Archive | July, 2012

Constant craving.

19 Jul

So, today was pretty great. Via a post on that social networking site, I inadvertently outed myself as a lesbian. Now don’t get excited; I love the ladies, but I don’t love the ladies. But I once had a friendship that was so intense that writing about it now, it reads to the untrained eye as though I am reminiscing about an ex-lover and not a former BFF. I think that says a lot about my friendship with Zora.

I met Zora while she was working the desk at my gym. She was exotic looking and had a great weave and terrific clothes. I was immediately smitten. I’m quite shy and rather insecure – shocker, I know – so making new friends (and reconnecting with old ones) can at times be an anxiety-ridden exercise in futility for me. Especially if those potential friends are black women. I’m more used to being mercilessly teased or shunned by black women than befriending them. It’s a problem dating back to puberty, if not before. I don’t know what it is about me exactly and I don’t plan on using this particular post to try to figure it out, but I’ve never rarely felt truly accepted by other black women. I’m sure many of you couch psychologists are tapping your chin and saying “Hmm. Must be something about her relationship with her mother.” Okay, sure. Parent blaming is easy and fun! Let’s just go with that for now. (Sorry, Mom.)

Anyway, I met Zora and was intrigued by her glasses-wearing, and constantly changing hairstyles, and chic clothing paired with a large, visible tattoo. After being weird for a few months, I eventually approached her and struck up a conversation that was more in-depth than the small talk she graciously initiated with me on a regular basis. My favorite musician of all time (except for maybe right now) had just released his first CD in eight years. I carried it with me everywhere I went, so sure I was that it would evaporate into the ether much like he had so many years ago. The majority of his fans are black women, so I nervously asked her if she was familiar with Maxwell while holding out my copy of the deluxe version of BLACKsummer’snight. Zora screamed and reached out for the CD as if I were presenting her with The Holy Grail and said “Am I familiar with Maxwell?!” and that was it. All of a sudden I had my first black female BFF in a very long time.

Zora and I were immediately inseparable. We spent so much time together that people assumed we were related. I guess I should have been suspicious that a grown woman – Zora was four years older than me – with a child was so willing to spend so much time with me so quickly, but I was excited by the attention and affection and acceptance and pushed any apprehensions I had about our very sudden connection from my mind. Finally, someone wanted to be with me all of the time! We worked out together, went shopping – even grocery shopping – together, ate together, slept together (no scissoring, though). If we weren’t together, she was just a phone call or a text away and she always answered. We were each other’s missing piece. No one understood me like Zora did and no one understood her like I did. I finally got to know what it was like to have a sister! Nothing could keep us apart! Well, not nothing. Zora sure did like the company of men.

During my first go at friendship with Zora, there was a new man around every month. Zora had a hard time getting rid of one before starting up with another, so there was always lots of juggling involved. It was all so exciting for me to watch. At first. I even attempted to set Zora up with an old friend of mine. It went really well, until it suddenly didn’t, and I cried with her and cried to my friend, begging him to call her again. I told him how much his rejection of Zora was hurting me. How could he do this to us? I felt responsible for her heartbreak and she went ahead and let me.

Our relationship was so intimate that we were bound to fight and hurt each other’s feelings. You always hurt the ones you love the most. Right? First, it started with her regularly snapping at me when she was in a bad mood related to yet another issue that had arisen between her and one of her admirers. Then, she’d start saying the most hurtful things to me about my own trouble with dating. And what was I guilty of? Well, I wasn’t expressing myself; Zora could never figure out what I wanted. I was aloof and mean. We’d go back and forth, screaming and crying, making up and buying each other things to show how sincere our apologies were. During an argument at a Maxwell concert sparked by a ridiculous misunderstanding, I challenged her to a fist fight. I saw Zora as every black girl who’d ever pulled my hair, said I was corny, that I wished I was white; as every black woman who made fun of my clothes, the way I spoke, the things I enjoyed and was interested in, and I had had it. It was me against every mean black female I’d ever encountered and Zora was just the unfortunate effigy. We did not come to fisticuffs, but my pre-fight trash talking was pretty bad ass, if I do say so myself. Zora would later tell the story and imply or flat-out admit that I had scared her. Hearing that little old me had scared a tattooed, tough black girl from Brooklyn was all the vindication I needed. The incident brought us even closer together. For a little while.

We broke up the first time after she left me alone with a strange man after a night of clubbing. There’s quite a bit more to the story, but the bottom line was that though nothing happened to me, I was hurt and shocked that my Zora cared so little about my safety and well-being, all so she could get her rocks off with some guy she claimed to not even like. Things got ugly, and I returned every thoughtful gift she’d ever given to me by leaving them all in a paper bag at her front door. She called me heartless and told me to stay away from her. I told her she had nothing to worry about; I never wanted to see her again.

We’d been friends for less than a year, 11 months to be exact. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t make things work with her. It was all my fault. I was too needy and too demanding. Maybe I was even jealous of the terrible men that came in and out of her life; hell, no men were coming in and out of mine. Months went by and it was Christmas time. While doing some holiday shopping, I came across one store that was very creative in their decorating by using peacock feathers. Zora loved peacock feathers. I missed my friend. There wasn’t anyone else like her. We were perfect for each other. She wanted me around. She wanted me. I picked out a blank card adorned with feathers and wrote everything I felt. I told her how sorry I was, mailed it, and waited.

