Feeling Stupid

There are times in your life when you really don’t know something and you really should and you feel stupid about it.  There are times when you think these times should mostly be in the past and you realise they’re not.

The first time I remember I was getting my nails done for my Bat mitzvah.  Yes … I know … get over it.  So I must have been 12 going on 13 although in terms of ‘girl stuff’ I was more like 5 going on 6. The stuff my girls knew about nails and hair and how to dress and do make up at that age so far surpassed my current knowledge it’s scary.  But there I was getting my nails done and the woman said ‘cut or push back’.  I said, what? She said, your cuticles, cut or pushed back?  Well, I had no idea what she was talking about but right then and there I decided I had a new rule in my life: if someone asks you something that you don’t understand and it has the option for cut in it, go for the other option.  In this case it didn’t really matter and if I recall, the push back option had its own set of pain involved but that’s not the point.  I felt stupid. I thought I’m here getting my nails done and I don’t even understand the lingo. Welcome to womahood my ass, how about we skip the torah reading and go straight to debutante school because honestly in life, knowing that stuff is going to come in a lot more handy than a bunch of words I can decipher how to pronounce but don’t know what they mean and I think, had I had that option, I would have found that would have panned out to be true.

So I had my rule #1 which morphed into other rules along the way.  For example, I was boarding a boat in a small town in Italy, my Italian being ok enough to speak but not really understand. You know the thing; you sound out very carefully how to ask for directions or a restaurant or where’s the bank and figure between hand signals and the random word you will get the idea enough to understand the answer.  So it was as I was buying a train ticket.  I could ask, very smooth, 1 way to La Magdalena, but I forgot the other basic rule of people in small towns, not usually inundated with tourists, unhappy at their job at the train ticket window are not likely to be using your dictionary level language to respond or even elucidate enough for you to infer some sort of answer. So I got a one word question back.  It went like this, “1 way ticket to the island please.” “figenhemisteria?” And a blank impatient stare, awaiting an answer. Well, when you’ve been all cool and practiced your little sentence and spit it out rapid fire like you’re a native you only get one “huh?” before it’s repeated and then you’re due to answer.  So building on my ‘cutting’ rule I added to it my ‘no’ rule.  If you don’t really understand the question and out of pride or stupidity or some combination thereof you feel bound to respond then go with ‘no’.  It’s just safer. In general I just believe it just is.

So that’s how I found myself on an overnight steamer, the sole american and nearly sole female, sleeping on the floor with the entire inducted freshman class of the Italian Naval academy training school, going over to Sardinia for cadet training. If you can picture, not a fox in the hen house, but a hen in a fox house, that kind of sums it up. I also learned the word for ‘room’, as in “would you like a room with a bed and some privacy” is camera.  I’m sure she said something longer in Italian like, would you like a to spend this night on the floor or would you like a “camera”? But I didn’t get that at the time.  So instead of looking stupid I arrived for my new job, after a night of no sleep and a neck cramp to beat the band.

This brings me to today.  I hadn’t had coffee yet so that is my excuse and I’m sticking with it, but I’m not sure that’s a good enough reason frankly.   I went to use the infamous spa certificate and decided a salt rub thing might be fun, by a professional, since I can get a massage anywhere (like my gym, not like on the subway from the groper guy standing next to me). Having been already exposed to some salt and it was pretty nice I thought in a legit setting it might be special.  So I go in, in my little spa robe,  into a room with a massage bed covered in plastic and an apparatus on the wall that looks like 3 sets of grapefruit sized headphones connected to a water pipe, in other words some kind of fancy shower. I’m instructed to put on some weird throw away thong underwear, a head band and a shower cap.

Well I understand the first 2 items, not that I care about whether or not this ridiculous excuse for underwear is going to cover anything but maybe the masseuse who rubs the bodies of 100s of people daily has prude issues. It definitely wasn’t for hygiene, the plastic on the bed took care of that and for as little as it covered visually it covered less in terms of….well…let’s just say it didn’t cover anything. The head band to keep your hair out of the way, duh, even I could figure out that. But the shower cap, this is the item that befuddles me. So I said, the shower cap now? She looks at me like yes you idiot, but only says ‘yes now’ and leaves the room so I can ‘dress’ in privacy.  So I put on the 3 items and I’m standing there thinking, ok, what’s with the shower cap? Am I going to shower first? Do I smell? Should I have showered before coming? I mean it IS 9am and I suspect most people do this after work, so who would come all clean just to get scrubbed? Do I wet up first and then she’s going to salt rub me and maybe that’s easier than just salt on dry skin? How does this work? Why am I confused? And what should I be doing? Should I actually get in the shower? As I’m running all this through my mind she opens the door, sees me standing there and says, you’re supposed to be face down on the table, and I can tell she’s a little disgusted I’m so stupid.  As I roll what she said back through my mind I’m sure she said that ‘after putting it all on get face down on the bed’ but I realise as soon as she said shower cap I got fixated on that and that was the end of listening. So I just drop my towel and get on the table and she’s turning away like, really? You were supposed to do that and be under the blanket before I got back. Not like I’m so hideous, but this bitch obviously has body issues and I’m thinking in the wrong industry. I, on the other hand, made another rule about 20 years ago.

I was giving birth to my second daughter, literally giving birth, spread eagle, pushing, blood, screaming, you know that scenario.  My other daughter’s pediatrician poked her head in and said, hi, I heard you were here. I said yup, your next patient is on the way. She said, oh good.  well, good luck, I see you’re kind of busy. I said, yeah a little, will see you in a few days and then everyone re-focused at the matter at hand.  So the rule made that day was, I’m pretty sure after chatting with people with a human being sticking half way out of your body, any modesty you had can now be let go of — and I didn’t have a lot to begin with.  It’s less of a rule than a statement of fact but it partially explains my ease at dropping a towel. And, not to mention, we’re in a massage room, not Times Square.

