boys

Anger Potato

When I was working in the THEE-AH-TAH, I once moved to a new city and was flailing around trying to find my feet, trying to find friends, not knowing what the funk I was doing. I knew nobody, but was pretty good about “putting myself out there” (to use the favored parlance of The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise) and getting social. I was a very outgoing person at this time of my life, and I found friends everywhere I went. One of the friends I found was a guy named Jason, who worked at the restaurant/bar across the street from the theater where I worked and where a lot of theater types went to hang out. Jason looked like 20-year-old Billy Crudup, had a ponytail, was in a band, and was really, truly, honest to Ingalls sweet, sweet, sweet. Jason and I hung out sporadically for a while. He would get me free drinks where he worked. I hadn’t gotten a phone (back in ye olden times when I needed a landline) for my apartment yet, and he brought one from his house for me to borrow/have. He showed me where the nearest grocery store was to my new place. He gave me rides places (I didn’t have a car then). He once took me to his mother’s house where she fed us the first decent meal I had had in weeks. You guys, he was soooooo nice to me. He liked me, and he like-liked me, both, quite a lot. And you know what I did? I just stopped calling him back. Like straight up dropped his ass. It doesn’t matter why. He did not deserve it in the slightest. Not even a little bit. Let me say this another way: I stopped calling him back by not using the phone that he gave me so I would even have a phone to not call him back on. And I kept the phone! WHAT A HEIFER. To this day, I feel AWFUL about this. I never fancied myself a person who would treat someone that way. It was not how I usually behaved. It was not my thing. Except this time, it was my thing. Ugh.

About a year later, I saw him at a show. I called him the day after to tell him I was sorry. He was nice but obviously pretty mad at me still, and I didn’t blame him. I have gone back and forth in my mind about whether or not reaching out like that was selfish or if it actually maybe did something for him, and I like to think it actually was helpful (ish?). He got a chance to tell me how what I did hurt, and he did tell me, and I took it in. He got to tell me that he kind of didn’t want to ever hear from me again, and I took that too. Fair enough, for sure. He sounded like it was good for him to get to say those things to me, but I guess I will never know. Maybe he would have preferred that I stayed gone and kept my sorry to myself. Could be.

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about being angry about something. She was telling me about some article she read about anger being like a raw potato in one’s stomach, and that one way to get rid of it is to express it (barf it up!) but another way to get rid of it is do internal work in order to soften the potato so it will pass. We both loved this metaphor because (1) we get to refer to our anger issues as our BELLY POTATO, which, awesome and hilarious, and (2) it is a metaphor that refers to anger as a bodily function which needs to be expelled via metaphorical hurling or metaphorical Number Two-ing, which, also awesome and hilarious.

These two things– my memory of Jason and the raw potato conversation– both came to my mind when I was reading the chapter in Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler where she talks how a good apology goes. One of the things that she says is that the best apologies, the ones that are most likely to land, are ones where you take responsibility for what you’re sorry for, and you don’t add in a bunch of “but I did it because…” stuff to justify that although you’re sorry, really underneath that you still want to hold onto being right about the circumstances that made you do the thing that you’re now supposedly sorry for. I feel like this concept is a thing we all know about sorry-ing, but it’s a thing that is harder to do than to know. This made me think about Jason because I have said sorry for many things, but that one stands out as the clearest, cleanest sorry I ever can remember giving. I didn’t tell him that I dropped him because my life was chaotic at that point, or because I was going through relationship drama and couldn’t handle more boy stuff, or because I just got super busy, or because because. Somehow, in that situation, I knew that the “because” didn’t matter. I did a hurtful thing, and I was sorry about it. That’s all, the end.

I won’t get into what the whole belly potato issue is for me right now, but suffice it to say that thinking about apologies in this way has softened my potato a bit (come on, you know you want to join me in saying things like “softened my potato” DO NOT DENY IT). It’s made me think about apologies I have received and given, and how I can be better next time I have to dole one out, and how I can better process one that is given to me, shitty or not.

Remember: less “because” stuff and more “I’m sorry” stuff, or else you may be planting a raw potato in someone’s gut.

Advertisements

My Dear Delium

When I arrived at college at not-yet-18 years old, I was a smiley kid who looked people in the eye, with unironic Snoopy sheets on my dorm room bed and a Brother Word Processor (yes, I’m that old, it’s true) under my arm. My plan was to transform my former dance accomplishments into full blown theater geekery, and with that I auditioned for a play. I was chosen, along with 9 other cast mates, and we all promptly became thick as thieves. One night during rehearsal, one of my new friends, Becca, said to me: “I think you should date Delium. I think he likes you.” To which I articulately said, “nuh-uh! Really?” and left it at that.

