Friday, August 5, 2016

The Basketball Shorts

Everyone who knows me knows that I steal.  Not Winona Ryder style – straight-from-a-store-for-the-love-of-the-game stealing, but the kind of stealing that could questionably be considered “extended borrowing.”  It’s almost stealing that could be perceived as an item we both forgot I had.  Basically, at the very moment you loan me a sweatshirt or a pair of shorts, they belong to me. 

Over the years, I’ve drawn quite a collection of items, each one serving as a reminder of love lost, lust realized, or an old friendship. 

Keeping clothes that do not “rightfully” belong to me is not about owning more stuff.  In fact, that’s my least favorite part of the whole thing.  There’s just something comforting and nostalgic about throwing on a shirt or pair of shorts and fondly thinking of someone I once knew.  Or, even better, still know.  It’s an unsanctioned gift to me, from me.

Over the many years I have been slowly collecting other people’s personal items, only one has gotten away.  The shorts were a gift from the boy’s grandpa and meant a lot to him.  The question, “Well, why did you let me wear those?” fell on deaf ears.  I empathized, however, I could not bear the thought of returning a memory that I felt now belonged to me.  I left them in my apartment and had him retrieve them from my roommate at the time.  He’s engaged now.  I hope his fiancĂ© enjoys those shorts. 

My wearable mementos have traveled with me from city to city, apartment to apartment.  They have been a constant among a whirlwind of changes, for which I am always ill-prepared.  They creepily serve as a consolation when I am feeling lonely or as a fond moment of pause when I systematically retrieve a pair in a rush.  They provide a topic of conversation/argument to an array of guys (romantic or platonic) who stay over and refuse to contain their junk in shorts that once contained someone else’s junk.  (The whole hang up makes no sense to me…but then again, I still wear a pair of underwear I took from a friend in high school, so my concept of boundaries is, admittedly, subpar.)

You would think the sheer volume of clothing I have stolen from others would be a clear indication of my sexual aptitude or, at the very least, magnitude.  However, it marks the exact opposite, as I only ever needed to borrow clothing because of my refusal to be naked.  There are the shorts and shirt I borrowed for a late-night Jacuzzi because I have so little game, I completely missed the point of the late-night Jacuzzi.  There are the shorts I took from a boy I had a massive crush on, thinking that this connected us in some psychotic way.  There are the shorts I borrowed from a hot friend as proof that we used to make out.  He’s gay now. 

I once was purposely left an article of clothing as a token of a friendship that was becoming long-distance by clearly the only person who gets me.  It was his work sweatshirt that I incessantly mocked him for wearing no matter the occasion, including a Christmas party he came to with me.  I found it in my car days after dropping him off at the airport for his big move.  It is the cutest thing that’s ever happened to me.  We’ll marry one day.

Two months ago, I moved.  In packing up my old apartment, I spent hours wondering how one human woman and one lady cat could collect so much stuff.  I pored through every piece of paper, every knickknack, every junk drawer, and every article of clothing.  When I reached the drawer of basketball shorts, I was surprised at an overwhelming sense of needing to let (them) go.

I hesitantly packed up the 14 pairs of basketball shorts (I wasn't quite ready to clean house of the sandals, socks, boxers, shirts, sweatshirts, and sunglasses), and my heart swelled the tiniest bit for the dresser space I was gaining, broke a little for the boys I was officially saying goodbye to, and broke a lot for the fact that I couldn't even remember to whom most of the shorts originally belonged. 

After four-and-a-half years living with my cat in a one-bedroom apartment, I moved to a new neighborhood and now officially take transit to work – a bigger deal than I would like to admit.  I have a new job, am at the beginning of a new decade in age, and have a new, determined life goal. 