She got in touch with me by text message about a week later. She missed me too. She suggested that we meet at one of our favorite restaurants. I was so nervous; what would Zora think of my natural hair? Would she notice that I’d gained weight? Should I wear one of the outfits she helped me pick out? The dinner went off without a hitch. We started out catching up like old friends, making no mention of the fact that the last time we’d spoken to each other we’d sworn to never do so again. Eventually, things turned emotional. Zora mentioned how hurt she’d been by my rejection of her. She didn’t know what she’d done to make me so angry, but vowed that we’d never let something like that happen again. I had to promise to communicate my feelings and not hold them inside. I don’t remember whether or not I made her promise me anything. Dinner ended and she wondered if I wouldn’t mind doing her a favor. Could I follow her on a 45 mile trip that evening? She had to return her boyfriend’s car to the rental place in some other town, but first had to pick up the boyfriend’s car from another, other town. It’d mean so much to her if I could. That feeling of suspicion and apprehension that I had felt way back when started to creep up, but I told it to STFU, my BFF was back. BFFs do crazy shit for each other in the middle of the night after not speaking to each other for almost a year. And so it began.

Zora wooed me like an expert. We’d take day trips that she’d carefully planned to new cities and states and they were to this day the best dates I’ve been on. She knew my other friends never did that sort of thing and she made sure to remind me. She’d show up with unexpected gifts to let me know that she’d been thinking of me. She introduced me to her boyfriend and his entire family as her best, best friend. She got on me about my weight, so we’d cook healthy meals and exercise together. She was on soul duty, too, taking me to church with her on Sunday. I was practically living at her house and she wanted me to have a key to her place. She wanted me again and I was dizzy with infatuation.

I’m sure you can see where this is going, but I didn’t. Or maybe I didn’t want to. Zora would step out for “15 minutes” to have a talk with her boyfriend and not return for three hours, leaving me alone with her dog, who was an amazing little guy, and bewildered dinner guests. She’d tell me she was coming to pick me up to go on one of our dates, so I’d make myself even more unavailable to my other friends and wait by the phone for calls that never came. She needed to borrow my laptop, my vacuum cleaner, my crock pot, my DVD player, all to cater to her demanding, finicky, and mysterious boyfriend. I was growing more angry and resentful by the day. I was a BFF scorned. And Zora was going to hear about it.

After waiting for her, yet again, having been forgotten about for hours, she called me, giddy about something the boyfriend had done or said, though the last time we spoke, which was during a rare date I was on, she was in tears about his cruel treatment of her. I decided that that was it. This was my time to communicate. I mean, I’d promised her that I would. This was for the sake of our friendship! I got out maybe half a sentence before she hung up on me.

She refused to take my calls, so I left her hysterical, enraged voice mail messages. How dare she ignore me? How dare she leave me waiting for hours, only to tell me about spending time with that guy like nothing had happened at all? Wasn’t I enough for her? We had made promises! I had made promises! I was only doing what she asked! She sent me text messages in response, telling me that I was crazy, that I was angry, that I was nasty and hateful. She couldn’t understand why I hated her so much. I responded by telling her I was done and that I wanted my shit. She threatened to leave my things out on the street. I threatened to tape her key along with her name, address, and bra size to a men’s public bathroom wall. I didn’t really; I was only creative enough to threaten to throw her belongings in the dumpster outside my building. That was about a year ago, and I haven’t seen or heard from Zora since.

I initially decided to title this post “Constant Craving” as a play on the whole being mistaken for a lesbian thing since the song to some is/was the lesbian theme song, sung by the lesbian of lesbians, k.d. lang. Reading and thinking back on my relationship with Zora, I can see why one would think I was involved in a romantic relationship with her. The gifts! The jealousy! The time spent! The feelings! The promises! The only thing we were missing was sex.

I decided to keep the title because I can acknowledge that my relationship with Zora shows that I have, ahem, a constant craving. Not for delectable fish tacos, but for companionship. For a relationship filled with understanding. For a friend that I share cultural/ethnic/racial similarities and comprehension with. For someone to desire my presence a hell of a lot. For someone to make me feel like I might be Number One in their life. For someone to make me feel wanted. For someone to want me. I don’t think my constant craving for those things makes me unusual nor does the fact that I fell so hard and fast for a person that I thought was able to offer me those things in a platonic way. They’ve never been offered to me romantically, not even as a ruse to ultimately get sex. But that’s for another post.

Zora is not to blame for our two failed attempts at friendship. She was right; I was angry a lot of the time. I was aloof and wouldn’t or couldn’t communicate. I think I was jealous, not of the men (I already told you, I’m not a lesbian), but of the fact that she got men so easily, even if at great personal cost. I was probably too demanding, but it’s hard to feel like you’re Number One and be suddenly and repeatedly demoted. But friendship can’t give you everything. Which sort of means I’m screwed if things don’t change for me very fast.

I miss Zora, I truly do. She made me feel special in a way that few other people ever have. She was creative and warm and loving and generous. We went on wonderful adventures together and even when we were just hanging out, we still had a great time. I miss her so much that it hurts. I won’t be sending her any more sparkly peacock cards, though. As much as our friendship brought out the best in each other, it seemed to bring out the worst in us in equal measure. I’m still not entirely sure why. I hope someday that I’ll feel as loved and as cherished as Zora made me feel when times were good. I’d be a lucky girl if I could feel that again in friendship and in romance. Or maybe I need to learn to not crave so much so deeply, so constantly. I’m pretty proud of myself for being able to both admit that I miss my friend and that it’s not a smart thing for us to be together. I’m not even angry at her or about the situation anymore. Not really.