I was having a super fun datey time when I arrived at college. I had a cool ex-boyfriend back home, and he had done the “you’re moving away to college, go on without me, if you love someone set them free” schtick, but we kept in touch and also for the first 6 months he would show up at my dorm every couple of months so maybe it was more “if you love someone set them free but also I will show up sometimes in hopes of a booty call” which was the original draft of that Sting song. Aside from him, I was also just reveling in the fact that I was in college with all these new people and I was drowning in cute boy flirtations. When Becca said that to me about Delium, I was game. I liked him. He was a junior (automatic hottie points) and I remember that all of my dorm friends thought he was cyooooot. I am sure that I would have thought the same thing all on my own but at that age, what my friends thought was pretty much more important. Which, whatever. I was 18.

One day Delium called me on the phone and asked me to go on a date with him, which when I think about that phone call now I find it mortally adorable. He picked me up in his car and we went to some bar where his friends who were in a band were playing. It was some combination rock show plus sketch comedy thing. All I remember is that the band’s show was about them travelling through time and there was one point where one of the guys dressed full Abraham Lincoln and rocked out. It is a weird memory.

Delium and I had this strange relationship after that. On the one hand, we were both really silly people and we spent much of our time together making each other snort-laugh with honest-to-goodness hijinks. Our senses of humor lined up exactly- my very first Comedy-Kindred-Spirit. On the other hand, Delium was the first boy I ever knew who was intense. I didn’t have any experience with intense. I didn’t know what to do with it. He would say things like “I’m going to marry you one day,” or “I’m going to love you for the rest of our lives,” which would make me think “I am 18 years old, don’t be a nutjob, dude” but also “wow, that’s cool. He is Lloyd Dobler.” It was more than I could handle, for sure, but I pretended like I had it all in hand, even to myself.

That sort of intensity can only lead to a full-scale ride on the drama-trolley, and we were no exception. We had a few months of COMPLETE AND TOTAL RIDICULOUSNESS with jealousy! betrayal! declarations! tears on both sides! I shall spare you the details not because they aren’t interesting but because OMG so embarrassing. Still, the weird thing was, that even in the midst of all that, we always made each other laugh. We would be having some exhausting conversation and one of us would, right in the middle of it, DO A BIT. And the other one would laugh and be like “that’s funny, dude!” And then we would go back to being exhausting.

I can’t really remember how we managed to transition out of intensity-land into something else. I feel like it just happened. We just snapped out of it. Delium is not at all intense like that anymore so maybe that’s what did it. I left that school at 19 to go to Chicagoland to work at a theater, and Delium would come and visit me sometimes. I remember going to the Olive Garden with Delium and Nordic Boy there- the three of us. Then I moved to Madison, Wisconsin for a year and Delium moved there too because he was doing a grad program there, so we hung out some more. Then I went back to Fiji and while I was there, Delium switched grad programs to one in Seattle and needed to drive himself across the country. His driving pal? Nordic Boy. Look at how I bring a bromance together like that- those two are now straight up besties. I came back and joined up with them in Seattle, and we have all three been here ever since.

Delium is the busiest person I know. He has a day job, he acts, he dances, he goes on lots of trips. He has always been that way. But Delium is the person that Nordic Boy and I call when we need someone. With all that he has going on, somehow he is always there for us. (And do not even get me started about how Nordic Boy STOLE THAT BOY away from me). I don’t know where we would be without him. He’s our family.

Since my Dad died, Delium has called me pretty much every day. Every single day. Even when he is on a camping trip in Nevada. Even when he has work followed by a date followed by a performance. And he gets right up in my grill and talks with me about every last feeling I am having. And he remembers my dad with me. And he cries with me sometimes. And when I say “I’m so super tired, dude,” he says “I know you are. I know,” in the most gentle way. And we hang out and he still makes me snort-laugh every time.

He may not have married me like he said he was going to, but he did say he was going to love me for the rest of our lives. So, he was partially right.

All I Am Saying, Give Chauncey a Chance

It’s still cloudy and sprinkly in Seattle, but spring has definitely sprung. I am one of the few people in this city that doesn’t care about sun as much as I care about warmth. And the thermometer shows that we are not in danger of any freaking snow any time soon which is all I care about. Rain, I can handle you just fine. I just prefer spring rain to winter rain. Summer rain is even better.


I can’t think the words “summer rain” without thinking of that Belinda Carlisle song. That is one of those facts that straddles the line between pathetically sad and unbelievably awesome.


Subject change! (I know. Great writing technique. Dispense with transitions and just yell “subject change!” at will).


I know this dude- well, I sort of know him. He knows who I am, is really the extent of it, but he probably couldn’t pick me out of a line up, and to quote Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein, the feeling is mooch-ell. We nominally know each other. I’ll call him Chauncey. Just because whenever Nordic Boy wants to denote fanciness in a person, he for some reason calls them Chauncey. It is a universal hooty-tooty name, I guess. Chauncey is bonafide fancy, for reals. Lots of fancy degrees, lots of fancy jobs. Like, a lot of jobs, simultaneously, which I sort of don’t get. How do these fancy people have so many jobs? Chauncey holds a high post at the UN, and he also teaches regularly at NYU, and Wharton, and some business school in France. Each year, he is doing all these things. He is also a really active trustee on a few foundations and boards that you have heard of, but I don’t want to name. He plays classical piano. He engages in polo and other equestrian type things. He’s just such a…Chauncey.


