And I really did like Andrew…I didn’t want to see him leave.  So I was a dumbass and said that we would start fresh, and that I would think about Alaska. 

A few days later, I decided to air the idea to my mom after I had gotten done with work.

“Have you lost your marbles?  They skin homos up there and make them into parkas!”

I told her I doubted it, and I also reassured her that I can’t even keep my own body warm, so I doubt I’d make a good coat.

“Seriously, Christopher, this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard from you!  You can’t just…up and MOVE to Alaska?  When we will see you?  What about your job?  What about your friends?  What about your life??”

“Awww, Mom, it’s not that big of a deal.  I can scrounge up money for plane tickets to come back and visit.”  I couldn’t believe that I was defending this idea, as if I had made the decision to actually go through with it.

“Well, you need to think this through.  You can just go waltzing up to Alaska like you own the place.  You need to have a plan, if, lord help you, you do go with him.  But I’m telling you right now that’s it’s a bad idea.  I don’t want to have to say I told you so, but you know damn well that I will.”

I essentially ignored the comment, telling her my bus was here and that I had to go.  If history had taught me anything, it would be that my mother’s instinct is spot on, but at the time, I wasn’t really catching on to that.

Later that evening, I had called Andrew to talk to him a bit more about the Alaska situation so I could tie up some loose ends.  But when I called, he wasn’t interested in that.  In fact, he wasn’t interested in much of anything.  I kept talking, but I got little back, just the occasional “Mhm” or “Okay.”  About five minutes in, I noticed he sounded strange too.

“Do you have a cold or something?  You sound weird.”

“Huh?  Oh, yeah, I’m catching something.”

Stupidly, I believed him, but since he seemed uninterested in everything I was saying, I told him to get better, and that I’d talk to him later.  I hung up the phone, layed down, and opened up a book.  About two minutes after that, my phone started vibrating, and I saw it was a text from Andrew.  Sort of.

“Hey fag, it’s Big D.  Just so you know, Andrew’s over here again.  He gave me head while I talked to you.”

That was just the beginning.  There was much, much more he wanted to tell me.  And as hurt as I was, I really wanted to hear it, because I apparently love mental abusing myself.

“By the way, he told me to tell you that you give hand jobs like you’re milking a cow.”

I didn’t even really know what that meant, but it set me off.  I turned my phone off, set it down, and cried.  I cried for my foolishness, my optimism, my stupidity, and my hopes.  I cried for Andrew, and for Big D.  But most importantly, and probably the least dignified, I cried for myself.

I didn’t hear from Andrew after that, and sometimes I wonder whether or not Big D was telling the truth.  I thought to myself…maybe it was a ploy to get me to end it with him.  Just a cruel joke so that I would react exactly the way I did.  All in all, it doesn’t really matter in the end.  I told myself that I was stronger because of this incident.  That I had learned something, and I’ll be able to apply it to the next relationship.  But I never did.  Men continue to walk over me, and I continue to let them.  It’s a vicious, vicious cycle, that’s only fueling my cynicism towards relationships.  I haven’t a clue how to reverse the spiral, but I do know that I can’t just run from my problems, even if I run all the way to Alaska.



The Lies About Lying
December 5, 2008, 12:43 AM
Filed under: Animal By-Products, Forgery, Suddenly Satire

Lying…is good.

Surprised?

You shouldn’t be.  Your subconscious, your ego, and your pride probably all agree with me.  So do your friendships, your boyfriend(s) or girlfriend(s), and your co-workers.  We all lie.  And you know what?  Sometimes it feels good; better than it should, actually.  Kind of like angora.  Yes, it’s made out of bunny.  But have you felt angora?  Once you actually touch it, you forget all about the romping woodland rabbits and focus on how good it would feel to live in a world wrapped in furry goodness.

Lying is that furry goodness.  It’s that special security blanket.  It’s the protection we need from retaliation or disagreement.  Example?  A co-worker asks you if you like their outfit.  You disregard the fishnet stockings or the shoulder pads, and instead dish out a sweet little white lie: “You look great!”  Some people might argue that you should just tell them exactly how you feel.  That’s right: people suggest that you tell someone you have to work with, on a professional level, everyday that they look like complete crap.  Those who give this sort of advice have a name: douchebag.