Though if I’m going to be perfectly honest, it does piss me the hell off that bitch still has my crock pot. Damn. Ain’t no song for that.

Advertisements

Fame.

14 Jul

It’s only a matter of time before I end up on “Hoarders”.

I was really hoping that my network television debut would be a feature on “Intervention”, but I can barely get a group of people together to go to Red Lobster on my birthday, so I think it’s pretty unlikely that anyone I know would be willing to sit in a hotel ballroom for a week on my behalf, even if it meant that all of their complaints concerns about me would be recorded, analyzed by professionals, and then aired to millions. Not to mention, I’m sure when the A&E producers got in touch with my parents they’d say something along the lines of “Intervention? Didn’t we already do that for her?” I’d love to be a fly on the wall in my parents’ house for that telephone conversation; my mom and dad holding the cordless phone between them as they shout into the mouthpiece, because that’s how you use the speaker phone feature: for optimum connectivity, one must be over the age of 60 and scream as loudly as possible.

When I tearfully told my parents about the incident that gave this blog its name and me my justification for holding a(nother) passive-aggressive grudge, my dad said “Well honey, now you know what people think of you and what changes you need to make.” Wait, what? “Dad. It was my BIRTHDAY. It wasn’t even my fault that I was late!” I cried. “Think of it as a wake up call, Ambrosia. It’s like when loved ones gather around a troubled person and tell them about themselves in an effort to help them,” he said. “You mean like an intervention?” I grumbled. “Exactly! Except this one was accidental!”

Since I have already been there and done that when it comes to being intervened (that’s right, right?), I figure my big break will come from my inability to use a closet or a washing machine or a shelving system or a garbage can. I used to say that I was too busy being smart and important to clean, but I’ve never been very good at lying. I now realize that I just don’t care. I’m not particularly bothered by the fact that I can’t use my stove because for some reason I’ve decided it’s a great place to store my plastic ware. I don’t mind climbing over mountains of laundry to get in and out of my bedroom. I haven’t batted an eyelash at the half-empty bag of hot dog buns that has been inexplicably sitting in my living room for weeks.

This may mean that I may not make a very good subject for “Hoarders”. Those nut jobs typically care about the fact that their home is overrun with rabbits and copies of Time magazine. They want someone to help them shovel their way out from under their classic Pez dispenser collection. They think they might have had a cat at some point; won’t someone help them find Mittens? And the ones that don’t care are so toothless and/or insane and/or irrecoverably damaged by horrific trauma that they will make for great television because they will scream at the intervenors (that I made up) and the cleaning crew; they will get into fist fights with concerned family members who attempt to throw away their jars of rancid mayonnaise; they will cry hysterically when the room full of headless Barbie dolls is finally emptied. “I was SAVING those! I NEED them!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I can make an argument for holding on to some crap. I’m pretty sure that’s an unfortunate genetic predisposition. But my main problem is simply one of maturity and motivation and good decision making skills. If it’s clean my apartment or write a blog post at 5:07am, you better believe I’m writing a blog post at dawn with my contacts fused to my corneas. If it’s fold/hang the clean laundry and put it away or just shove it into an already full hamper and hide it in the dining room, I’m a shovin’ and a hidin’. I will always take the easy way out. And being a slob is one more step towards doing whatever I can to keep people away even though I am desperately, frighteningly lonely. Let’s all pretend we didn’t read that last part.

I am probably making a better case for my being on “Hoarders” than I anticipated, but that’s okay! It was kind of the point! Being featured on that program kills two birds with one stone: get my apartment cleaned and some much deserved airtime. On a television show about lunatics who live in their own filth. Okay, I may need to rethink this.

Well, since that plan has been derailed, I need a new course of action for gaining celebrity while exuding the least amount of effort. I am a clear candidate for the “Basketball Wives” franchise, as I am a woman of color who has never been married to a basketball player, but that show’s not really my speed, mostly because it involves spending a great deal of time with horrible people. Since I like to think of myself as an intellectual, I think I’m best suited for those CNN specials with titles like “Black People Are Doomed, I Tell Ya, DOOMED!” and hosted by Soledad O’Brien, the ultimate undercover Negress. I’m everything they’re looking for: a black woman without kids, a shining example that there are 30% of us not having children out-of-wedlock; a black woman with multiple degrees, so they can place the blame directly on my bourgeoisie when they talk about the many ways that black women alienate black men; a black woman who is overweight and with natural hair, so they can analyze why we won’t exercise and why we’re not scared of diabetes and why on Earth we’d decide to do that to our hair, ’cause you know it’s just another way that we’re purposefully pushing away the brothers; a black woman with a daddy, ’cause remember, we’re just as rare as a white man’s steak; and finally, my favorite and theirs, a black woman who is unmarried with no prospects.

CNN loves to remind my mother that 45% of black women have never been married, compared to 23% of white women. My being featured on their next “You Will Die Alone, But At Least Your Hair Will Look Good” special will give her such hope. Maybe the segment producer will convince me to take out my nose ring! Maybe Don Lemon will ask me out on a date (I don’t think my mother has any idea)! Maybe the CNN hair stylists will convince me to press my hair! She will ring her hands as she watches me on TV, biting her lower lip and hoping that the camera doesn’t really add 10 pounds. She will have an elaborate fantasy involving the very handsome, brown-skinned yet ethnically ambiguous Comcast repair man who came to fix the cable that one time. He will be watching, make the connection that I am her daughter, and call her up to ask for my phone number. He will be a born-again Christian, and he will like me, and I will relax my hair, and have a church wedding, and give her cinnamon-colored grandchildren, and she will finally be able to forgive CNN for not talking Larry King into staying on the air.