So after tossing aside my robe in my are you kidding underwear she says to me, have you ever done this before? Aka “are you always this stupid or did you just arrive on this planet and have no idea what a massage entails.” I said, well not a salt rub, the turkish bath incident notwithstanding, but I’ve had plenty of massages.  And here I am feeling stupid again. Feeling like, I’m failing salt-rub-101. I’m sure there are plenty of other women, come right in, lay down, put on all the little things, know how long and when to use the shower (apparently I took too long in that too. I wanted to get ALL the salt off, I mean come on!) I’m just not one of them.  I’m just never going to be, I have to reconcile with that. In this life time I am just going to flub stuff up, feel 5, even when I’m 55 and what’s worse, is I suspect those moments get MORE not less as the world changes and you can’t keep up.  I can’t even keep up with the stuff I know how to keep up with, so gosh, don’t expect me to be at the controls of the transporter beam, it’s just not a good idea.

I did have a cup of coffee on the way home and life did become a lot clearer so really leaving the house pre-coffee was the problem. That’s my new rule: except for walking the dog and only around the block, no street crossings, no interaction with the outside world until I have some caffeine and how to make a cup of coffee is something I know.


Ain’t Science Wonnerful?

I read an article the other day about a mouse whom had a human foreskin sewn onto him and they were growing hair on it.  What’s funny is the thought that I have just paid about 5,000$ to have the hair burned off my legs and I’d pay another 5,000$ to have it thickened up on my head so the thought of a mouse with a dick on his back sprouting hair must hold some irony which escapes my ability to vocalize. However I think if anyone considers it for not too long, it’s apparent the joke  looms large.  The test was to grow hair on something which normally didn’t have hair on it and I think they pretty much nailed it with the foreskin.  I don’t know, there might be some women out there who have experienced otherwise but I’m guessing they checked this one for follicles just in case.

So why in this world of perpetual hair removal, from the time you’re about 15 until the time when you run around trying to keep it on your head, is there not some equal balance in the world. For example, for you each one you remove another pops up in a place where there are already some wanted (eg you pluck an eyebrow a hair grows on your head) and in the process of elimination we would end up with hair where we wanted it. 

Or, the larger question is, what is hair really for?  There’s the heat factor. And there’s the to direct fluids, sweat etc away from the skin because I’m pretty sure my underarms don’t need warmth.  So those are two pretty basic functions of hair. Cosmetically it’s an indication of health – a good swath of healthy shiny hair is usually indicative of good health, ditto on the chompers but barring passing on good genes, that’s more cultural than genetic survival I suspect. So the pretty people with better health and good hair find mates and pass those genes on.  Ok.

But back to the sweat and warmth thing because this is what I don’t get….as you get older do you not need warmth? Do you stop sweating?  Have you not met a woman in her fifties in the throws of menopause?  Is evolution just telling you to hitch a ride on the next ice floe because you’re going to freeze to death or pollute yourself with your own body fluids anyway? If good hair equals good health is less good hair a quick stairway to heaven? I know bald people who are healthy. I think they’re healthy. If hair growing out of noses or ears is in direct proportion to hair loss on you head, it goes back to the lost-one-grow-one equation but it also goes back to what’s the purpose? Does your nose need warmth? I’ve seen people sprout it on the top of the schnoz so it’s not just inside. Maybe it’s for keeping things out. Maybe older people need more help keeping things OUT of their noses and ears.  Like sounds and smells.  That way you can’t really hear that they’re plotting to push you off onto the nearest ice floe or smell the rat poison they’re putting in you pie because when IS that inheritance going to get to them anyway?   And if the explanation for hair in your nose and ears is to keep  stuff out, then why does it grow longer, actually sticking out, which then acts as a conduit? Does that make sense? Or is it the human body is just prepping you to be sent out on that ice floe and good luck with that.  Wrap that nose hair around your neck for warmth buddy, because it’s a long way to Russia.

And what about eyebrows? Did you see Andy Rooney before he left us? I mean it was something between an upper shelf and an umbrella for shade and he definitely didn’t have them as a young man. More curious to me was, for all the stylists they must employ at CBS did not one of them say “er, um, Mr. Rooney, we need to deal with those because the users can’t see your eyes any more”?  And he’s not alone. I see older men, mostly who between their eyebrows and their elongated ears, there’s really nothing left: kind of a shiny bald orb with 2 furry arches and elephantine protrusions sticking out. And they’re usually out looking for a young wife (and don’t get me started for when they find one and actually start a family!)

What’s even curiouser is it’s the hair which keeps growing even after you’re deceased! I mean think about it. You’ve spent a good portion of your life fighting with the stuff, coloring it, plucking it, adding it, removing it, brushing it, braiding it, rubber banding it and then life stops.  Breath stops, eyes stop, muscles stop but hair …. Keeps going.  I mean, what’s with that?  Nora Ephron once said “I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.” But the jokes on her because it still goes on.  I think the upside of death is not having a mirror, frankly, but that could just be me.

