Monday, July 26, 2010

The Flood

For one of my seven part-time jobs since I’ve moved to Chicago, I worked in a rumor mill.  I don’t know if it was because I was new or because I wasn’t there that often, but people loved talking about me.  My favorite: three people, conveniently best friends, said that in the same day, they all separately walked in on me having sex in a back room at work with one of the trainers who was seductively donning a Superman costume.  Overlooking the most obvious issue with their story, not to mention I’ve never so much as made out with the guy in question, don’t you think after the first person walked in, even the second, it would have killed the mood enough not to leave a window of opportunity for yet another Peeping Tom?  And please, Batman is way hotter than Superman.
The staff I made friends with, I got close to; they hated their jobs as much as I did.  There was one guy who I used to talk to a lot at work but never hung out with in real life; he had a serious girlfriend and an opportunity never presented itself.  One night, however, we happened to finish up at the same time so I asked if he wanted to grab a drink.  We drove to a nearby bar, where we sat with our legs interlocked and I proceeded to get sufficiently buzzed.  I knew I couldn’t drive home just yet so he suggested I follow him back to his apartment.  Somehow driving to his place seemed safer than driving home.  Brilliant.
            I walked around his apartment, trying to play it cool while doing a little snooping.  Not sober, but thinking it enlightened (well, not thinking it through at all) to continue the party, I found myself with the spins.  Sitting on the floor staring at the wall, I began describing to the guy all of the bizarre things I was experiencing.  It felt like an eternity, like it would never end.  He surprisingly and patiently listened to my ramblings, laughing.  When he suggested that I write everything down, I replied, “Get me a bag.  I’m going to throw up.” 
            I heard him rummaging in the kitchen for something suitable.
            “I’m not joking.  Don’t take your sweet time.  This is happening.”
            He returned with a trashcan and placed it right next to me.  Sitting in his computer chair, he watched as I tried to convince myself it wouldn’t be weird to throw up in front of him.  Even then, I knew that wasn’t true.  I waited for an opportune moment, then sprinted to the bathroom and slammed the door.  I forgot to lock it, so the guy followed me right in and sat me on the edge of the tub, rubbing my back.  I begged him to stop; I could tell it was going to incite disaster.  Knowing exactly what he was doing, he smirked.  I dove for the toilet bowl, yelled at him to get out, and shut the door again.  Locked it this time.  I hadn’t eaten anything that day so instead of productively throwing up, I began dry heaving.  I turned on the faucet hoping the running water would drown out my humiliation. 
And then, I felt wet.  I touched my pants, looked down, then looked up only to discover the sink had overflowed and flooded his bathroom.  I was sitting in a pool of water.  A small child could have taken a swimming lesson in there.
Water leaked out under the bathroom door and I heard a knock.
            “Is everything okay?”
He knew I was lying.  I berated him for failing to warn me that his sink had drainage issues.  This was clearly all his fault.  (He ended up telling his girlfriend he accidentally left the water running, which I think was more for his benefit than mine.)
Every book and magazine-ruined.  Towels and bath mat-soaked.  Dignity-drowned.  I’m a master at first impressions.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


            Thanks to Groupon, and the friend who discovered this particular Deal of the Day, I recently took an “Intro to Pole Dancing” class.  Through this class, I discovered two things: strippers are in phenomenal shape and that I am the antithesis of sexy. 
            The class started with a warm up on floor mats and every exercise doubled as a sensual seduction.  We got on our backs, with our legs in the air, rubbing one down the other in a giant circular motion or “The Clock.”  I circled the wrong way, got my legs tangled, and gave up.  We sat on our knees, leaning back on our heels, then pumped up and down slowly then quickly then slowly again, an exercise appropriately called “The Hump.”  If that had been a couples’ exercise, I definitely would have damaged something; it was more aggressive than sexy.  We channeled our inner sexy walk that was supposed to be an eighth of the speed of our regular walk while rubbing our hands over our bodies and through our hair.  Feeling ridiculous, I stuck with my regular, urgent walk and left my hands somewhere near my thighs.  We did these sexercises until it burned so badly, I expected to see a physique improvement on the spot.  If for no other reason, I need to start having sex to get in shape.
            Finally, we learned a pole trick.  I had no problem with the physicality of it but to then ask me to do it in a way that was enticing was far beyond my realm of capabilities.  (Dancing in college, it once took the team an hour to teach me one sexy move for an opening to our set.  In another dance, I remained in the back with the guys during the girls’ part and what we later referred to as the “sexy circle.”)  Even the recovery after we’d dismounted the pole was supposed to suggest sex.  Unfortunately, the friend I took the class with told me it looked like I was going to the bathroom.  At the end of class, three instructors turned down the lights, turned up stripper music, and demonstrated for us where continuing classes would take us.  Every girl in the class’ jaw dropped to the floor; I finally understood the appeal of strip clubs.  We all admitted to never having seen anything so sexy…ever.  And while I would love to one day exude stripper sex appeal, I don’t think it’s in my nature, no matter how many pole tricks I learn or exercises I do that involve molesting myself.
Sexy is a quality all its own; women who are truly sexy have a presence, a magnetism.  It’s not the girls who think they are sexy that actually are; making out with girls for attention, wearing slutty outfits, and posing for pictures with fish pout don’t quite make the cut.  There is such a huge difference between slutty and sexy, sexy and beautiful, beautiful and pretty, pretty and cute, cute and having a great personality.  Would you rather be a Rachel Green or a Chandler Bing?  A Gloria Delgado or a Claire Dunphy?
            I had a friend, all a tizzy recently, because a guy told her she was pretty.  She refused to admit that was a compliment, claiming that if he really thought she was attractive, he would have said she was beautiful.  Forget pretty; she’s crazy.  There is no doubt a connotation hierarchy that comes with giving a compliment, turning certain compliments into backdoor insults.  A short while ago, I had an unreasonable crush on this guy who dared to start seeing someone else.  While Facebook stalking, I showed a friend a picture of the new girl and asked if I should give up, truly questioning whether or not I could compete.  She looked through a few pictures then said to me, “I bet you’re funnier than she is.”
While sometimes it’s personal interpretation, it is pretty standard to assume being “cool” is the elite, being called “cute” is a step up from “funny” and having a “great personality” won’t land you on the cover of a magazine. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ants Marching