However, there is a critical flaw in any of these methods for gaining free cleaning and organization of my things, or attention, or a husband who works for Comcast, or an opportunity to hear Don Lemon say “Gurl, please!” over cocktails. The flaw being that a camera would be involved and personal questions asked and people interviewed. It wouldn’t be just me revealing my failures and idiosyncrasies in what I hope is a charming and quirky way in a blog. My candy apple head and hound dog eyes would be broadcast into homes across the country. My Hilary Banks-esque voice would be heard in kitchens and living rooms from here to Duluth. It wouldn’t be just me telling self-depreciating yet comical mostly true tales about my life behind the safety of a computer screen. I would be vulnerable. I don’t do vulnerable. Unless it’s completely within my control and of my own making.

My greatest fear is obtaining any sort of success that would make me known outside of my immediate circle. There are those that I’d rather not remind of my existence. The last thing I need is He Who Shall Not Be Named being reminded that he dated me and attempting to look me up for old time’s sake. I already regret that The Person That I Used To Know is aware of this version of me, and he’s someone who I kind of like. Imagine the former teachers, people who went to my elementary school, kids I used to babysit crawling out of the woodwork to offer their unsolicited tales of how they knew me when. I find the whole thing distasteful and terrifying. Even more scary is if nobody cared enough to say a thing, even if it was just to offer their surprise or lack thereof at how chubby I’d become over the years. “She always did like to eat!”

Anyway, flaws and all, I think my “Hoarders” idea is one to hang on to, even if it’s just so I can get someone to come and load the dishwasher. Since I can’t “nominate” myself, here’s the casting link. Hang on to that and be ready to use it if you hear that I’ve been showering at the YMCA. According to the many episodes I’ve seen, that’s one of the warning signs. Pictures are required as part of the application package, so I ask that you just give me ample warning before you come by to take them.

It’ll give me a chance to clean up a little around here.

Jungle Fever(ish).

12 Jul

Interracial dating makes me sad.

Not in the way you’re probably thinking. Other than a reflexive and obligatory eye roll, I couldn’t care less if black men want to date white women. Hell, if you like it, I love it. And I owe my very existence to The Swirl. Until rather recently I was pretty certain that the Honorable Mr. Ambrosia Jones was going to be a delectable piece of white chocolate. Now I’m not so certain that he won’t be imaginary.

Interracial dating makes me sad in the most literal sense: the times that I’ve liked white boys have been some of the most curled-up-in-a-ball-ugly-crying times I’ve experienced. It all started in the 4th grade. Sexy Kid Ambrosia was hidden under a pair of gigantic, red plastic frame, Coke-bottle thick glasses and a wardrobe primarily from Bradlees and Caldor. The social torment that would follow me well into adulthood had  begun. Then Todd waddled into my life. He was a year or so older because he’d stayed back a time or two. He was the only 4th grader who had boobs bigger than mine. The poor thing was also cursed with both a speech impediment and a voice so high-pitched that had I had any grasp of the concept of sexuality, I would have questioned mine for dating a boy with a magnificent pair of knockers and an impeccable falsetto.

Todd was kind to me. He held my hand on the playground and was as enthusiastic about planning our wedding as I was (weddings were regularly held on the kickball field for interested couples and usually officiated by the teachers who most craved our approval or some of the more bossy 4th grade girls). But my dreams of a Michael Jackson-themed reception by the swing set were shattered when he dumped me for London. Always beware of girls named after European cities. I have to give him credit; Todd was pretty direct about it, hysterically explaining to me that London had explained to him that he liked her better than me.

I didn’t learn my lesson and a year later found myself involved in a scandalous polygamous relationship with that bitch London and a piece of Euro-trash named Pierce. He had shoulder length brown curls and wore Ralph Lauren sweaters and trousers. We were the talk of the 5th grade up to and including our very messy and public break-up. It got so ugly that parents were called. Mine were less than amused. I still deny the baseless accusations brought against me. I was railroaded! I was only guilty of being a woman scorned! And maybe calling him the f-word.

Middle and high school were pretty uneventful, mostly because I was crippled by awkwardness until the 10th grade and absolutely determined to “prove” my “blackness”. I dated a biracial boy from Da Hood on and off from 8th grade until the middle of 9th grade and then focused my attentions on boys who had spent time in ESL and came to school smelling like Sazon. I don’t count those experiences as “interracial dating” mostly because a great deal of the time people assumed my exotic boyfriends were my brothers and/or cousins. That sure did wonders for my adolescent self-esteem. No, really! Being mistaken for Brazilian, Dominican, or Puerto Rican is the ULTIMATE compliment to pay to a teenage black girl suffering from an identity crises. It got a little prickly though when onlookers assumed my papi chulos were actually my hermanos, if that meant they were being mistaken for black. Yeah, those were some uncomfortable conversations. . .

My case of Jungle Fever returned freshman year of college. First there was Tommy, the Italian Stallion from Brooklyn. Then came Matt, the Golden Boy with the Southern drawl from Georgia. But it was Andrew who put them all to shame. He was my first real white boyfriend and The Great White Hope. Andrew looked like Jordan Catalano’s buffer, hotter, older brother. He played soccer and worked at The Gap. He was 21 and drove a sports car. I had managed to snag the white boy of white boys and was head over heels.