So back to this mouse and his hairy dick.  On his back.  Does he know it’s there? He can’t lick it like most animals seem to be able to (sorry, human fellas – jokes on you there!) Does he know it has hair on it? Was it even a male mouse? I mean think about it! Maybe they chose a girl to make sure none of the natural hormones would interfere with whatever it was they poured on this poor thing.  Spend a moment rolling that thought around; there’s some little female rodent running around with her own dick but she can’t even access it! And it’s furry! It’s like reaching for your vibrator and not only finding out it’s been so long since you’ve used it that it’s grown mold on it but it’s just outside your reach. Every time you reach for it, it just rolls away one more inch out of reach.  It is there but not there…tantalizing but … maybe not really.  (Kind of like when you’re ready for it and you hit the ‘go’ switch and nothing happens, dead batteries.  It’s SO frustrating — um, I mean that’s what I’ve heard.)  I mean if my vibrator was covered in something soft and downy I’m not sure the tantalizing factor would be very high but then again I’m not a rat. I don’t [yet] have fur on my nose and paws and I’ve removed what I can off my hind quarters so I think we’re dealing with a different set of standards.  Slightly different anyway. 

So now does this mouse have to be concerned about trimming it so the hair doesn’t grow so long it falls into his/her eyes? Does Mini Mouse need to worry about a comb-over? What about grays? Can’t you just hear it, you see, I never wanted to grow hair on my pecker because I was afraid it would grow in gray and now what am I supposed to do? There’s Betty Beauty{TM} I suppose but really? The curtains have to match….uh….the curtains?

So now that we have a mouse with a furry appendage, or perhaps his second furry appendage, will all those guys on the online site be able to take off their baseball caps? Or do the caps stay on but the pants come down because while they seemed to have created every mohel’s nightmare it doesn’t yet prove that Mr. Clean can grow a pony tail and go join a grunge band.


A Day at the Spa

Recently a friend wanted to take me – as a fun thing – to the Turkish-Russian Baths in the east village.  It wasn’t something on my bucket list but it was kind of one of those things that I’d been wondering about since a boyfriend got us a day at a day spa – a nice one – years ago but came back a few days later with a card from the Baths. I never asked how he happened upon it.  Some things fall into the category of TMI.

First, a note about bucket lists. Do people really have a list of ‘before they kick the bucket’? and where did that expression come from anyway? Did a lot of people die milking cows? Or standing on a bucket to hang themselves?

Frankly, I don’t have a bucket list.  I’m not going to kick the bucket. That sounds sort of, oh, you keel over quietly and knock something down on the way into the great beyond. I walk into stuff or hurt myself on sharp objects on a daily basis.  It’d be nice if on my last day on earth I could just not. It seems like dying would itself fulfill the I can’t seem to get through a day without something going wrong, don’t you think?  So instead of a sort of slo-mo falling over, I have other plans.  I’m going kicking and screaming, clinging onto whom and whatever is within grasp, shouting Lawdy Don’ Cha Take Me Yet, even if I’m 105, like a tenant I have. The one with the life lease. I don’t think there’s a going kicking and screaming list and if there is it’s too long to be a cute saying anyway, so I’ve just discarded the whole concept. Soup to nut buckets.  

So I’m in the baths, back to the story, and there’s the cold dip which makes your feet cramp at the touch, I can’t even imagine where next to me the guy’s balls were, there’s the regular steam, the sauna which is hot, the even more crazy hot sauna where your fake metal earrings start to burn the skin beneath them, the aromatic steam which if you have any sense in your 5 senses, will make you nauseous after about 3 minutes and there are the massage rooms where massage and god only knows what else, goes on.

The person I was with disappeared into a massage room with a Russian guy named Ivan. 

After a dip in the pool, well that killed 3 seconds, and some steam time and some sauna time I was now 9 minutes into waiting for my buddy’s 1 hour massage to be over and wondering what to do.  So I sat down. Do I not know better by now? Walking = moving target, sitting = stool pigeon. However there was only so much walking one could do up and down a narrow hall without appearing like some psycho neutoric, so I sat.

Sure enough, a guy with long hair and a long white beard asked if I would like some salt.  I passed on the urge to ask if it came with a margarita underneath and said yes, sure.  I mean, when in Rome…. So he reaches into what looks like a feed bag hanging on the wall opposite me and hands me a handful of salt.  As promised.  I wasn’t completely sure what to do with it, as it came out of a feed bag I was afraid I might have to eat it, but figuring we were all there, walking around in just a smidge over naked, it must be meant for smearing – or schmerring as this was – after all – the lower east side.

So schmear I did and it felt good.   Thankfully he didn’t jump up and scream “what are you doing! That’s salt! You’re supposed to eat it!”  Of course it was free but not completely, because free is sometimes a relative term. I got a lecture on the ingredients, on what he did, which I can’t relate here because it wasn’t really clear. Something with music and youtube and oil and salt. As he was giving away the oil and salt I wasn’t sure how the “I make a living” fit into it but as we weren’t on one of my excellent could-you-possibly-be-my-next-life-partner dates, I didn’t really have to care.  Instead  I got the low down on every person who walked by, on how long he’d been coming there, where he lived, the life and death of the husband of the yoga person who had the body of a buff 20 year old but was obviously 60 and yes I was jealous.  I got the low down on ‘guys only’ days at the spa and who goes to those. (3 types of people – gay men {doh}, Hasidic men who don’t want to be around women {I guess also doh} and Hasidic gay men, who therein combine the best of both worlds. Why the existence of this latter category surprised me I’m not sure. But there you have it, a victim of my own stereotypes.) 

After I’d run out of salt and he’d run out of stories …. Wait…. Let me correct that.  I’m pretty sure this is a guy who had a thousand more stories so I’m going to say he just paused long enough for me to take a reprieve to wash down the Morton Girl.  When I came back he had moved into one of the saunas and I took a place on a different bench.  Different angle, different view point?  Well, a different angle anyway.