There are certain things people mention when describing a concert experience: the band, the set list, the performance, the arena, the weather, the general vibe.  Nobody ever describes in detail the scene of a concert, and now I understand it’s because no one would ever attend a concert again.  On the fourth of July, my Dave Matthews Band cherry popped in a sea of avid DMB fans.  I was the only first-timer, a role I’m quite comfortable with, and while everyone reveled in experiencing my first time with me, expressing their passion and excitement for Dave, they failed to warn me of the general type of crowd this concert at this particular arena would draw.
             My day started a solid 10 hours before the opening act was even scheduled to begin, which should have been my first indication that this would be like no concert I’ve ever seen; that it would put Boys II Men II shame and make Britney seem like a tween singing into her hairbrush.  Once the parking lot-turned frat house filled, tents and grills appeared and alcohol poured like rain.  DMB blasted from every car radio, the smell of what I thought to be an obscene amount of weed but was later put to shame mixed with the smell of meat in the air that resounded with the satisfying crack of beer cans opening.  Though I previously thought tailgates were exclusively for football games, I quickly learned that one can also pregame for a Dave concert.
The heat was close to unbearable when it was finally time for the twenty-minute uphill hike, which was made only more difficult by the tailgating activities, to the grassy mountain.  We picked a spot and sat down; I assumed this would be a comfortable place for my first Dave experience.  Unfortunately, as soon as Zac Brown Band came on stage, as if by reflex, the entire crowd rose at once to its feet and packed in together as close to the railing on the hill as possible.  The heat and humidity plus the now lack of personal space was disgusting and I prayed for sunset.  Worse than being close enough to smell the breath of everyone around me was that the incessant daylight provided opportunity for me to actually see the incredibly disturbing things that were occurring.
            It began with a girl, barefoot, projectile vomiting what seemed like a week’s worth of intake onto the grass, and a little bit onto herself.  After quickly concluding that liquor plus dehydrating heat must be the cause, my more pressing concern was the fact that people were now going to walk through her vomit and drag it my direction.  I decided I had to stand the rest of the concert (to avoid sitting in something I would regret) and when I got dizzy from the heat, I squatted onto my heels, careful to make sure my dress didn’t so much as graze the ground.  (Luckily, I wore my neon-pink spandex bike shorts underneath so I didn’t have to worry about flashing anyone.)  I looked to my left to check on the vomit situation, but instead met with a slightly more immediate concern.  
            “Oh.  No.  That’s a penis…that is a man’s penis!”
            Confused, the girls I was with all turned to see just why I was causing a commotion.  This man had whipped it out through his zipper and was peeing in the grass and giggling.  When my friend approached him to let him know that was not okay, his girl friends seemed shocked by her disapproval, as though she was crazy for not enjoying the view.  It was like a car wreck I couldn’t not look at.  A girl, who had definitely mixed something with her alcohol, couldn’t stand, and was seemingly alone at the concert, started a conversation with pee boy and his friends.  She then turned to me and said, “Ilovef*kingwithdrunkpeople.”  Honey, you can’t even say “drunk people.” 
            Once I finally got my shock under control, a guy behind me started laughing and I realized a voyeur circle had formed.  Apparently, what started as a guy motor boating a girl he just met had turned into a make out session.  Unable to see through the wall of people, I stopped caring…until that same guy’s laughter turned to screams.  The motorboat turned make out escalated and now this girl was giving head to the stranger in front of a group of people.  If that isn’t class, I don’t know what is. 
            As sun set, and the crowd settled, waiting for Dave to come on, I was excited to have less vomit dragged over my feet and the sweet absence of light to protect me from seeing things I wish I hadn’t.  As a final image of what DMB concerts incite, a guy came and sat down just in front of us and leaned back onto his elbows.  A minute later, his girlfriend crawled on top of him and they ferociously made out as though they were not in public.  Suddenly, she stood up, ran up the hill, and disappeared into the crowd.  While we wondered if he was going to go find her, the guy stood up and turned to face us, eyes wide open and jaw to the floor. 
“That.  Was.  Awesome!” 
That girl was not his girlfriend; they had never spoken; he wouldn’t have been able to pick her out of a lineup of two.
            I have to admit the Dave crowd was rowdier than I expected.  Next time, I’m sitting in seats and handing out STD pamphlets.  But everyone was certainly right.  Dave Matthews Band concerts-unforgettable.