We dated for a tumultuous 7 months, breaking up no less than three times throughout. Being his girlfriend was like starring in some surreal Afterschool Special on race relations in America. He would say crazy things to me like “I always warned my mother I’d date a black girl someday” and affectionately referred to me as a/his bitch in front of everyone. He dragged me through his hometown introducing me to every member of his immediate and extended family so they could see “the hot black girl” he’d met at college. He was “secretly” half Syrian (it is a long, bizarre story that I simply can’t be bothered to tell) and would develop a very dark tan in the summertime. He thought it was “hilarious” to pick me up unexpectedly from my summer job at the mall wearing a Yankee fitted cap to the side, a wife beater, baggy gray sweat pants sagged to show his boxers, and Timberland boots. “Everybody probably thinks I’m a Puerto Rican!” he’d breathlessly whisper while attempting to pimp walk through the parking lot as I trailed behind him, not sure whether to be totally turned on or totally humiliated.

Our relationship ended for the last time when during an argument about something mundane like my wearing thong underwear (yes, this caused him great distress) or spending too much time with my friends that he found annoying, he declared that he had to start thinking about who he was going to marry as he was “older” and that he simply couldn’t see himself marrying someone like me. His actual words were “There’s a specific type of girl I want to marry and you just ain’t it.” I think he thought it’d be less of a blow if he broke the news to me in my first language: ebonics. Le sigh. He left a bag of his crap in my car or dorm room or something and I made a great show of returning it to him in front of his teammates. I included a print out of the lyrics to Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” amongst his things.  I had her haircut; I loved the song, but never really understood its meaning until Andrew took a dump on my heart, so it seemed like a very fitting way to bid him adieu. I was 18, it was the 90’s, and I was DEEP.

The next year found me without a serious boyfriend and doing a lot of kissing (all Latino boys again!) and then I met He Who Shall Not Be Named. HWSNBN was Puerto Rican, but looked like the love child of Chico DeBarge and R.Kelly and didn’t speak a lick of Spanish, so it was just like dating a horrible guy who hated that people assumed he was black who’s grandparents happened to be from Puerto Rico. As you can guess, it was AWESOME.

My mid-twenties found me pining over an Italian-Irish EMT from Staten Island that I’d known as a teenager who declared his “love” for me out at da club one night while his girlfriend wasn’t looking. Despite his declaration, he picked the girlfriend. I was in graduate school and living alone in a big city then and I’d drive around in my hoopdie crying to love songs on the radio. For some reason, Etta James’ “At Last” seemed to be on the radio station I listened to every morning and Luther Vandross’ “Think About You” was on every night, so I was getting it from both ends and not in the good way.

After graduating from grad school and moving back home, I reconnected with the boyfriend I’d had during senior year of high school. Paulo was a fair-skinned South American who had identified as Latino in high school but decided he was actually white as an adult (again, long and extremely stupid story) and I thought we were in love. I moved to a city without a proper Starbucks and 60% of its population living under the poverty line for him. I befriended his drunken, crazy mother; regularly babysat his poorly behaved niece and nephew FOR FREE, and slow danced with his sister (she was living as a man at the time so put your eyebrows back down) all in an effort to prove my undying love and devotion. His mother would say really terrific things to me in broken English like “I live with the black man when I come to America. He beat me all the time!” and “My son likes beautiful girls with the blonde hair and the good, good body, but I convince him to love you because you are so nice person to me!” Turns out, she was right. About the second part. I don’t know if the black man beat her all the time. I wasn’t there for that.

About three months after we’d reconnected and two months after I moved to the godforsaken place I am about to peace out from in 69 days (the seven weeks thing was a false alarm), Paulo told me that I had misunderstood him; he wasn’t interested in me romantically, mostly because he didn’t find me attractive. He was in Europe at the time, so he delivered this very important piece of information to me over the phone, after I’d signed a year lease on my apartment. Oh, and it was my birthday. Did I not mention that part? I spent a great deal of time after that alternating between hysterical crying and staring at the wall in my mostly unfurnished new home until a no-nonsense friend stormed in, dragged me to my feet, and made me go grocery shopping. Everything worked out in the end; Paulo found a (second) wife with the blonde hair and the good, good body, and I have this blog. Hooray.

So here we are in the present. The person that I used to know is of the Caucasian persuasion, so I was just a-quakin’ in my boots due to my unfortunate history. You may have noticed that I typed ‘was’. Yeah, turns out that home boy I was hoping to climb like a mighty sequoia once I redeemed myself of the epic fail that was our “reunion” after 15 some-odd years ain’t single after all. I became aware of that fact just a few hours ago and haven’t cried yet! But I’m still sad. So this post and my life have come full circle. That’s. . . something.

Don’t worry; I’m not gonna go all Anita from “West Side Story” on you. “Stick to your own kind” is mean and weird and hard to do when you don’t know any straight, chubby, black guys who like Jane Austen, Broadway musicals, and Doritos. But I have to admit that when I feel the JF coming on me now, I reach for the Tylenol and take a nap. That seems to be the safe thing to do. For now.

This is what happens when I’m supposed to be cleaning things.

6 Jul

So I was going to write this HI-LARIOUS post about being asked to be a bridesmaid five times, a flower girl once, and actually being in three weddings, with the grand finale being the epic retelling of The Worst Wedding in the History of Weddings, but I am thoroughly distressed because I have just learned that I have to move out of the apartment in which I have spent six mostly miserable years in less than seven weeks when I thought I had more like 14 (I DON’T WANT YOUR HELP OR YOUR PITY, SO DON’T YOU DARE OFFER EITHER!!!!!111!!1!1!), and I am surrounded by unwashed clothes, half-empty takeout containers, and the carcasses of my broken dreams, so instead of doing anything productive or sensible like gathering empty boxes and figuring out where that smell is coming from, I decided that I instead would write an incoherent post about things that boggle my mind about dating and friendship because I am a passive-aggressive procrastinator who can’t express herself outside of a semi-anonymous blog that only people she actually knows reads. But dammit, can I construct one hell of a run-on sentence or what?