Soon enough a guy is walking by and stops to chat.  A big guy with a huge belly.  Not just a little, gee, a few too many Coors, but more like wow, is it triplets and are they due next week? This wasn’t really the disturbing part. What was interesting was his face was covered in a green schmeary mask which was dripping into his face hair under his nose and on his chin.

Once, when I worked for Club Med, I did a skit as Roseanne Roseannadanna (Gilda Radner – google it if you don’t know it) about ski instructors whose noses would run and get caught up in their beards and freeze and they would have frozen snot in their beards. It goes with the character trust me.

Well this was that guy except it wasn’t cold from skiing it was avocado goop from being metro sexual.  I have nothing against metro sexuals. If men want to spend time and money making themselves look better for women I’m all over that. God knows, if they started now and every man on the planet began doing nails and masks and trimming “the hair down there” it’d still be eons before they even begin to catch up with the hours women spend in 1 year doing all that. So that wasn’t the galling part in itself. What was amazing was large belly, unkempt beard and green drippy face mask aside, he just thought it was fine and cool to chat up a woman while looking like a character from a sitcom where you say, ‘that’s ridiculous, no one would answer the door looking like that’. I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure, even on all girls day,  no one walked around with an avocado, or other fruit/vegetable, face mask on and felt comfortable enough to chat up ANYONE of any sexual persuasion. No woman. Anywhere.  No way. But men, he was just all, hey baby, why would you not want me? Men, really, you gotta love the hubris.

It was educational. I gave him credit for being that self-confident or pity for being that oblivious or whatever that takes.  Ok not all that much credit, but some still.  After an in depth conversation about face masks I was finally liberated by the massage being over and escaped into the locker room.  

The last shocking locker room experience I had, and I might have mentioned this before because it kind of scarred me a little, was in Seattle.  I had just gone on a Brazilian wax jag, I think I was in the still leaving a ‘runway’ stage, and I went to a public pool in Seattle. Of course we got changed in the locker room and let me tell you, the contrast between my New York decorative hygiene and the never saw a razor blade nevermind a scissors hygiene, well to say the least — it was shocking.  I really had to wonder about the cultural differences on the 2 coasts.  It’s not just about Birkenstocks apparently.  Who knew?

I don’t think I’d find anyone with an avocado mask on in Seattle, but then again I wasn’t in the men’s locker room, so what do I know? I’m not sure what it is about this country that we feel that we can take food and mash it into our skin instead of eating it. I’m pretty sure there are places on this earth that if you took food and put it ON your mouth instead of IN your mouth they would look at you pretty strangely if not actually run you out of town.

For a Christmas present a friend got me a certificate to a day spa. (Are people trying to tell me something? Do I smell?) I’m debating between the carrot and sesame body buff or the elemis exotic lime and ginger salt glow.  I don’t know if I’ll come out looking any better but I’m thinking at least I won’t be hungry.

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes Knees and Toes

I forget at what age it was I read about these very thin, imagine hair width barb wire that you could have wired under your skin and it would hold everything up – everything in your face which would otherwise succumb to gravity. In actuality it sounds pretty gross but conceptually it’s genius. And I started to think, wow, if I could just wire up my falling eyelids. And then it was, maybe a longer one to my chin. A few years later is was, how about they start at my head and just run a wire down to my hips. This year it’s I wonder what it would cost to have one wire from the top of my head down to my knees and they could just tighten it every year? You see the problem?

Body issues. Come on. We all have them. I was out running today. It was hot, but not too hot. I debated taking off my shirt but there are issues.

Here’s how I see myself when I run. In the summer. Not in winter. Then, thankfully, I am clothed from tip to top, but summer, you have to go sparse.

So it starts out with 2 tooth pick legs. This isn’t self deprecation. I once had a friend exclaim “You can stand on those things!” and my own mother once said “you have legs like a chicken” so this is documentation not speculation. So they’re tooth picks with saggy knees. I’m thinking of maybe starting a line of cocktail toothpicks with body parts. Saggy knee toothpicks. Or beer belly tooth picks. I mean the possibilities are endless although you’d have to be over 47 to really get it.

Above my gams are tiny hips which somehow expelled at rate slightly faster than light speed 2 children. Not built for speed but produced it anyway. Go figure.

On top of that is the slightly muffin top waist. My waist has always been my bane and now that things are reacting to gravity the whole love handle thing has new meaning. Love handles? How about love shelves. When did that happen? What used to be a non-existant waist has fallen down a few steps resting squarely on my hips. Love handles my ass.

Oh, and speaking of my ass, I used to have a good one. I made the mistake of looking at mine today. Excuse me and when did THAT happen? First of all sagging and secondly something resembling cellulite with dimples. Are you kidding me? How come it feels so tight when I reach around to put my hands on my hips and yet in the mirror it screams holy cow old woman get thee to the nearest burka!

Above my muffin top is the remainder of a six pack. There are some abs left but only a few. Think I had a six pack, I drank most of the beer, maybe theres 2 left and I put the empties back in the box. Six pack redux but not. That’s where I’m at. A few empty Buds and 2 two which when opened are probably flat anyway.

Speaking of flat, then there’s my chest. Thankfully it’s smallness lends to not too much sagging. Unless I’m in a running bra and then there’s nothing there at all. If something doesn’t exist can a gerund be applied to it? Can a ship be sinking if there’s no ship? It begs the question.

Neck: sinewy. Beats a double chin by a hair. A chin hair. Oh. Have those too.