“But…telling the truth is the right thing to do C.J.!  It’s always better that way!  The truth will set you free!”

Oho, so now you’re going to throw that cliche crap at me, huh?  Well, before you go and get your leotard in a bundle, Mother Superior, let me tell you some stories about how telling the truth got me nowhere, and for good measure, one that got me somewhere.  This, my friends, is the truth about telling the truth: it’s overrated.

Got Milk?

I can’t really fathom why, but in my earlier years, I never wanted to finish my milk when I was done eating my meal.  It was as if my brain thought that drinking it after all my food was gone was either selfish or just plain overkill.  Even stranger, I drank out of what my family dubbed “the small glass” until I was 16, so it wasn’t like I had to stomach a gallon or something.  I never really had the urge to upgrade to “the big glass,” except when I realized that my brother only drank out of the big glass.  After that, I tried to drink out of it once during dinner, only to be writhing later under the immense pressure of all the dairy coagulating in my lower intestine. 

I think it’s pretty typical as a young child not to be mindful of wasting food.  If it smelled weird, we tossed it to the dog.  If it was limp, we hid it in our napkins.  If it was crawling for the door, we called animal control and hid all of the cookware from our mothers until they accepted defeat and called Papa John’s.  My trademark move was waiting until my mom had gotten up to use the bathroom and then dumping any unwanted food (mostly vegetables but certainly ALWAYS lima beans) in the garbage.  I could almost always get away with this, since my dad was usually on his second drink by the time I had dinner anyway and his eyes were glued to whatever was on TV. 

The one thing I couldn’t seem to get away with was dumping my milk.  Some days, even the small glass was too much for me. (Side note: this might explain my overly-feminine wrists…low calcium intake at an early age.  Something tells me I’ll be getting surprise osteoporosis for my 30th)  On weekdays, I didn’t eat with my parents.  The three of us, Monica, Andrew, and I, would sit at the kitchen table and eat, and my parents would eat in the living room in front of the TV.  My mom’s sightline shot directly at me, and since she had, as she constantly reminded us, eyes in the back of her head, I had to act swiftly.  Failure to do so would cause the mission to be aborted, and not only would I have to drink the milk, I would probably have to apologize. 

One night, around 5 o’clock, I was caught.  Red-handed, actually.  I had, with all my stealth, approached the kitchen sink, and was preparing the discharge, when my mom announced herself.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“Uhh…nothing.”

Okay, so THAT lie is a terrible one, and it never really works.  But everyone already knows that. 

I was sent back to the table, ashamed, and my mom looked at me with immense pity that drove me crazy, “Sweetie, why do you have to lie to us?  You need to learn…you can’t just lie your way out of things, okay?  Lying is what really angers us.”  I nodded in the fake-somber-kid way that lets the parents know that you at least registered the sound of their voice, and she went back to the living room.  I decided at that point that the next time I couldn’t finish my milk, I was going to be honest about it.  Completely honest, just like my mom told me to do.

Holding true to this, a week later, I had successfully mastered my pork chops, hoovered up my green beans, and slurped all remnants of applesauce.  But the milk?  It was just too much.  Rather than reinacting a Bond movie to dispose of said milk, I just got up casually and walked towards the sink, as if I was born to waste it.  I dumped it, placed the glass on the counter, and went back to my seat. 

When I sat back down, my mom surveyed me, probably wondering if I was having a stroke.  “What did you just do with your milk?”  Without thinking and without worrying, I turned to her, and told her exactly what I did: “I dumped it down the drain.”

Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

“Oh really?” she spat, “Well, thanks for telling me.  Go to your room, you’re grounded.”

Being grounded at the age of 8 is the equivalent of a maximum security prison without all the awkward shower sex, so I was devastated, and tried to plead my case, just as any proper convict would do. 

“What??  But you told me that I should always tell the truth!  That you wouldn’t be mad if I told you the truth!”

“I did say that,” she said, crouching next to me, but still in an icy tone, “And I’m glad you told me.  But you’re still grounded.”