I was having a terrible day (of mostly my own creation and imagination) and thought how lovely it would be to have a cold drink and a laugh and a hug and go see a movie with someone I like and/or care about. But I didn’t call anyone and tell them these things and invite them to do them with me. Instead, I made vague proclamations on that social networking site about how unhappy I am, and how stressed out I feel, and waited to see if anyone would come to my rescue. That has only worked for me once – thank you, My Knight in Pastel Armor – but I continue to express myself that way rather than in any way that would actually amount to anything that resembles a positive resolution. Why do I do that, you ask? Because I’ve learned that I hate being vulnerable; I despise the thought of others perceiving me as needy; I loathe having to ask people for help or tell them my needs, wants and desires; and I’d rather die alone surrounded by large print copies of Reader’s Digest and expired canned vegetables than face social rejection of any kind. So yeah, entering into any sort of relationship with me is a barrel of laughs and an absolute breeze.

I realize that my aversion to these things, along with a host of my other special qualities, makes dating a near impossibility. I mean, dating is an impossibility for me, hence the title and content of this blog. The last two men that I “successfully” dated – meaning, I managed to go on dates with these guys, nothing more – were men that I had no real interest in. I dated them both because I figured there was little reason for me not to; they had jobs and cars and places to live and seemingly normal brain function. I manufactured romantic feelings for one of them, primarily because we liked some of the same crap and after a makeover, he would have looked a lot like Drake. The potential Drake, after 5 or 6 dates, declared after my gentle prodding, that he just wasn’t interested in me “in that way” and I was devastated, even though he smelled bad and had the sex appeal of a slug, not because I truly liked him, but because he was supposed to like me. He was supposed to be a “sure thing”. Imagine if I ever had luck with a man who maybe didn’t look so good on paper, who was legitimately sexy and attractive (at least to me), who offered a little bit of “danger” and that “Oh my God, I am so going to get arrested or poop my pants” feeling (You know what feeling I mean, stop frontin’.) and it didn’t work out. My heart would liquify and leak out of my ass and that can’t be a good thing.

My general problems with processing normal human emotions also manage to seep into my friendships. I get into one-sided fights and hold secret grudges. I keep an invisible score card in my brain and people are constantly gaining and losing points and have no idea to what standard they’re being graded against. I am either unreachable or frighteningly clingy. There is very little middle ground. It is a wonder to me that I have any friends at all. And believe me, I will always wonder if I am really your friend. Man, this post is taking a dark turn. Let me try to lighten shit up a bit:

When my mind was being boggled about the differences and similarities between dating and friendship, it mostly had to do with what we deem acceptable in each of these relationships. For instance, it’s not uncommon for any platonic friend of mine to respond to my question of “Wanna hang out?” with something along the lines of “Sure! Come on over. But I haven’t showered in six days and the toilet’s broken so you’ll have to pee in a Ziploc bag. Oh, and when you get here, I’ll probably decide to shave my armpits while we watch a marathon of “Basketball Wives: L.A.” Hey, would you mind bringing over a pint of kumquat-flavored dairy-free frozen dessert? I’m on a special diet/preggers and craving/really high. And about an hour after you get here, I’m going to suddenly get super tired and probably fall asleep with my mouth open. Make sure to lock the door on your way out.” I’d be totally okay with this situation, filled with TMI and far too many bodily functions. In fact, I’d be honored. It’d mean that we’re close! Like siblings! It means you like me, you really like me! But if it’s the beginning of a dating relationship and anything like this mess comes out of a dude’s mouth that I was previously hoping to kiss (with tongues!), I will take serious pause. I will demand that The Council of Friends with Dating Experience convene via online messaging and hushed meetings in Starbucks. I will need to know what it means if a guy I like romantically is “too comfortable too soon”. I’m going over the whole thing like a forensic specialist at a crime scene and everyone I know is giving the poor guy major side-eye.

I have other platonic friends that are a bit more refined in the way they choose to socialize. I kid you not, just last week I found myself sitting on a quilt under a willow tree with a BFF as we read out loud to one another. AS WE READ OUT LOUD TO ONE ANOTHER. That’s a scene right out of a Regency England era porno. Can you imagine if I suddenly reported that I went on a date and my date wanted to read out loud to me (preferably all of Peeta’s really romantic parts from The Hunger Games saga or anything Mr. Darcy says in Pride and Prejudice) while we sat on a blanket under a motherf’ing tree?? WHAT?!? But if I’m going to be perfectly honest, if that happened, I’d assume that he was planning to murder me in the night. You see? If a friend I don’t want to hold hands with suggests that we read out loud to each other, I’m screaming out “Catching Fire or Mockingjay?!?” before they’ve completed the sentence. But if someone I want to bump uglies with asks me on a “Reading Rainbow” date, while he picks out the perfect shady spot in the park, I’m dialing 9-1-1 in my purse.

Operator: “Please state the nature of your emergency.”

Me: “I’m on a date and. . . and he wants us to. . . r-read out loud to each other. While sitting on a blanket. In the park!”

Operator: “Ma’am, stay calm. Is he carrying a picnic basket?”