Brings us to the face. This is inescapable. One can easily avoid looking at one’s derierre because frankly, the twist needed to even get to that angle is painful but one’s face….even avoiding mirrors like you’re dracula, it just crops up in store windows, ponds, everywhere. And I love the terms I suppose dermatologists have come up with. Puppet lines, for the lines that appear on either side of your chin to separate the sagging jowl from the now dimpled, not sexy cleft, of your chin. Puppet lines. How about ventriloquist dummy lines, too long? Great.

There’s the hair like tusk that won’t leave your upper lip (see prior post regarding dating panic around that). The fine lines that appear over your upper lip which I’m now told are exacerbated by drinking from a bottle. You mean those ubiqitous bottles we all carry around because the body needs water? And I thought the chemicals in the container would kill me, but no, now I can worry about the lines it’s going to produce over my lip defining me as no longer part of the pepsi generation. Hopefully the plastic will kill me first.

I once heard a comedian say when you hit 40 you get laugh lines and you’re going to wonder just what the hell was so funny all that time. Me, I don’t have to wonder, just one word. Restylane. That’s all I’m going to say.

My eyes….let’s not even go there. Ok. I’m going to go there. The first sign of eye problems, not sight, that was years ago, but eye problems regarding vanity is the time you go to put on eye shadow and the skin bunches up and follows the brush. You have to go over the same area a few times to get into all the crevices. What? When did THAT happen? Since when does my skin move? Bags, crows feet, darkness, loss of something that makes you look skeletal. Boom. You wake up one morning and that’s all there. The one saving grace of failing eyesight is you don’t really see it. You can’t see your face in the morning because the mirror is more than 6 inches away. You put on makeup, you put on your glasses and WHAM! YOu look good! You can live with this delusion until the day you put on your contacts. Contacts go on BEFORE make up. Suddenly you have clarity in the mirror paint-my-face and it is NOT pretty. It’s a case against contacts if ever there was one. Ignorance actually IS bliss.

My dermatologist last time I was there mentioned my eyes were uneven. One brow lower or lid or something. Thank you. I will add that to my list. And I’m paying you for this service? Can you just remove the black thing growing from my arm and we can call it a day?

Rabbit ears. Are you familiar with rabbit ears? If you are, you’re not 20. Those little lines at the inside of your eyebrows bewteen your eyes. Rabbit ears. I keep saying it because, what, is that supposed to make them cute? Oh, you squinched your eyes once too many so bugs bunny now resides on your face? I have a friend who said I look like bugs bunny and I hated him until I realised he was 100% correct! Teeth a tad too long, goofy grin, big cheeks and now, in my 40s I finally achieved the ever missing ears. I’m so grateful.

Foreheads are the compensation for laugh lines. Frown lines. I must frown a lot because think latitude lines on a map. Why is it that the frown lines and the laugh lines don’t cancel each other out. I was pretty much as unhappy as happy as one can be in life. They should equal nada. Or actually, I was more happy than unhappy, why don’t I just have deep laugh lines and no frown lines? There should be some parity there and I would like to know who I can talk to to have that corrected.

You think I’m done, right? Got to the forehead. No my friend. There’s more. Hair. Nora Ephron once said at least when I’m dead I won’t have to worry about my hair. At least she had it til the end. Thinning hair. It’s a Samson and Deliah thing, with Deliah being the grim reaper. Slowly cutting away your strength vis-a-vis your hair. Mine is blonde thanks to my colorist, thin thanks to menopause and curly thanks to a return to my youth which is also what will land me in diapers at some point, but that’s another problem altogether. I’m still waiting for that.

So this is how I feel about myself when I’m out running. Sometimes I take off my shirt and just run in a running bra and think, what the hell. Those people with hard abs and thin waists and muscular legs are in their 20s. Or 30s. Oh, wait, she’s gotta be 60, what the …. ?

But I was out running one day and I guy was running toward me, good looking, age appropriate, giving me the eye and as we passed I smiled and he then gives me the snake tongue, gallallalaaga. Like some insane serpent trying to smell me as I go by. Did I need that? I turned and yelled, Really? Necessary? and then turned back only to trip over a rock and do the cartoon character imitation of scrambling to get back on the cliff after the dynamite blows it away. You know, flailing arms, feet running in mid air. It’s very sexy. Very dignified. This tiny stick figure grasping pathetically at nothing in mid air. I wonder why I’m single.

It was the proverbial nail in the coffin in meeting anyone while out running. At least there are no mirrors on the route, so long as I don’t fall in the reservoir.


Elucidate meaning: to throw light upon

It helps, in this story, if you’ve ever seen the poster of man’s ascent from ape. It starts out with a creature walking on its knuckles and each successive image it becomes a little more upright, going from 4 paws to knuckle dragging (I dated HIM) to arched over and then slowly up to homo erectus.  I don’t think that’s actually a term I just made it up.  Man upright.  How far off can it be?   A few years later someone added to it, showing a man slowly more and more bending over, carrying things, weighed down by modern life until finally he was hunched over a computer keyboard, much as I am now. Ha ha ha ha ha.  But the first image is what you need to bear in mind here, the guy about half way through the chain, kind of hunched over, not quite man, not quite beast.  Keep that image in mind.  It comes in handy later.

So back to what I am forced here to call reality.

I used to have an apartment which was a great place, a little garden off the master bedroom, also accessible by a life threatening set of spiral stairs off the kitchen. It was a great place for summer BBQs, dinner under the Japanese Maple, that kind of thing.   If you were hungry enough you took the challenge to descend or you had to sleep with me, most people just took their chances on the stairs.  Who can blame them?