Anyway, the fanciness is not even what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the busy-ness. So many things! So many places! I don’t get it. And what I don’t get, even more than that, is this dude’s ability to be responsive. I have cause to email Chauncey maybe once a year or so. It’s too complicated to even get into how the hell I even know this person, and plus it’s boring. But whenever I email him, you know what? He emails me back WITHIN TEN MINUTES. Granted, his emails back are not wordy, but they are pleasant, and do not sound rushed, and always warm and personal. At first I thought maybe it was his people- like he had a secretary or something that was emailing me back for him, but nope. I can tell from the content of the email that it’s really him.


This morning I emailed him and then closed out my email and started doing something else, but a couple of minutes went by and I started to feel like I had to get back in there to see if he did it again. And he did! By the time I logged back in he had already gotten back to me.


I hate to say this, but I live in a world where you email someone and you’re lucky to hear back from them in a couple of weeks, let alone a couple of days. I am not saying we all need to be like Chauncey (who I suspect has a Blackberry grafted directly onto his hand), but I think we can all do a bit better with responding to people, don’t you? I think I am above average on this front, but I flake out sometimes. I know I do. And I feel like it’s not out of the ordinary for some folks to straight up make a habit of forgetting to ever get back to people. Or leaving their friends hanging but always having a breezy apology weeks later. As a matter of fact I just witnessed some straight up bullshiz on that front last week, albeit it was secondhand and not directed at me so technically none of my business but I was still silently offended on behalf of the person I saw it happening to. It was some serious flakage happening, people. Frosted flakage.


Anyway, Chauncey just made me think. If someone talks to you in person, you talk back to them. You don’t ignore them for a month and then say oh hey girl, sorry about that, what did you say again? It should be the same with the technologies too, right? At least for the majority of the time, yes? Why do I feel like I am saying something too radical, and I need to tone it down?


At any rate, Chauncey blows my mind on this on an annual basis. Maybe the trick is to only talk to each person you know once a year.


Aw, I don’t know. Let’s just watch this Belinda Carlisle video and ponder this together.




Comeback Kid

It would be totally fair to say that I live in a cushy environment compared to the majority of the planet. I am not super wealthy, but I have all that a person needs. I have education, and am healthy, and get vacation time, and can buy Funyons whenever I want to, really. (When I was little, my parents didn’t buy us junk food, unless it was like, our birthday or something. So I only got Funyons if I was throwing a party, which forever after makes me think of them as a Super Fancy Snack). I also have surrounded myself with hip friends and we all live our progressive lives with our do-gooder activities and our artistic pursuits and our sophisticated opinions. However, I just have to tell you this. Some racist shit happens to me on a daily basis. A DAILY BASIS. Not exaggerating. I know you probably know this stuff happens all the time to the melanin-blessed. But there is always a part of me that wonders if those who don’t experience this really, really know this. Sometimes it is all I can do to not live my whole life starting conversations with the words: “You are not going to BELIEVE the shit that just went down five minutes ago!” And then regaling everyone with the details. Because I know that that is boring. And would get old fast.
But I just have to tell you this one. Because it’s awful, but funny.

I was going down an escalator and the up escalator was directly adjacent. So as the people on the down escalator make their way down, they almost brush shoulders with the people who are going up. So on this trip down, this white dude is traveling towards me. And just as we pass each other, side by side, him facing up and me facing down, he turns his head toward my ear and whispers the following.

Kamasutra, babeeeeeee.”

And I keep heading down, not looking back, and he keeps heading up.

Come on, people. OUT OF BOUNDS.

Anyway, I told Biogirl about this, and she said: “You should have turned to him and whispered back: ‘Pilgrim’s Progress, babeeeeeee.'”

SERIOUSLY. I should have said that. That girl is a genius.

Aqua Dog

I am having the kind of week where I eat, sleep, and dream work. I have no social plans any nights this week, both Nordic Boy and Biogirl are out of town, so it’s crickets around here.

So, I shall have to rifle through the brain archives to think of something to say. And what I have come up with is a true story from my life that I like to call Tucking in the Water Weenie.

Essential to this story is an understanding of the term water weenie. A water weenie is a plastic sheath the size and shape of a hotdog, and this sheath is filled with water. The result is that the water weenie is hard to hold onto, which is supposed to be fun and feel gross, I think. I am not sure in what context a water weenie is really necessary or desired, and I am not going to try to speculate about that here. I have actually never been in the presence of a water weenie ever, present story excepted.