Me: ‘I don’t know, I don’t know! Oh god! He brought Fifty Shades of Gray! Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! What do I do?!?”

Operator: “Ma’am, just take deep breaths and don’t make any sudden movements. Help is on the way. May God have mercy on your soul.”

My favorite dichotomy (Oh, just look it up.) between acceptable friend and date behavior has to be what happens in Da Club. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been to da club with someone I felt romantical about in years, but I know what I’d put up with in the name of “luv”. There are friends I will not go out with to anything music or dancing related because of their totally inappropriate behavior. They refuse to dance. I mean, they won’t even bop their head to the beat, sing/mouth along to the music. Nothing. I had a friend check her email on her cell phone the entire time we were out at at a club in another state. She just wanted to get out of the house, she said. If you don’t dance, hey, sucks for you, but you’re not ruining my good time anymore. I won’t go out with these people unless I can guarantee at least three other individuals who will dance are in attendance with us. I’ve learned my lesson. Friends have lots of rules for one another regarding acceptable night life behavior. “We came together, we leave together! Use the buddy system when going to the bathroom! Pretend to be my lesbian lover/overbearing male relative if a weirdo tries to hit on me!” However, if I ever get to go on a club date, it’s fine if my date won’t dance. I think it’d be kind of sexy if he sat all night, drink in hand and glowered at me while I attempted to twerk it for him. Dancing with a potential love interest is tricky. If he dances poorly, it’s awful. If he dances too well, you might stop and wonder. There’s so much potential pressure, having a date that refuses to dance would almost be a relief.

I feel like this post is going nowhere and I don’t feel all that bad about it. I warned you it would. I really wanted to use this entry as a way to complain about things I don’t like that happen all too often in friendship, seeing as friendship is the only kind of relationship I’m even sort of good at having. I wanted to mention that some of the stuff that gets passed off as “friendship” would never fly if you wanted me to live with you forever and have your babies. I wanted to write profound and heart-wrenching things about how friendship is the only relationship where unconditional like, love, and acceptance is completely taken for granted; how platonic friends are the only people on Earth expected to be totally okay with being at the bottom of the freaking social totem pole. But, I didn’t. And I won’t.

Next time I’ll be funny and coherent, I promise?

Cockblocked by God.*

4 Jul

After my grandmother died, my dad went nuts and found religion. That’s probably not how he’d tell the story, but that’s basically my interpretation of it in a nutshell. My dad is far from crazy, but he did pick a religious denomination that is a favorite of crazy people. I blamed my parents for years for all of my various eccentricities (bat shit crazy behavior), neurosis (being looney tunes), and short comings (I suck). It very recently dawned on me that I’ve been raging against the wrong machine. My issue ain’t with ma and pa, it’s with three other equally terrifying people: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I grew up in the Pentecostal church. I’d specifically name the large and powerful denomination that had a big part in shaping me into the standup individual that I am today, but a). I’m trying to stay as incognegro as possible and b). I’m pretty sure they have enough money to put out a hit on me. Let’s see; what’s the best way to describe growing up Pentecostal to people who had a normal different upbringing? I think listing the various things that were off-limits to Sexy Kid Ambrosia might give you the best glimpse of what I was dealing with:

  • I have never seen an episode of “The Smurfs” as my church called for a national boycott of the program for including “real magic spells” in the show. I just never got around to it as an adult because honestly, the show seems pretty freakin’ lame.
  • I was not allowed to have a unicorn My Little Pony action figure as unicorns are magical creatures and MAGIC IS REAL AND EVIL.
  • I was not allowed to listen to the radio or secular music in general until middle school, with a few notable exceptions.
  • I was groomed to wait until marriage to have sex, probably starting in third grade.
  • I was also groomed to expect the Second Coming of Christ, i.e., the Apocalypse, from about the same time as I was groomed to keep my legs closed. I found the idea of Jesus coming back absolutely terrifying and not comforting as I expect my parents and Sunday School teachers intended. I’d talk about it kind of a lot at school and couldn’t understand how my other friends hadn’t heard about this event that was coming to destroy. . . most of them.
  • I went Trick-or-Treating once at three-years-old (I was an angel, complete with a halo magically suspended above my head. Dad is a very talented guy.) and then again at 13 after begging and crying and explaining to my parents that they were ruining my life. What happened during those other 10 years you ask? Oh, didn’t you know? Halloween is EVIL. It is from THE DEVIL. It is DEVIL WORSHIP (Basically. It’s kind of a long story, actually.) So Halloween was off-limits for families that really loved Jesus. Instead, we dressed up as fruit or Bible characters and had “Harvest” parties in the church gym. I apologize to the few friends I was able to convince to come with me to these parties over the years. I owe you a pillow case filled with candy.
  • I never, ever believed in Santa Claus. EVER. I had to look up how to properly spell homey’s name, that’s how much I have never believed in him. Santa Claus was a pagan “secular” distraction from the True Meaning of Christmas: Jesus dying for our sins. Oh, you thought Christmas was about a sweet baby being born and Mary and angels and sheep and really mean motel owners? No, fool! EVERYTHING is about Jesus dying for our sins and don’t you forget it. Even if you are a little girl who takes things very literally, probably because you are highly intelligent, and the thought of Jesus dying makes you feel terrible and cry. (The Resurrection was of little comfort to me because it meant that yeah, Jesus was alive, but he still cryptically peaced out on everyone who ever loved him and was never seen or heard from again. . . if you’re not a good enough Christian, that is.)
  • This isn’t something that was banned or off-limits, but I feel like I ought to mention that probably ’till the age of 15ish, I was a staunch pro-life Republican. Thank God for giving me a liberal Democrat grandpa who steered me left. Get it? Oh, and my dad is totally a Democrat too, don’t let him fool you. My mom is a lamer; she’s registered as an Independent. Ugh.