So one night, after a particularly fine evening I cleaned up, balancing plates and glasses up and down the stairs and then happily crawled into bed. Confession: I sleep in the buff.  I’m not sure when that started, at first it was nothing but underwear and then it became not even that. I don’t really understand pajamas. We start them when we are very young and need the warmth. First the swaddling thing they make you do to babies. To make them feel like they’re still all snug and curled up in the womb.  Why? They’re not. Shouldn’t they start dealing with reality at the outset? You’re here, womb is over, stretch out a little, next time you’re confined like that will be a coffin, enjoy the ride in between.

So after that swaddling thing we pajama them to keep them warm. Those things sometimes with the feet on them. We had to learn the hard way that those little plastic bottoms on the feet so they won’t slip sure can capture any night sweating and phew! Babies can get some stinky feet. Who knew? This is the kind of thing no one tells you. Or that a little baby can be a pretty sexual creature, subconsciously of course and they can get pretty musky stinky pretty fast.  There are all these books about procedures and how tos but none of the ‘maybe you should think about this before diving into parenthood’ section.

Anyway, kids grow up with pajamas and then they get older and they keep putting on clothes to go to bed. We don’t live in a castle where there’s a log on the fire for about an hour and if the serf who’s tending your room falls asleep the room temperature will drop to colder than outside.  We don’t have canopy beds because we need to close the curtains to keep in the warmth.  We have canopy beds with little opaque lacey things hanging from the 4 posters because Pottery Barn says it looks cute in a farm house. So what’s with the clothes? Not for warmth.  You need warmth, turn up the heat. Put on another duck down quilt, make sure the flannel sheets you own have 2,000 thread count (Restoration Hardware, page 237). Clothes? What? So they can get all wrapped around you each time you toss and then some more when you turn? Those nightgowns, don’t tell me those aren’t instruments of torture.

One might say I need to gird my loins. Frankly, you should be using your loins in bed, where else do they have any other purpose? But if you have issues with modesty then maybe a t-shirt. Maybe some boxers. What’s with the Laura and Rob Petry pants and button down shirt with a pocket? A pocket? I don’t have outdoor clothes with a pocket. That’s a conspiracy against women so you’ll go out and buy bags. Pockets match automatically but bags…you need one for every color outfit. You think that’s some fashion mistake? Think again my friend.  No women’s clothes have pockets but those goofy pajamas pant suits….THOSE have a pocket. What for? To keep your loin girder in?

So it’s clear my position about night clothes. I sleep in the buff.

On this particular night, as it was summer especially, I crawled into bed, heavy sigh of being finished and after laying there a bit realized I had forgotten to turn off the gas. Not the flame, but I’d left the gas valve open. New York is one of those tricky places about grills.  While you can have a coal grill, you know the kind where if you threw the hot coals onto the grass in the park it’d go up in flames and good bye Central Park. That’s ok. Also you can have a gas grill, but not the gas.  You’re not allowed to buy propane in NYC nor are you supposed to bring it in a canister over any of the bridges or through any of the tunnels.  It’s like pot. You can have it, you just aren’t allowed to buy it or grow it. If you can figure out that then you must not be too stoned. Me, I’m a gas smuggler. I’ll go fill a tank and then throw a blanket over it, like some kind of illegal immigrant hiding in the trunk of my car (no, I’ve never done that but frankly I don’t have a problem with that if genital mutilation is at stake) and you pray, please don’t let today be the day I get rear ended.

So an open valve doesn’t mean another premature trip to the hardware store to refill the tank, it’s an entire death defying procedure to ensure next time you light up the grill for 10 hungry friends it doesn’t go sputter sputter, who knows the number to Rays Pizza?

So lying in bed I thought, shit, go turn off the valve. I’ve already probably lost 15 hamburgers worth of gas. But it was 2am and my clothes were already neatly put away..…..that’s a lie. They were strewn in post BBQ exhaustion all over the floor but equally hard to reassemble. I thought, who cares, it’s the middle of the night, the grill is right outside my door, I’ll just reach my hand out and turn off the gas. So I opened the door and the grill was just outside. Just outside my reach.  But I figured, so what, I’ll take one step outside and give it a quick turn. Who’s going to see? It’s 2am, pitch dark out, what’s the difference. So I took a step outside, kind of hunched over in the ready position to reach, grab, turn, withdraw and BAM!!!! I forgot! Motion sensors on spotlights in the back yard for protection.  There I am, butt naked, Neanderthal like (refer to opening paragraph), hair falling all over the place (that’s any given moment on any given day) lit up like Christmas, or the nightmare on Elm St, depending on your perspective. Was I surprised? After the first 2 second shock, not really. After all, this is me we’re talking about. I have come to expect these things.

I heard the next day the old man across the alley had dropped dead in the middle of the night while crossing his living room to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I assume he glanced out the window, just as one does while crossing a room and was shocked into eternity by this Altered States type creature outside his window. Even New Yorkers have their shock value limits.

Ok. Another confession

I made up the part about the old man. It just seemed like a fitting ending. I’m sure the old man across the way is just fine. I know the old lady upstairs is.

Me, I still sleep in the buff but my new garden has no motion detectors. Safer for all concerned.