I felt foolish.  Had I lied, I at least had the opportunity, the chance to get away with it.  But this time I told the truth.  I had sewn my orange jumpsuit, and for the next week, I was going to have to lie in it.

Some Real Progress

Probably the worst aspect of my entire high school career was the progress report.  It was different from a report card, because you knew that there was no way to lie out of a report card, there was no hiding it, and it may as well have been chizeled in stone.  A progress report, however, was something that you could hide, so at least there was that.

To parents, seeing a D on a progress report was like seeing a man cheat on his wife.  Even though it’s not a final grade, their mind seems to be made up, because when the report card does come and the grade isn’t changed, they lack any anger or even enthusiasm.  They throw it in your face, tell you you’re grounded, and turn on Seinfeld.

Countless times, I had attempted protect my parents from my progress reports.  And for a while it was actually working.  That all changed when a math teacher by the name of Mrs. Kirsch began sending us home with progress reports that, get this: had to be SIGNED by our parents.

Mrs. Kirsch could have been a very sweet and kind lady.  She certainly dressed the part of a hard-working, stocky prarie woman, but the problem was that she had the bite of a poisonous adder.  Her face was somewhat sunken, so when she smiled, she didn’t light up, she flickered, like an oil lamp.  Her hair was a cross between some sort of helmet head and Didi’s hairstyle from Rugrats.  She swung her arms emphatically, which made her lady arm fat sway to and fro like little epidermal hammocks, each threatening to give someone in the front row a shiner.  In the winter, Mrs. Kirsch would apply a radically liberal amount of chapstick to her face.  She’d start with the lips, move all the way up and around, and 10 minutes later, when she was finished, you had something that resembled a greased-up snickerdoodle with eyes. 

Mrs. Kirsch was also incredibly mean, but not in the traditional sense.  She was always very creative with her rudeness.  While we were working on homework one afternoon I had shockingly raised my hand for help.  She came over to see what I needed, and she tried to re-teach me the lesson I wasn’t understanding.  I’ve never had a loving relationship with math, but when I said I still didn’t understand, she picked up my notebook, threw it to the ground, and shouted, “Then I REFUSE to help you!”

When she began to have us sign progress reports, I’d immediately take the sheet to my mom, beg for forgiveness, and bring it back the next day.  But when the report displayed the completely UNforgiving F, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands.  I did what any other 8th grade kid would do – I forged my mother’s signature.  Of course, this took some encouragement.

“Why don’t I just do it?  It doesn’t look like your mom has a hard signature.”

I was at lunch before math period and one of my friends who suggested the forgery in the first place was now volunteering to do it.  I was skeptical.

“Oh yeah?  Well here, draw it on this piece of paper first, lemme see…”

He didn’t even spell my last name right.  So after a few shots of gatorade and a splash of water in the face, I grabbed a pen, and tried my best to copy the strokes. 

I was sweating buckets when she finally came around to collect the progress reports.  I kept picturing awful scenarios in my head: me being grounded by my parents, being spread-eagled on the Problem of the Week  wall, being kicked out of band, having to apologize…the possibilities were frightening.  When she looked down at my progress report, I could see her falter, and then attempt to hide the falter.  Knowing she failed to maintain her curiosity, she just flat out asked me:  “Your mom signed this?”  The tone was icy and accusatory, but that’s the way she said most things, at least to her students.  I replied with a curt “Uh-huh.”  She gave the paper one last up-and-down, and moved on to the next desk. 

I was home free.  The lie had worked, the signature held up, and my mom never got to see the F I had in math.

Well, that is, until the report card came out.

So what do we learn from this?  Lying isn’t the best thing in the word, but it’s good.  Because without it, we’d all be pretty unhappy, I think.  Of course, there’s a lot that you shouldn’t lie about: relationships, embezzelment, things of that sort.  But why not tell your parents that you ate all of your spinach if you can get away with it?  Why not tell your teacher a harmless fib to stop your parents from flogging you with a soup ladel?  It’s not hurting anyone.  And as long as it’s not hurting anyone, then it’s kosher.  As long as you know what really happened, then the what the rest of them know is fundamentally unimportant.  And that is the truth about lying.