So, getting back to my issue with God actively cockblocking me: it’s kind of hard to have a healthy attitude about sex when you’ve been trained to believe that having it before you convince some sucker to marry you makes the Holy Spirit cry-cringe-die a little on the inside. I wanted to be a good Christian, I truly did. Even though Sexy Kid Ambrosia had doubts, even as a sexy little kid. Even though Teenage Ambrosia burst into tears so hysterical that her mom had to pull the car over because she couldn’t understand how or why a loving God would send her BFF to hell for being gay. I tried, dammit. I tithed. I studied the Bible. I went to soul-crushing youth retreats and services. I dragged friends and boyfriends to church at every opportunity. I was very prepared to be a bride who really deserved to wear white. Until I met He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Laying out the gory details of my dealings of HWSNBN is for another post that I may never write as that junk is deeply personal, (Not like this stuff isn’t; it’s just mad different.) but here’s what you need to know: I met him when I was 19. I was going through some thangs. He is probably, in my professional opinion**, a sociopath. He was certainly an alcoholic and just abusive enough to pretty much destroy me, but not abusive enough that anybody thought anything was wrong with me dating him. He was a mastermind of f*ckery! And he convinced me to do it with him. I was 20 when he managed to break down my resolve. He was the first, last, and only man male human being I’ve had sex with. I haven’t been 20 for 12 1/2 years, so yeah.

After the smoke cleared from my “relationship” with HWSNBN, I was too damaged and fat and androgynously dressed for sex to be a factor for a long while. And then, eventually, I became somewhat less damaged (Or maybe just learned to stuff down the damage with delicious cheesecake. Have you tried the mango keylime cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory? You can eat some feelings with that bad boy, I tell ya!) and slightly less fat and let my hair grow back and started caring about looking like a girl. I declared that I was ready to date again and would give the sex thing another go with a man who was kind to me and not mentally disturbed after making him wait for 90 days (I had that idea before you did, Steve Harvey!) and was met with crickets.

I believed that my complete fail at finding anyone to do sex with was really a problem with multiple causes, but the biggest one was that I was actively planning to SIN and God HEARD me planning IN MY BRAIN. I was already pretty convinced that my awesome time with HWSNBN was divine punishment for the sin of teh sex, and here I was, DARING to not only sin AGAIN, but planning out my sin IN ADVANCE! How dare I? I went running back to church with my tail between my legs and made a loud vow of chastity to anyone who’d listen and bought way too many books on the topic of not having sex and waited for God to bless me with a husband.

As you can tell by the title of this blog, God did not magically supernaturally deliver me a husband. I figured it was because I wasn’t a good enough Christian. So I tried harder. I prayed louder and longer. I cried more tears of repentance. I spent more and more time at church. I gave more money. I volunteered more of my time. I studied the Bible like I was gonna be quizzed on that shit. Until one day, during a church membership class, I said “Fuck it.” (Not out loud! I’m not that awful! YEESH!)

I was tired. I had given up. I’d had enough. I gave church and evangelical Christianity a few more tries until I just sort of shrugged my shoulders for the last time ’round early 2011. “So Ambrosia, you mean to tell me that you threw away your faith in an almighty, omnipotent god because you couldn’t find a date/get laid/get married??” Um, sort of? It was more complicated than that, believe me. But if I’m going to be honest, that was a huge piece of why I currently identify as a super doubtful person who had been indoctrinated into a Judeo-Christian worldview from birth/semi-agnostic. I can’t call myself a Christian. That’s a lie, at least at this point in my life. I can’t say I don’t believe in a god. Life is too. . . everything to have been accidental. There had to have been some magic involved. Yeah, I said magic.

I realize how ridiculous it is to shake my fist at a god who might not even be there because I’m bummed that I can’t get a date. But the thing is, I tried so hard to believe, to do what I thought and was taught and told that he wanted me to. I wanted to give my thanks to him with a marriage that would honor him, with children that would learn to love him and hopefully, not fear him the way that I did do. And that prayer, that desire of my heart, went more than unanswered. It went unheard. I felt like God wasn’t even acknowledging that I had asked, that he was throwing other people and situations in my face to mock my plea for love. And because once you’re trained up in the way you should go, it’s hard as hell to depart from it, I still believe that because I am determined to have a loving, intimate relationship with a man who I may not be married to, God hears that shit and is all like “Nuh-uh, bitch! How many times do I have to tell you, you are not getting any booty! Not up in here. NOT UP IN HERE!”

So, now you know. I think I’m being cockblocked by God. The worst part is, I can’t just give in and let him and go join a nunnery. Not because I’m filled with doubt and disbelief, but because I’m not a goddamn Catholic! Just my rotten luck that my dad had to turn on the station that aired Fred Price‘s sermons and not the Pope’s (The Pope has televised sermons, right? If he doesn’t, what is he waiting for?) when he was grief-stricken and couldn’t sleep and searching for An Answer.

Eh. It could have been a lot worse. We could have ended up as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Man, those guys are really messed up.

*According to urbandictionary.com, the proper term for preventing a lady from having sex is called ‘Box Blocking’ or ‘Clam Jamming’, but I didn’t like either of those and the word ‘cock’ is both funny and dirty.

**I am not a medical professional, but I know crazy when I see it. I’ve worked in public libraries.