Shifting Gears

I’m taking a dating hiatus.  I can explain why later when the mystery is solved but in the meantime I’m just going to rant and rave a little for a sanity sake. Sanity being a relative term.  So here goes: 

First off, I want to apologize to the people from Kansas. I don’t actually know anyone from Kansas, nor have I ever been to Kansas. I’m not even sure exactly where it is except left of NJ and right of California.  I’m one of those people whose brains are like the old New Yorker cover where there’s a map of the world and you can see New York as far as 12th Avenue and then there the Hudson and New Jersey, then some gray and there’s Chicago, a little more green and there’s LA over there somewhere .  remaining is Texas in the south and Florida is where your parents live but in general the rest is kind of green prairies and maybe some mountains where people ski and the Mississippi otherwise …. There’s Europe and Asia. So While  know Kansas is in the middle there it represents for me a place from which people come, but not many people go to and it therefore represents the idle of America, perhaps even middle America but it may not be at all like that. In fact, I think I once read they have good barb-b-cue but that might have been another state in the middle that you wouldn’t suspect as having good bar-b-cue but there you go. Surprises all around. So in short, any derogatory references I make about Kansas aren’t really about Kansas it’s about average people who come from somewhere other than the 3 states you find on the New Yorker cover and average minds and average thoughts so, again, my apologies to Kansas. I’m sure despite being in the middle you’re not average at all.  Just in the middle. It’s like in school you have to learn the difference between the average and the mean and 30 years later you’re still not sure what it is. Middle America – same thing.

I live near Central Park. Central Park is a great place, a haven really in the madcap bedlam of New York. Someone told me recently it was the most visited park in the world, or maybe it was the United States, I don’t remember because either statistic seemed improbable. More than the Grand Canyon? More than the park with the Presidents heads? Of course, these parks are largely closed in the winter and Central Park seems to have an endless stream of visitors but I wanted to know who was counting. There’s no admission fee or turnstile to get in or out and did that count the people who lived here because I walk my dog 4 times a day in the park and if that counts as a unique visit, or a visit at all really, then the numbers can’t possibly be right. So was that aliens, as in tourists, visiting or was that just foot traffic in general because I think if you count foot traffic then you have to count the herds which move through the great western parks because they’re like residents who create daily foot traffic too and if you’re going to measure apples you can’t throw also in oranges on one end and not the other.

In any event the herds on the northern plains are probably at least as intelligent as some of the foot traffic in Central Park and there’s a reason I say this. Apart from having my dog fertilize the park on a regular basis, I use it for pleasure. I run or ride my bike except the latter isn’t always so pleasurable. The park, see above, is a pretty busy place on a nice day no matter how you count the foot traffic in it and while most New Yorkers are used to having people around you can therefore count on them to be relatively aware of people around them and the human herds as they move. If New Yorkers aren’t moving aside for you or seem to be aware of you it’s not because they’re not aware it’s because they are ignoring you because they don’t feel like it, or are having a bad day, or had a screaming 2 year old on the subway for the 40 minute ride from Brooklyn to Central Park and they just don’t feel like accommodating you or anyone else any more, they’ve just had it.  However, there’s a look of someone studiously ignoring you, it’s a cross between daze and slightly squinched eyes and if you say EXCUSE ME loud enough or enough times they will get it and step aside or move or growl but move anyway. Most times. Visitors however just haven’t seem to have left the ‘ I’m the only person on the planet’ mindset at home and the amount of oblivion they bring with them is staggering.  Imagine, it’s a sunny day, you’re on your bicycle and someone starts to step off the curb directly into your path coming downhill and they haven’t looked. They have just stepped off the curb and decided to cross despite the fact that bicycles are whishing by them with the sound of a flock of bees, yet they just continue to cross despite the fact that you’re yelling, Heads Up, or Coming Through or whatever it is you normally say to normal people who would normally at least pick up their heads to see what the commotion is about. But these people are in a ‘park’ so the thought of it doesn’t cross their minds. However, I think to myself, they must have curbs and streets IN KANSAS so don’t they know to look before they cross streets there? I mean they HAVE cars in Kansas, you can tell they do because most people who come from communities where there are cars are somewhat over weight from going from car to restaurant to car to fridge to car to mall to Applebees to bed, as opposed to New Yorkers who run for subways, jog for  buses and do the 2-step to catch a revolving door before the next rotation (which you don’t have to think too long about to realise is completely insane) and are therefore usually in pretty good shape.  So when you see these tourists not look to cross a street, albeit a park street, it just makes you wonder. 

So I don’t bike on weekends. I run. Now I have broken bones all over my body so I was told – rather threatened – by a physical therapist that if I ever ran on pavement again they would hunt me down and re-break everything they had fixed so in New York the challenge is to find dirt. Of course, around the reservoir there’s a lovely little narrow dirt path and back in the days when the city was a scary place and no one went in Central Park north of 72nd Street, the reservoir was a great empty path to run around in daylight. Now that the city is wonderful and safe it has become a tourist haven for people to stroll around and take pictures of ducks (because ducks in water is something you really can’t see elsewhere) and generally meander. It’s a nice place. So long as you’re not trying to get any real exercise. The problem with running around the reservoir is that other visiting people walk 3 abreast around it, or if you’re from Kansas 2 abreast is usually all that can fit, but still it takes up the width of the lane because it IS a very narrow lane. Granted. You have flown from Kansas or Ohio or South Dakota to come to the city and god knows your tourist dollars help keep down my property taxes (which keep rising so one has to assume less so) so we do want you to have a good time here and after all, coming from the middle of the country to a large city what you really need to see is grass and water because that’s the best of what we have to offer here in the big apple and lord knows you can’t see that where you come from. But when someone yells from behind you “on your left” I’m pretty sure that means “I am on your left, you should step to the right”, not “go to your left because I didn’t say ‘go’ I said ‘on’. Even in Kansas they know the difference in prepositions and even in Kansas people play sports and on your left means a man on your left, throw the ball here. Or I am coming down the ski slope on your left or a car honking from the left means I am on your left, you should stay where you are. So it always befuddles me that when running around the park and passing people who are leisurely strolling around looking at ducks in the water that when you say “on your left” they consistently step directly into your path, onto their left creating the inevitable crash. And might I add when you weigh 107 pounds and crash into someone who’s got the heft of a light truck, well, I don’t think I need to elucidate who ends up on their ass.