Some years ago, when Biogirl was an undergrad, she went off on some marine biologist researchy training camp thing where they bonded over their love of anemones and sang campfire songs about seahorses (oh I don’t know what it was, leave me alone) out in the boonies somewhere. They lived in dorms. Or barracks. Or something. I promise the details get better soon. Someone in the group had possession of a water weenie. And, as people who live in the woods with no media outlets and nothing to occupy themselves do (unlike us city folk who can fill up our time doing important things like watching the Kardashians), they made up silly past times, one of which was to secret away the water weenie, go into a pal’s bedroom when they aren’t there, put the water weenie in the bed, and then wait for the hapless victim to climb in, only to find the squishy disgusting feeling of weenie against thigh, which, if you were very lucky, could make them scream in fright/repulsion.

Let’s set aside the fact that these are young nubile pre-scientists who clearly should have been using this time in the woods to get it on with each other rather than play water weenie games with badly disguised or rather glaring sexual overtones. Because we can all see that.

Months later, Biogirl was back in the city, living a normal life in an apartment, with no more weenies in her bed. At least, none that she didn’t invite there on purpose.

One day, I got an email from one of Biogirl’s friends from Bio-camp. He was in town (or maybe he was always in town, and was moving away soon, details are hazy about that dude) and thought it would be hilarious to break out the water weenie trick, in this setting, where she would never suspect! And could I help pull it off?

I told you we were putting aside sexual overtones, everyone. Just do me a favor and try to.

I think I had met that guy maybe all of two times, always in group settings. I didn’t know that guy. So it was kind of weird that he was enlisting my help on the water weenie thing, but I can see why he did it, I guess. You want to get to Biogirl, you come to me. There’s logic in that, I suppose.

This is the part where you can tell that I was young and stupid. If someone came to me with that foolishness now? I would get out of it. Tell him to take care of his own weenie caper. Say no. I am good at saying no now. But then? I didn’t want to be mean. So I gave a half-hearted yes.

I was to be the instrument of water weenie delivery. First, he wanted me to come meet him somewhere for the weenie hand-off (oh jeez), but I really didn’t want to go out of my way for this weenie madness, so I said no. Ok fine, he said, I will drop by her apartment in the middle of the day and leave it somewhere for you. But where? I don’t know, I said. She has some plants on her front step.

Brilliant, he said. And he went to her place and stuck his weenie in her bush.

Ok, I admit I tried to make it sound dirty that time.
I was supposed to go over to Biogirl’s that night. I enlisted the help of our pal Jenny, because I couldn’t stand to be alone in this stupidity and Nordic Boy was having none of it. The plan was that we would swipe the weenie out of the bushes and put it in one of our purses before ringing the doorbell. But how would we get it into her room? I wasn’t going to just go into her bedroom by myself for no reason. We should have come up with a plan ahead of time, but we decided to improvise.

Right before we were supposed to leave for the night, I thought that if I could get Biogirl to go into her 2nd bedroom, then Jenny could do the deed. I remembered that Biogirl had her camping equipment stored in the closet of the second bedroom. So I said this: “Biogirl, I am thinking about buying some camping equipment. Specifically, a good sleeping bag. What kind do you have? Can I see it?”

To this day, I can’t understand why Biogirl didn’t see right through that mess. ME, asking about camping equipment? The likelihood of me buying camping equipment is about the same as me buying a spacesuit for my next trip to Mars. But she totally fell for it. “Come on, I’ll show you.”

The two of us went into the 2nd bedroom, and Jenny went into the other one, and deposited the weenie into the bed.

To quote George W, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Except Jenny is not one to believe a statement like that from our president or anyone else. She was under the impression that we had to see the mission through to the very end. Like, that we had to actually witness the shock and disgust when Biogirl found the weenie.

Why did she think that? I don’t know. I thought our duty was done.

As we started to wind up the evening and get our coats on and such, I could see Jenny starting to panic. We were leaving! How would we know if the water weenie joke worked? I tried to make eye contact with her. We’re out, I wanted to say, leave it alone! We are done with this weenie caper!

And then, Jenny opened her mouth, and with a complete straight face, she said this:

“You know, I think that before we leave, we should TUCK YOU INTO BED.”

There was just a second of silence (because what else can you do but let that one sink in for a moment), and then Biogirl laughed. And then so did I.

Ha ha! Good one, Jenny! That’s funny! Ok, let’s go home now!

“NO REALLY. I THINK WE SHOULD. IT’LL JUST TAKE A MINUTE.”

And then we all looked at each other. And then Biogirl got a look on her face that was equal parts suspicion, fear, and wanting to be a good sport to a joke that she didn’t get.

Biogirl: Um, why would we do that?
Jenny: Because it would be funny!
Me: (making eyes at Jen that said ABORT! ABORT!)
Biogirl: What’s going on?
Jenny: Nothing! I just think it would be funny!
Me: I uh…
Biogirl: Why? Why is that funny?
Jenny: Oh come on. Just do it!

I don’t know what possessed her, but she said…ok.

So the three of us walked into her bedroom, and she- looking at us with complete mistrust and never turning her back on us the entire time- backed up to her bed, fully clothed in her daytime attire, pulled her blankets back, and got into her bed.

