Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sir, they make lozenges for your problem.

As a teen, I worked summers at a local mall. Dear readers, those various crappy jobs in various crappy stores waiting on various rich Manhattanites and tourists with crappy attitudes instilled in me a profound and lifelong hatred of retail. No experience could have done more to motivate me to excel in college; I vowed never to work retail again once I had my degree. To this day, I am the most polite customer ever; I re-hang clothing that has fallen off of racks, and am almost unfailingly smiley to customer service people, whom I know are treated like human punching bags on a daily basis.

My adventures in retail also provided a crash course in (bad) male behavior. Most of the teenaged boys that I knew behaved with more dignity towards women than the fully grown men that harassed me daily. The husband of one of my bosses would come into our store when he knew she was at lunch, leer at me and compliment me on my "hot bod" (I was fifteen, and looked like a broomstick with frizzy hair). While working in a men's clothing store, I had more than one middle-aged husband try to take a swipe at my ass when his wife's back was turned (I was sixteen, and my ass was concave). While working in a women's clothing store, a man who must have been in his 50s followed me around while his wife was in the dressing room, calling out "Marry me! Will you PLEASE marry me?!" (I was fourteen - let's not even go there). I watched men try to peek into women's dressing rooms; I caught men masturbating behind clothing racks. Readers, these were not unwashed, muttering mental cases. Most of these guys looked "normal", and their wives seemed completely oblivious to their behavior (they might not have been; I was too busy fending off their husbands to really tell). I knew that some men could act like degenerates, but because I was so young, I was amazed that so many of them had no compunction about doing such things in public, with no shame whatsoever!

I've always been kind of a brassy chick. Whenever I encountered this type of behavior, I would look the guy dead in the eye and loudly say, "Sir, your zipper is down," "Well that's very flattering, sir, but I'm underage," or "Sir, that is the WOMEN'S dressing room." I'd always say it with a smile. That was my job, service with a smile! So good was I at my temporary profession that I could effortlessly serve up that smile with a side of public humiliation. Readers, if a man was having trouble keeping his pants up/keeping his hand out of said pants/keeping his hands off my nonexistent ass, I was just trying to be helpful by announcing it to everyone! Surely he hadn't noticed, and therefore needed my assistance! Lord knows, my bosses didn't pay me $6.25 an hour to sit on my flat backside all day.

One night, after a particularly grueling eleven hour stretch on my feet (it was a holiday weekend), I was walking to my car when I spotted a man loitering in the parking lot. I come from a cop family, and at seventeen I was already well trained to give strange men a very wide berth. A man standing alone in a parking lot usually spells trouble.

"Mmm-HMMMM." The guy cleared his throat loudly as I passed him.

I approached my car, holding my keys. Throat Clearer (let's just call him "TC") stared after me. "Mmm-HMMMM." Louder this time, trying to get my attention.

I didn't acknowledge him, but kept him in my peripheral vision. TC walked directly into my line of vision and casually leaned against a car that was a few spaces away.


I'd had enough. TC wanted my attention? He got it.

I made eye contact. He grinned at me, the way you expect a pedophile to grin at an 8-year-old in a Lifetime movie of the week.

"Sir," I said calmly, "do you have a hairball?"

TC's smile faded; he looked confused. Now I was smiling. "You might want to get yourself some Chloraseptic," I advised cheerfully. "There is a pharmacy down the street. Have a nice night!"

I drove away chuckling; in the rearview mirror, TC glowered at me.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Zip it good!

During the height of my partying days in Boston (late 90s), I would often frequent a club called The Jukebox. It was a tiny place with two small rooms and two wall bars. The sound system in the back room played hard rock; the front room featured a mix of 70s to 90s pop, and was decorated to look like a miniature version of the club from "Saturday Night Fever." Video screens mounted on the walls played various movies and videos all night, "SNF" being the one in heaviest rotation. The place was always packed, with bodies wall-to-wall by midnight. My friend Samantha and I called it "The Pukebox" because it was so tacky, and because Boston college students tend to drink until they retch everywhere. We kept going back because the cover was pretty cheap, we liked the music in the front room, and the people watching was absolutely hilarious.

One weekend in '97 or '98, Samantha, JoAnne and I headed down to The Puke to scratch our dancing itch. Sam, who was adorable, bubbly and completely guy-crazy, disappeared with a skinny frat boy in about five minutes. JoAnne and I got drinks and made our way onto the multicolored, blinking dance floor, where we tried our best to get our groove on without spilling. I'll tell you what - if you looked down at that floor while you were dancing, your drink would wind up all over you; the blinking colors were hypnotic and dizzying, like the game "Simon Sez" on speed.