The conclusion I have come to is this: I think since New York is so safe these days the closest thing they can come to being mugged is being crashed into by a person in jogging clothes, since muggers are always described as being “last seen in a dark jogging outfit” (makes sense, easier to run away in) and no one wants to go home without a being mugged in New York story so they create one for themselves to tell their friends at home. In Kansas.


Forethought or Foreplay?

Women, because they discuss everything to death and back again (see Dave Barry “She Drives for a Relationship : “The next day [she] calls all her best friends and talks about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail they analyze everything she said and everything he said, considering every possible ramification. They continue to discuss this subject off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions.”) we assume men do too. But they don’t. Men are not manipulative, not because they’re such
altruistic creatures they just can’t adhere to that much planning or forethought.

I’ve had this experience with more than one guy, and this was substantiated by not only friends’ experiences but an article in the Times and if that’s not validation I don’t know what is. Here’s how it goes: They meet you, they get excited. Lots of texts daily. Date follows date with phone calls and more dates. You get to THAT date. And then you get there again and again a few times. Then they get busy. Then the daily texts stop and there’s a vague
mention of something this weekend. Then a family member has a forgotten birthday that weekend and the texts stop. It all stops. And when you say, “hey, where’d you go” there’s the inevitable, I don’t think I can get into a relationship at this time. I’m having money/work/kid/time issues. You’re not the one for me. I didn’t mean to mislead you. You seem like you want something more (because you returned MY enthusiasm with YOUR enthusiasm but because you’re a woman YOUR enthusiasm must mean you want to tie me down.) And I think, in general, they DON’T mean to mislead and they CERTAINLY don’t want to be a bad guy they just didn’t think it through beforehand.

There are 2 things are work here.

One I call it the fade away jump shot syndrome. Dribble dribble dribble run run dribble dribble, down the court, set the shot, shoot, SCORE, fade away.

This from Wikipedia:
“A fadeaway jump shot taken while jumping backwards. The goal is to create space between the shooter and the defender, making it much harder to block. However, this benefit comes with a drawback. The shooter must have very good accuracy in a relatively short amount of time. The naturally lower shooting percentage and inability of the shooter to be able to get his own rebound lead many to believe it is one of the worst shots in the game to take. However, once mastered, it is one of the hardest for defenders to block.”

I think that sums it up.

The other factor is it’s part of the guy genetic programming thing; he sees the mastodon, he pursues the mastodon, he conquers the mastodon. Family has mastodon burgers for the week. But that doesn’t keep it from being annoying in the day and age of D’Agostino’s supermarkets. It’s disappointing and each time you fall for it you ask yourself, did I really think this guy was going to be different?

Ok, so far, sob story. I’m not about sob stories, so you know this is going somewhere.

I once met a guy …… no kidding.

I didn’t think this guy was prodding or poking for information until later, in retrospect, I think this one time was actually a man with forethought; one who had a plan. You decide.

I’m having dinner with a guy off the internet. Shocking, I know. First date. It’s going ok and start trading dating stories a little. Harmless fun, you know. He relates this story about a woman friend he has, she’s dating a guy who’s pretty high up in a large company. They’re going out for a few years, around 2 or so and they’ve travelled and been together a lot and she falls in love with this guy and they seem great. Gets to an evening when she’s pretty
sure he’s going to pop the question, I don’t know how she knows in advance. I thought my boyfriend turned husband turned ex was going to pop the question a few times before he did and was never right, but let’s just say she’s more intuitive than I was.

So she gets to his place, candles on the table, flowers, romance in cutlery and at one point during dinner he says, I have something important to ask you but first I want to tell you something because it got in the way of my first marriage and I don’t want to do that again. Ok, little bells and a few red flags go up but what can it be, she knows this guy pretty well. Well enough to want to marry. But ok, what is it? He says, I’m going to show you. He
disappears into the bedroom ….. STOP.

She doesn’t get any demerits for now seeing what was coming because you think you know where this is going but trust me, you don’t.

He comes back out dressed in a diaper and with baby stuff. He says I have a baby fetish or obsession or however you explain that. Now a little mothering can be cute and breast feeding could even be sexy if you spin it in the right direction but he’s talking being in a diaper, using a diaper, being cleaned up from a diaper, and that, my friends, is pretty hard to spin in any way shape or form. I mean that’s what your 90s are for, do we really need to go there in our 50s?

So she’s not so much disgusted as angry not at the broken engagement-to-be, not at the fact that he has a festish. Rather what gets her is ‘You wasted TWO FUCKING YEARS OF MY LIFE!!!’ I mean in your 20s you meet a guy, you date for 2 years it doesn’t work out, so what, now you’re, what, maybe 25? Two years have passed, move on. You meet a guy when you’re 49, you date for 2 years now you’re 51. A portion of your remaining days have passed – do you not know how valuable that is! Are you kidding me?

I believe it’d be accurate to surmise, they never got to dessert.

I heard this story. I laughed. I made the appropriate Oh My God really comments because, OMG Really? plus he was telling me the story in the spirit of Can you believe this guy?

But here’s where the reflection came in. You know the old “I have a friend…” line. What if this was HIS story? I mean there’s the possibility I could have said “Well that’s not so bad, what’s a little indulgence?” We could be married by now. Could he have been that cagey to set it up, scope out my reaction? I never did hear from him again. It sets one thinking. At least he spared me 2 years of my life and a closet full of Depends. I’m sure I’ll get to the latter eventually but for now, I’ll settle for basketball.