Let’s just freeze-frame for a second. All became clear when she discovered the water weenie, as to why things had transpired thusly. But up until that moment, what did she think was going on? It was clear that she thought we were playing some kind of prank on her, but what? She couldn’t have suspected the water weenie because we weren’t at biology nerd research camp with her. And why did she comply with the tucking in business? And what possessed Jenny to think that tucking her friend in was a convincing ruse? And why didn’t I just break down and tell Biogirl what was going on and fuck the water weenie joke, which wasn’t even my joke to begin with but that I was taking way too much responsibility for?

It is kind of fascinating to think about what each of us was thinking in these moments. I don’t think I can really explain any of it, even my own actions.

My only conclusions to draw from this story are the following:

1. Jenny should not be a secret agent.

2. If I ask you about camping equipment advice, I am up to something.

3. When in doubt about how to complete a caper, offer to tuck someone into bed.

4. If a dude wants to give his weenie to a girl, there really shouldn’t be a middleman.

Sir Delium, Birthday Man

Today is my friend Delium’s birthday. You may know Delium as the guy with the leisure pants, or the guy with the awesome helpy skills, or the guy who pulls planes around, but he’s so much more than that. Delium has been an awesome friend to Nordic Boy and me for all of our adult lives. Let’s list some of his awesomisity, shall we?

1. I met Delium as a freshman in college, when we were both cast in a play together. We cracked each other up immediately. Literally, within 5 minutes of our audition, we were insta-friends.

2. We dated for a short while and when I think of the drama that we put each other through it’s kind of a goddamn miracle that we were still friends after that mess. Really, it was such a mess. I am not even joking you. HUGE mess. Have I emphasized enough how much of a mess it was? Ok. But after it was over, we were all, “I still think you’re cool.” And that was that. We totally became Jerry and Elaine after that, sort of seamlessly.

3. Delium is probably the busiest person I have ever known. He has a full-time job, he acts in plays, he does improv, he does voiceovers, he dances, he plays tennis, he does yoga, the list goes on and on. And yet, he’s a person that we have always called in a crisis. He’s always there when we need him, somehow.

4. Nordic Boy and Delium have what I think is the funniest friendship on earth. It’s like they are Bert and Ernie. They are so very different, but get along so well. I think they would make a great reality show. Their adventures together could definitely be termed hijinks.

5. And ok, fine, over the years Delium has grown to love Nordic Boy a little bit more than he loves me. Nordic Boy doesn’t have as many friends as me, but when he does have them, they always love him more. I even recently found out that in Delium’s life, Nordic Boy is his In Case of Emergency person. Not me, even though I have known him longer. I have put in the time! And not me since I am the one who is always in town and available if needed, whereas Nordic Boy is often away on business. Oh no. It had to be Nordic Boy. That lovable bastard.

6. Delium is one of the few people (there are only 4) in my life that I can say anything to. I mean anything. Unconditional, he is.

7. Delium is known for his falls. He can do a grand fall down like nobody’s business. This is something he shares in common with Biogirl. I don’t know why my best friends have talent in the falling down skills. Sometimes, when they hang out, they have conversations about their falls. “So, have you had any crazy falls lately?” “Why, yes. Yes I have.”

8. One time, years ago, Delium had a free gift certificate for a family portrait. I don’t know who’s idea it was (probably his), but we thought it would be funny to go get a photo taken together. Me, him, and Nordic Boy, our little family. It started out as a “ha ha, wouldn’t it be funny if we did that” thing, and quickly escalated to where we actually went and did it. We got dressed up and went to this studio, and not one of us said A WORD about what our relationship was to each other. That poor photographer was SO CONFUSED. Was I a couple with one of these boys? Were the two boys a couple? Were we siblings or something? That dude had no idea how to pose the three of us. The result is a FUCKING HILARIOUS photo that the photographer came up with, of Nordic Boy and I seated next to each other, and Delium standing behind/above us, encircling us both with his hands on our shoulders like a proud papa with his two little babies. The photo makes no sense whatsoever. It is comedy gold.

9. Delium is, through and through, a good, solid, fun, friggin’ hilarious, talented, A-1 tip top friend. I don’t even really think of him as my friend. I just think of him as a part of my family. He’s closer to me than my own brothers, truly. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have him around.

10. Yay, Delium! Happy birthday, you old goat.

Hair Drama

Delium came over AGAIN and rocked out with the help for like 6 or 7 hours this weekend. Now he is just gunning for Friend of the Year, methinks.

It’s funny to have people over while you are doing something with your partner that you would normally only do without other people there. (Dirty!) Ok, this time I just mean that we were working on the house together with Delium there. Nordic Boy and I have been together for so long now that we pretty much have communication down pat and so working together does not raise ire or frustration or cause bickering that we need to quash in front of outsiders. And I am glad of that, because really, what is worse than being stuck at someone’s house as a guest and hearing that mess from your couple-friends? So although the bickering doesn’t happen, we do have quirky ways that we communicate, and having an audience can be kind of funny.