It's time for a new set of stolen shorts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The D*ck Ring

Well, I’m dating again.  My interest in meeting Internet strangers (in hopes of finding love) ebbs and flows.  I find the effort it takes to identify and set aside time for dates more often than not goes without ROI.  However, my 30th birthday and winter have come, and the looming threat of loneliness has won.  So here we are.
            We met through a mutual friend – a rarity in the modern dating environment.  His now ex-roommate (hopefully an unrelated occurrence)/my friend from improv dragged him along to the restaurant at which I was working for a promised visit.  It was a slow afternoon so I had time to stand at the table and chat.  He was quiet, but charming, and I liked his smile.  I thought at the time it was happy happenstance, but learned recently it was always meant to be a setup.

            He asked our mutual friend for my number and for quite some time, we tried to schedule a date.  I cancelled a couple times, my jadedness got in the way, and then he immersed himself in training for and completing an Ironman.  I followed up with him after his return to Chicago and we finally found a time to grab drinks.

            We met at a trendy bar in Logan Square; I ordered a drink that was “whiskey forward” though I still don’t know what that means.  He was sweet and seemed, inexplicably, to find my sass charming.  Conversation was easy.  Looking back, though, that might be attributed to the fact that I dominated two-and-a-half of the three hours we spent together grilling him about his dick piercing. 

I’m not entirely sure how his peen came up in conversation (I also learned he has a smiley face tattoo on his butt), but it was such remarkable information, I couldn’t let it go. 

I was a woman obsessed.

I rudely assumed it was a relic mistake from college, but learned instead that it was a very recent, conscious choice.  Of course, I needed to know everything.  Why?  Didn’t it hurt?  Doesn’t it get dirty?  A double bar – why?  Where exactly is it?  Show me using your arm as a penis.  I don’t get it.  It goes through the shaft?  Is it foreskin?  Was the piercer uncomfy?  Did you have to get hard to get it pierced?  Were you uncomfy…being naked at a piercing place?  Again, why?  Have you used it yet – on a lady? 

And finally, most importantly, can I see it?

            A presumptuous inquiry, sure, but I was a couple whiskey-forward cocktails in and it just felt right.  He agreed, however reluctantly, not before warning me that it was chilly in the bar and that he was flaccid.  I offered my approval if he wanted to go get hard before the viewing, but he felt that would be worse.

            “You’re going to giggle; you’re too awkward not to,” he informed me as though I were new to my own body.
            “Yes, of course I am.”
            “You can’t even get through this conversation without laughing.”
            “But that’s fine.  Because I’m already laughing, so you’ll know I’m not laughing at your peen.  I’m just laughing because this is amazing and weird.”

            The bar had two single bathrooms making this endeavor quite simple.  With coats on and the bill paid, I went first into the ladies’ room; he joined me a few seconds later.  I was giggling before the bathroom door was even locked.

            “Just a reminder, I’m not going to touch it.”
            “I know that.”
            “This is purely research.”
            And then there it was: his genital jewelry.  I leaned in to get a slightly closer look.  I was so happy. 

            We walked out of the bathroom and out of the bar, hugged, and walked in opposite directions.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Motherly Advice