I digress. So, we're on the dance floor, which was getting pretty crowded, as it was already about 11:30. People who couldn't deal with the crowd climbed up onto a raised platform that was built into the mirrored wall that bordered the dance floor on one side. We were having a really good time; it was a fun crowd, and the music was great that night. Around midnight, two or three bachelorette parties pushed their way in with their entourages, and things started to get tight. JoAnne and I were separated for a bit; she got pushed farther out in the crowd, while I wound up right next to the platform that was against the mirrored wall.

Now, picture this. When you were dancing on that floor, you were at eye level with the, um, groinage of the people who were dancing on the platform. So I was shaking my moneymaker to god knows what, and there was this smallish, dark man in jeans and a battered-looking, faded blue t-shirt dancing on the platform right next to me.

Every time I turned in his direction, he unzipped his jeans, then zipped them up again.

At first, I thought that he'd just forgotten to zip up after coming back from the men's room; you know, "left the barn door open", that sort of thing. Well, denial ain't just a river in Egypt, dear readers. He kept doing it, looking me in the eye every single time. He wasn't wearing underwear either, kids. It was absolutely uncalled for. I gave him my best "drop dead" look, as if to say "what the hell is your problem, perv?", but that just made him smile - and unbutton.

When a problem comes along, you must zip it*. I danced my little self back towards JoAnne and got off the dance floor. We searched the club for Sam, who was holed up in a corner with her latest catch. It was around 1am, the crowd had gotten seedy, I'd seen way too much of Zipper Man than I would have liked. We were out of there.

UPDATE: You know how the human brain can suppress traumatic events? Well, I had completely forgotten about Zipper Man's sidekick, Boner Boy. Earlier in the evening, JoAnne was dancing on the platform, and had to get off because the guy next to her was standing 'at attention' (in her words, she was 'poked in the posterior'). An interesting night was had by all.

* quoted from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999).

Friday, June 16, 2006

True dat, true dat.

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free. In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved. You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring. You would be forced to break up with someone who was insecure and in constant need of reassurance. Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with. Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment. You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred. In this moment, you think of love as something you don't need. You just feel like flirting around and playing right now.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I am not a fan of big breasts - for myself. I was a late bloomer, almost flat-chested until I was about 23. I was subjected to all of the usual jokes ("you're a pirate's dream; a sunken chest"; "I can't tell whether I'm looking at your chest or back, they're exactly the same, hyuk hyuk"), et cetera, but it never bothered me. I loved my little breasts; they never got in my way, running up and down stairs caused no discomfort whatsoever (you ladies know what I'm talking about), and I could wear absolutely anything. I liked the fact that I could go braless if I wanted; I could always jack my rack with a Wonderbra if I wanted a little extra oomph that day.

By my mid-20s, I wasn't buying push-up bras any more. I have to say that it felt great to be able to fill out a bra without help, although going braless was no longer an option (too uncomfortable). I was a B-cup, not too big, not too small; "Just right!", as Goldilocks would say. I would have been perfectly happy to live with my B's for life, but they had other ideas. By the time I was 30, I was a C-cup. That might sound awesome to some of you (particularly men), but when a woman is 5'4" and a size 4, a 34C is more than her fair share of boobage. When I was 25, I was not accustomed to men staring at my chest, but it's a fairly regular occurrence now. Mind you, I'm not going to wear a burqua or stay inside for the rest of my life (the be-penised half of the human race should take responsibility and be more respectful, controlling their ogling), but I'm much more conscious of necklines than I used to be. One's body changes naturally throughout one's life - them's the breaks, we roll with it and adjust. But don't even think of calling me a bitch if I call you out for mistaking my nipples for eyes.

That being said, I cannot relate to women who get breast implants. Mine are natural, for god's sake, and I'd hop a train back to B-town in a milisecond if I were given the option. I can't really sympathize with small-chested women who'd like to be larger, since I used to live in that camp and was perfectly happy there. Don't even get me started on the infantilization of the American male, the best evidence of which is a culture-wide mommy-tit fetish, which reaches its absolute zenith here in Los Angeles.

Now I will finally get to the point, dear readers. I didn't post today so that I could brag or whine. For better or worse, breasts are what they are. Women don't give themselves congratulatory pats on the back over them (our DNA takes all the credit, and some women are so large in the chest that they can't reach their backs, anyway). The point of this post is my wonderment at what women will do to their bodies to achieve an "ideal".