(Me, working with Delium).
Me: Where’s Nordic Boy?
Delium: I think he went in the house for a drink of water.
Me: Oh. (hesitation)
Delium: Do you need something?
Me: Yeah. I, uh, just need to go express something for a second.
Delium: Oh. Um, ok. Go for it.
Me: (yelling) NORDIC BOY??
NB: (through the open kitchen window) YEAH??
Me: I COULDN’T FIND MY PONYTAIL HOLDER TODAY!
NB: WHERE DID YOU LAST HAVE IT?
Me: I CAN’T REMEMBER! MY HAIR IS IN MY FACE. IT’S MAKING ME MAD.
NB: (sounds of footsteps. Rustling of things. Drawers opening and closing).
(NB comes out of the house with a small ponytail holder).
Me: Thanks, but not that one. That one won’t hold my hair. My hair is too thick.
NB: Oh. (Starting to go back into the house).
Me: You don’t have to go search for it or anything. I just wanted to tell you I was mad about my hair. You don’t need to fix it. I just wanted to tell you about it.
NB: Ok. You sure? I can get a barrette. How about a clip?
Me: No, really- no solution necessary. I just wanted to tell you.
NB: Ok.
Me: I feel better now.
(pause)

Delium: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is your demonstration of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Thank you for watching.
Me: Shut up.
Delium: You guys are weird.
Me: Get back to work.

Double Dog Date

It’s been a while since I have regaled you with my childhood idiocy, hasn’t it? Let’s remedy that.

When I was in 9th grade, there was this kid. Let’s call him Dolph. Dolph was, if not the most popular boy in school overall, he was up there. Particularly with the ladies. He had a sort of David Duchovny thing going on, which is apparently what the girls wanted a piece of back then. He had scads of girls after his bony behind. I don’t really know why.

I don’t remember being particularly into Dolph, like, for real. This was still back in the day when I sort of liked boys just for the idea of liking them, rather than liking them because they were making me feel a flip in my stomach. Real true likage didn’t happen until 10th grade when I went kooky for Taco. Taco made my panties melt off whenever I looked at him. Dolph? Not so much.

Still, I was friends with Dolph. He lived in my neighborhood, and rode my bus, and we had lots of classes together. Particularly, we had German class together. I took German that year because my sister was living in Germany at the time and I basically wanted to do and be everything that my sister did so achtung, fraulein. Let’s learn some German. Our German teacher was a weasley little guy with perpetual pit stains who made us sing beer-drinking German songs, many of which I can still bust out to this very day.

Ich bin der doktor Eisenbart!
Zwilli willi wick boom boom!

The class was taught in a lecture hall style room, where the seats were really close together. Dolph and I sat next to each other every day, and because we were literally hip to hip, this was conducive to non-stop note-writing back and forth and whispered conversations all hour each day. Dolph and I got pretty dang cozy. And then the flirting began.

The nature of the flirting was strangely aggressive. It was like we were still young enough to almost be in the stage where if a boy liked you, he would pull on your ponytail and run away. Almost in that stage still, but not really. The flirting would take place via these challenging statements to each other, given back and forth with lots of immature attitude.

Him: You didn’t do your homework?
Me: No. So what do you care?
Him: You just think you can get away with stuff because you’re PRETTY.
Me: Shut up! You just think that you can say stuff like that because you’re CUTE.
Him: You shut up!

What the hell is that all about? He’s telling me I’m pretty, but in a tone dripping with disdain. And I am telling him to shut up about it. Just you shut up about me being pretty! GOD.

It’s like Lauren Bacall and Bogey. Or Hayes and Addison. Except, you know, stupider than that.

Each day the challenges got a tad more heightened. And somewhere along the line, not only was the kid-style attitude enough, but dare-like language got thrown into the mix.

Me: All these girls like you, but you are just too chicken to do anything about it!Him: Nuh-uh!
Me: Yeah-huh! You are. You wouldn’t even know what to do alone with a girl. You’ve never even kissed a girl, I bet!
Him: Yes I have!
Me: What-EVUR.
Him: If we were alone right now, I would SHOW YOU.
Me: BIG TALK.

And on it went like this. Day after day, week after week. Things would get thrown into the conversation slowly, incrementally. It was like the momentum of our conversations had a mind of its own. I certainly didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, and I doubt he did either.

Pretty soon, it started to morph even more.

Me: Funny how you only say that you know what’s up when we’re in school.
Him: So what?
Me: So you can’t prove anything while we’re in the middle of class, can you?
Him: So fine, come over after school! I DARE YOU.
Me: Don’t you dare me!
Him: I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU!

First of all, we all know, as a society, that there are no stronger words in the English language than Double Dog Dare. Am I right? If only we could translate the import of that phrase into other languages, we could Double Dog Dare world peace into existence I am sure. Second of all, Dolph whipped out the Double Dog Dare before he could think it through. I am 100% positive about that, because the look of fear that crossed his face as soon as it came out of his mouth is a moment I will never forget. And I am also sure that I had a similar look on my face as well. But what could I do? My honor was at stake! I was raised to not refuse a Double Dog Dare. That was absolute kid code. So what did I say?