Before coming to town with my dad for a family event, my mother asked if she could extend her stay, solo, for a few extra days.  Against my better judgment (we were not on great terms), I told her that she could stay as many extra days as she was willing to cook, clean, and buy things I needed for my apartment.  She stayed two extra days.  She cooked once.
What she did, instead, after moving from her weekend stay in the suburbs to my apartment downtown, was use those two days to observe, superficially, my daily anxiety-ridden routine, gathering ammunition and plotting her attack.
Her last morning in Chicago, she offered to drop me off at work before heading to the airport.  We stood by the door putting on our shoes as she ever-so casually began, “I know you think you’re quirky and it’s cute, but your anxiety is ruining your life.”
She was referencing an article I wrote about how quirky is suddenly and oddly trending and how relieving that is for girls like me.  An article, mind you, she would not have even known existed had I not sent it to her – as a courtesy – making her unsolicited negative twist on it that much more impudent.  Regardless, the blasĂ© nature with which she delivered this segue (and calling it a segue is even generous) did not properly indicate what was about to unfold.
Reeling from that, we’ll call it, thesis statement that had the subtlety of a bull in a china shop, I tuned out for a minute, trying to get my bearings.  Her battle tactics were smart, catching me off-guard with no time to prepare.  I tuned back in just in time to hear the words “birth control.”  Context unknown.
            “Oh, I’m off birth control,” I jumped in, hoping that factoid would be both relevant and satisfactory.
            “Yeah, all that means to me is that you’re still not having sex.”
The disappointment was palpable.  I wonder if, had I told her that I had accidentally gotten knocked up after my shift at the strip club, she would have exhibited delight or even pride.  She paused in the elevator and I hoped with every fiber of my being that it was over. 
Clambering into the car, I felt wounded, weakened from the attack.  Like Voldemort, she fed off my weakness; it energized her, made her feel only more powerful, more entitled.
“You know, Jamie, this should be the best time of your life.  You should be enjoying yourself, sleeping around.  You don’t want to marry the first guy you have sex with. / Don’t you want to be dating?  And I know you want kids.  If you didn’t want kids, it wouldn’t matter, but I know you do. / Why do you refuse to take anxiety medication?  I think it would help you.  Do you know why you won’t, I mean, is there a reason?”
She went on. 
And on. 
And on.  And somewhere in a last wave of assertions came the very bold intimation that if I don’t start putting out, I will never be able to get someone to date me.
I’m not even really sure where to begin with that.  Why is the implication that I don’t have enough other, if any, good qualities that would be worth someone’s time?  That all I could really offer someone is sexuality and I’m not even doing that? 
More importantly, why is it that though there are plenty of people who ask significant others to wait for marriage (which I’m not doing) and even more people who expect to be dating someone for longer than an hour before having sex with them, that my expectations about intimacy are unreasonable?  Sex, for these obvious freaks, isn’t a way to lure someone in, it’s a step in a relationship.  (I’d imagine it falls somewhere between having dinner and moving in together.)  And yet, somehow, my asking someone to be a little patient (What’s the rule? Six dates?) is different.  But, is it? 
Maybe she’s right.  Maybe the root cause of my singleness is a lack of sexual connection.  (Or maybe it’s just a lack of Jesus because those kids seem to have it all figured out.)
And then, this happened.  Two weeks ago, I went to Florida for a wedding; the rest of the bridal party and I got in on Thursday for the combo bachelor/bachelorette party.  The girls started the evening with a nice dinner before going to meet the boys, the bride obligatorily covered in penis paraphernalia.
One glass of wine in, I received back-to-back texts from my mother (in California):
Crazy Moobs (how my mother appears in my phone):  Jamie.  Do you remember when you had your first drink and you said to me I can’t believe I wasted all that time.  Well…
Crazy Moobs:  You don’t need to repeat that text to your friends :)  I love you.  Have a great weekend.
Very confused not only as to why this conversation needed to be happening right then (she knew where I was and what I was doing), but mostly, what the conversation was, I asked the obvious follow-up questions, like what the hell she was talking about and why I wasn’t allowed to share that I was destined to be a lush.  She responded with an equally obvious observation that I was “missing” what she was saying.  She continued:
                        Crazy Moobs:  My text isn’t appropriate.
                        Jamie:  I don’t think I understand what’s happening.  Can you start over
                        Jamie:  R u drunk
Crazy Moobs:  No I’m not drunk.  I’m trying to tell you not to be a 30 year old virgin
I laughed partly because of my inability to have any other kind of reaction given my current surroundings, though it was mostly out of discomfort.
            Jamie:  Hahaha why r u texting me that right now
Crazy Moobs:  I’m not sure why I’m texting it right now.  It just came to me that you said that about drinking and you are wasting time.
Presumed Meaning:  She knew I was getting drunk on a vacation in Florida and assumed a bachelorette party/wedding would be the perfect opportunity to get drunk and get laid.
Crazy Moobs:  OMG can you imagine grandma saying that to me
I’m actually still not sure whether that was to imply her level of sluttiness in her younger days (and therefore lack of need for a talk like this) or my Grandmother’s better sense of tact.
Jamie:  No. I can’t even imagine you saying it to me.
Crazy Moobs:  I know but let’s get with the program

            Another “successful” sex talk from my mother.