I wrote in my last post that I was going to a spa on my birthday. Everybody walks around in various stages of undress at the spa, and nobody stares, because who cares? It's just other women, and staring just ain't polite. On this particular spa trip, however, I saw something that really depressed me; a beautiful, petite woman with the most horrible implants I have ever seen. She literally looked as though someone had sliced a large cantaloupe in half, inserted them into her chest and sewn her back up. Natural breasts have a teardrop shape, but these stuck straight out, and her nipples pointed down (in different directions). It was an unsettling, "did I just see that?" moment. When I realized that I was staring, I was mortified, because I know how it feels to be stared at, but lord, those breasts were a train wreck. They looked like something out of an episode of "Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong: A Dateline NBC Special". I'm relieved that she didn't notice what must have been a look of total horror on my face. At the risk of sounding terribly patronizing, I felt sorry for her; it looked like she'd been enhanced by Dr. Quack Tits, M.D. I have no idea whether she's actually happy with them or not; the fake, porn-star look is desired by some out here. Maybe she is is porn; it's possible (we were in Hollywood), but I'm not going to assume that just because she's got implants.

Let me be clear; I don't think less of women who want or get implants. What's right for my body is by no means right for everybody. I understand that there are plenty of women who have made the decision to have breast augmentation surgery and are happy with that decision. It's your body, your money, and your choice; you deal with the repercussions, so at the very least, do your research and splurge on the best doctor that's available to you. Still, my heart sinks a little every time I see fake cleavage. Am I sad because of the health risks? Because I'm making assumptions about that woman's sense of self? Because I think that fake breasts tend to be aesthetically frightening? Am I simply reacting with distaste to a beauty standard that is pushed on all women in our culture - in magazines, in films, on television, in video games - to be thin, beautiful, and stacked? I think that's probably it.

When I was an art student, I took several figure drawing classes, which had both male and female nude models - all with different, natural bodies. They weren't perfect, but each time a model posed, he or she seemed more beautiful to me than the last time I had drawn them. When you study the anatomy of the human body, when you take a piece of charcoal and trace the delicate line that connects collarbone to shoulder, jawline to neck, buttock to thigh, you cannot fail to recognize the perfection within all of the imperfections that you see. The human body is equal parts artwork and machine; there is nothing else like it on the earth. It's your most important posession, the first and last that you'll ever have. It is your only real home. That experience stayed with me, which is why I have a visceral reaction whenever I see implants, trout lips and overly taut faces. I don't see them as an improvement at all, I see them as a violation of something that was once im/perfect.

I'd like to think that I'll never consider plastic surgery, but never say never. I've always hated my nose, but I can't imagine having it cut apart and waking up to a new face staring back at me in the mirror. I certainly would jump all over reconstructive surgery if I were scarred in an accident. But, back to the breast question - if I were diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy to save my life, would I choose to reconstruct? I don't know. Maybe I'd do it, to feel symmetrical and whole again, to try to regain something that the disease took from me. Or, maybe I'd just have the other breast lopped off, and celebrate my recovery by running up and down the biggest set of stairs that I could find.

Above is a photo of Jane Russell from The Outlaw, 1943.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Let them eat cupcakes!

Hello readers,

As of tomorrow at 2:15pm EST, I will be 34 years old. Happy birthday to me! I am committed to enjoying an entirely freak-free day. Tomorrow I am taking the day off, having breakfast with a friend, and going to a spa for a mud bath and a massage. I am in need of some serious pampering, so I can't wait. Later on, a few friends are going to come over to my place for tea and amazing cupcakes from Sprinkles bakery. We'll all kick back, relax and shoot the proverbial shite.

This has been a pretty intense year for Yours Truly. Work has gotten incredibly busy, I've traveled back east three times since December, and I've been sick way more than usual, even having minor surgery in March (I am fine now). It has been a lot to juggle, but the best development of my 34th year has been this blog. It has provided an outlet for me, and (I hope) a great deal of humor to others. I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments and getting feedback from people that, in all likelihood, I will never meet. The internet is an amazing thing (and an endless source of entertainment for a Gemini, a sign that's notorious for its short attention span).

My more recent posts have been pretty short, and I owe everybody a new freak story. Don't worry, I've got plenty. I look forward to the day when I'll run out, but sadly, that won't happen anytime soon. In the meantime, enjoy one of my favorite sites while I take the day off!

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'd pose for him in a minute!

Who Should Paint You: Gustav Klimt

Sensual and gorgeous, you would inspire an enchanting portrait...with just enough classic appeal to be hung in any museum!

Sadly, Austrian painter Gustav Klimt died in 1918, so my fantasy of being immortalized by a true master isn't going to happen. I have a BA in art, and am lucky enough to be able to use some of my skills to make a living, but I doubt I could ever support myself with my paintings. The works of Klimt and John Singer Sargent, two of my very favorite painters, just take my breath away, and they were both able to make quite a nice living for themselves without diluting their talents. Give yourself a zen moment today, and check out their work.

Scary McRapeRape?!