Me: FINE. I WILL. WHAT DAY?

At this point, Dolph tripped all over himself coming up with an excuse as to why it couldn’t be that very day. And I was so relieved that he was putting it off. Not because he was repulsive. I wanted to kiss him, in that young, inexperienced way. Just out of curiosity more than anything else.

Him: Um, well not today. Next week. Next Monday. Yeah. Next Monday.
Me; Fine. Next Monday. Sucker.
Him: Shut up.

So we had a…date? Sort of? It felt kind of like a date. It also felt kind of like I imagine it feels when someone says that they want to meet you after school in the parking lot so you can beat the crap out of each other. Scary anticipation. Dread.

The days went by, and each day, the trash talk continued. We would pass each other in the hallway between classes.

Me: Three more days, fool!
Him: Bring it!
Me: As if you know what to do!
Him: You wait and see!
Me: I’m so SURE!
Him: Psh!

The witty repartee, right? I know.

There was a fad that year, where the vandalism of choice was to break hood ornaments off of fancy cars and run away with them. Classy. The day before the appointed make-out challenge day, Dolph came by my locker and gave me a Mercedes Benz hood ornament. It was only then that I realized OMG I HAVE TO GO THROUGH WITH A MAKEOUT SESSION WITH THIS BOY. Not just one kiss, most likely, which is what I had done in the past. But a SESSION. At his house. Where his parents would not be. We would be alone. For extended smooching. He had double dog dared me and now the hood ornament! This was 9th grade courtship, for serious!

This whole story is just so romantic, I know. Like there should be Sade playing in the background the whole time or something.

Monday morning rolled around, and I got up early. I put my curling iron into overdrive and wore my best outfit. I still remember to this day what that was: a light pink sweater, a brown pencil skirt made out of a sort of canvas-like material, and low pink heels. (Yes, I was the type of girl who already wore semi-heels to school when I was that age. SO WHAT). I felt dumb dressing up. Were we really going to go through with the Double Dog Date? I didn’t think so, but damned if I was going to be the one to blink first.

I showed up for school a few minutes early. My friend Donna had journalism class for first hour, and I knew that Dolph did too. I made a pretense of going to visit Donna before the bell rang. I walked in that classroom and SHIT, people. He was dressed up too! A nice shirt and sweater, with nice non-jean pants.

Me: (said like Seinfeld to Newman) Hello, Dolph.
Him: (said like Newman to Seinfeld) Hello.

And then we went about our day. I was freaking out.

Because A: he was dressed up too and was not blinking! The session was imminent! Abort! Abort! But maybe not! I think I want to go through with it! Shit, I don’t know!

And also because B: I was dressed up, yes, but I was a dressed up-ish kind of girl, so that wasn’t suspicious. But HE WAS ALSO. Would everyone wonder why the two of us were dressed up? Would everyone know that some lip action was forthcoming between us?

I trembled my way through the first half of my day. And then, at lunch, Dolph came over to my table, sporting Seriousface.

Him: Can I talk to you?
Me: Sure.

He pulled me aside, and informed me that um, it turns out that, um, my mom will be home after school today after all, and um, so it doesn’t look, like, um, it will work out today.

Me: I KNEW IT!
Him: What?
Me: BAWK BAWK BAWK! HA HA HA!!!!
Him: SHUT UP!

It was off, people, and I HAD WON! IN YOUR FACE! In the Double Dog Staredown, I had emerged victorious as the one with the most balls.

Except, did that mean that he didn’t want to kiss me? Aw crap.

It turns out that it didn’t mean that. The following week we met up at a football game and made out like banshees (do banshees make out? whatever) during half time. And that was kind of the end of that (until a relapse years later when we were seniors at a party).

So me. CLEARLY THE VICTOR.

However, I swore off taking Double Dog Dares after that. It’s just too much power in one phrase.

Zwilli willi wick boom boom.

Time, time, time, see what’s become of me

I haven’t heard from my friend Delium in a couple of weeks (other than when he sent me a link to jean-pajamas as a misguided attempt at defending his “leisure pants” days). He hasn’t come over or called me for two weeks. To be fair, I haven’t called him either. But (of course!) I have an excuse. My excuse is that, although Delium was my friend first, since we were baby teenagers, and we even dated in our early college years, slowly over time, Nordic Boy has stolen him away from me. That’s right, I said it. Friendship theft! Right in my own home!

And before I go on, I don’t think I have ever stated that my friend Delium is not really named Delium. Because, obviously that is not a name. The reason I call him Delium is that his real name is something like Richard Daly. That’s not his actual name, and no I am not friends with the former mayor of Chicago (who I think is dead, right?) but it’s something like that. And there was a period of time a few years ago where he got on some sort of junk mail mailing list with the most effed up misspelling of his name ever. The result was that for a few months, all of his junk mail was addressed to “Delium Ulrichter.” How awesome is that? Instead of spurning this incident, I have embraced it and now call him Delium.