There are no words; well, "delusional" might be one. I really, really don't understand how guys can genuinely believe that this kind of behavior is "nice" or "romantic". Be sure to check out the post where he talks about walking around the lake with his roll of duct tape. Because nothing says "knight in shining armor" like shiny, silver duct tape! Personally, I swoon when a guy's reaction to my presence is a slow, angry smile.

Go, read, laugh, cry...and wonder, "what the hell was he thinking?".

Hat tip: Pandagon

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Amen, sister.

Found this while surfing the net one day...and laughed so hard, because I have been this girl (as have most women at some point). So good that I had to share. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Crowning glory?

Red hair seems to galvanize men. I cannot begin to count how many times I've been walking down the street and heard some dude call out, "Hey Red! Red!!! REEEDDDDDDDD!" to get my attention. I never hear "Hey, Blondie!!" shouted at any of the blondes I know (of course, I do live in LA; if you shouted "Hey Blondie!" here, a good 60% of the women on any given street in Hollywood would turn around). I also get all kinds of redhead jokes; "Oooh, you must be fiery, I'm not messing with you!" "Hottt blooooooded, check it and seeeee!" (yes, someone really sang that at me once). If I make a benign wiseass crack or a serious point during an argument or group discussion, I'll sometimes get, "Ooh, saucy!" or "Watch it, she's got her Irish up!" While brunettes are pegged by a lot of men as serious and solid, and blondes are unfairly pigeonholed as airheaded sex kittens, redheads pack a double punch in our culture, representing the sensual woman who can also kick ass - who will exact revenge if she is wronged. Red is war, fire, passion, blood, lust, unbridled emotion; the archetypal redhead is the wanton woman who cannot be controlled by a man. An equal combination of sexuality and strength (or the perception of it) seems to create feelings of both attraction and intimidation within a lot of men, and they love to make jokes about it. Obviously, no woman's personality is truly defined by her hair color, but it's funny to see how our culture clings to these ideas (when it comes to women in particular), and the resulting fascination that men display.

This past Saturday, I was walking down Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade with my friend Shannon; we were on our way to Café Crepe for a light dessert after hours of walking around outside on a beautiful day. The promenade was packed, and we scooted around a trio (two men, one woman) who were walking rather slowly. As I passed in front of them, one guy said to the other (over the woman's head, no less), "Oooh, I fuckin' looove redheads."

"Yeah, I'd like to grab a handful of that," the other one said. Um, grab it for what, I wonder? What activity could he so subtly be hinting at? Nice job, Smooth Operator. I'll bet you're a big hit with women who live in caves. Readers, I have to admit a propensity to display certain stereotypical redhead behaviors, and any man who thinks that he can grab 'a handful of that' without my permission will soon find himself missing a body part. Other (unprintable) sentiments were exchanged; I half expected to hear Caveman hi-five his buddy behind my back. They knew that I could hear them; I think that was the point, and yes, dear readers, it got my Irish up. The back of my head had momentarily become the ball that gets passed back and forth in the age-old game of Dudely One-Upmanship. Sociologists call this kind of behavior "homosocial"; I call it tacky, immature and lame. I turned to glare at Caveman and his cohort, who immediately shut up, embarrassed. I flipped my hair as I turned away, and walked off with a chuckle. I wanted to get a handful of a dark chocolate and banana crepe, and I'd be damned if Tweedledee and Tweedledumb were going to slow me down.

In 2004, I went to the Van Helsing premiere with my friends Patrick, Donnetta and Jordan. The afterparty was controlled chaos, with chocolate fountains, mountains of pastries, fruit, booze, hot food, hot people everywhere, celebs, music and a haunted house created especially for the occasion. The place was at capacity; body to body, people shoved past each other. Personal space was almost nonexistent. Early on, my three companions and I found ourselves sandwiched beween the chicken satay skewers and one of the bars. Patrick, ever the gentleman, volunteered to get drinks for us ladies. As he passed me my martini, he leaned down and said, "Honey, that dude totally just sniffed your hair."

"Are you kidding me? What dude?" I nearly spit out my drink. "Are you sure he sniffed me?"

"I am not kidding, he leaned down and sniffed you as he walked by." Patrick pointed him out; mid-thirties, suit, normal looking, standing with a group of friends. Well, you can dress it up in a suit, but it's still a freak, isn't it, girls?

"Girl, you got sniffed!" Patrick laughed. "Violation! It was, like, a drive-by sniffing."

Hilarious. What, did he think I'd smell like cinnamon? Maybe I look like the Herbal Essences type (nope). Maybe he had olfactophilia, which would leave me really confused, because I didn't drown myself in perfume before the party. Readers, there are moments when a woman wishes that she had eyes in the back of her head. Perhaps I should walk backwards everywhere?

Have any of my readers had bizarre experiences like this? Let's hear them!

The above painting is called "Redheads Fire," by artist Sharon Kelley.


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