Anyway, back to the Friendship Theft. At first, Delium was most definitely my friend and just acquaintances with Nordic Boy. But as the years went by, I noticed a shift occuring. Not a subtle shift, either. Delium was totally falling in love with Nordic Boy, the more he got to know him. I, all of a sudden, was the side dish.

And can I just tell you, with no resentment in my tone whatsoever (ok maybe a little bit), that THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS TO ME? Nordic Boy is much less social than I am, and has fewer friends overall than I do, but dang. When someone puts in the time to get to know that guy? That is when I become liver of the chopped variety. People who take the time to get to know him, love him. No, let me rephrase. They looooooove him. Love, love, love. They become friends with him, and they also become fans of him. And Delium is no different. To this I say, yeah yeah, I know, Nordic Boy is awesome. WHATEVER. And also, humph.

The reason that I hadn’t called Delium is because that dude doesn’t call me no more. He only calls Nordic Boy. So now I have to hear news about my friend through him! The nerve. So I just wait for Nordic Boy to fill me in on what’s new with Delium, or to make social plans for us with Delium. Hence, I don’t call him as much anymore. Chopped liver does not know how to dial a phone, you know.

So Delium calls me yesterday to catch up and figure out when we can make a plan to hang out. We decide to meet up for dinner on Sunday. The question is: what time? See, Delium has a bit of an issue with time management. He is super busy, with back-to-back engagements, and no matter what time we say we will meet, he usually is late, or early, but not anywhere near the time that we agreed to. This is because he has a serious issue with interpreting what time really means. For example, if I say let’s get together at 7pm to go get some ice cream, he hears that and might think “She doesn’t want me to pick her up at 7pm, she wants me to leave my house at 7pm.” Or perhaps “We’ll probably have to wait in line for ice cream, so we better go early. I’ll show up at 6:30.” Meeting up at 7pm is not as simple as just saying we will meet up at 7pm. This is not news to him, by the way. I am not talking shit about my friend behind his back. He will be the first to tell you that he has a problem with understanding time. Hence, the following weird conversation that we had.

Him: What should we have?
Me: How about we go get a burrito?
Him: Ok. What time?
Me: Well–
Him: And I am talking about Food In Mouth Time.
Me: What?
Him: Food In Mouth Time. What time do you want the food to actually be in your mouth?
Me: That sounds weird. Food in Mouth Time? Really?
Him: Well, that way I know what to extrapolate. If I know what time you want to actually be eating, then I’ll know what time to pick you up. Like, if you want to eat at 8, then I will come pick you up at 7:30.
Me: Can’t we just say that we’re meeting at 7:30? Or that you’re picking me up at 7:30? Isn’t that the same thing?
Him: Not to me. I need Food In Mouth Time.
Me: I just don’t know if I can go with you on this Food In Mouth thing.
Him: Do you want me to be on time, or don’t you?
Me: Fine. Food In Mouth: 7:30.
Him: Thank you.
Me: You’re really weird.
Him: You wait, Food In Mouth Time will sweep the nation.
Me: Sure.
Him: Wait, Nordic Boy is coming too, right?
Me: Sigh.

Ain’t Nothin’ But a Groundhog

When I was in 11th grade, I was dating this dude. Well, dating. I don’t know- that’s a strong word. We didn’t really date in high school. Either you were hanging out with a boy for a while and kissing (and perhaps other things), or you were Boyfriend and Girlfriend. When I was in high school, the couples that were bonafide couples seemed like they were friggin’ married. Seldom did my friends or I venture into Boyfriend and Girlfriend land (or Boyfriend and Boyfriend land, as the case may be). Even if we were seeing/dating/getting physical with boys, I can’t recall any of my friends calling anyone they were seeing a Boyfriend. That was sort of beyond us.

Anyway. I was “seeing” this dude in high school, which for a while mainly consisted of lots of flirtatious phone calls, and note writing, and conversations in gym class. And one day, after school, we kissed. And people? I had kissed boys before, but there was some sort of weird lining-up-of-the-planets in my hormones or something that day, because that kiss knocked me out. Heck, it was a kiss that was so good it nearly knocked me UP, if that were possible. It was like up until that point I was making out with boys in a “this is kind of nice” sort of way, and then this kiss was my first inaugural AAH-OOH-GAH kiss, where the Barry White music started to play in my mind and it was ON. So although it wasn’t my first kiss, it sort of was. It was the first time that kissing seemed super delicious and sexual to me.

And that happened on Groundhog Day.

For the next few years, every time Groundhog Day would roll around, I thought about that. What a weird, weird way to commemorate a day about rodents, right? After a few years, I sort of forgot about it. Yesterday BioGirl and I were talking about Groundhog Day, and it made me re-remember my romantic Groundhog Day in 11th grade when that cute boy and I made out like we had struck gold in the Yukon. I’ve never been a big Valentine’s celebrator, but maybe that’s because my February heart belongs to Groundhog Day.

So, Happy Groundhog Day, everyone. It’s a great day to suck face, take it from me.