Tag Archives: awkward

In which I have a meltdown in the middle of a Red Robin.

19 Dec

YummmaaarRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!! Source

If only I had just eaten the well-done burger.

Let me say this now: whichever one of you finds my body – oh, who am I kidding? When the neighbors complain about the smell and a rep from the condo board (yeah, I finally moved in to my grandpa’s old place, whoopee) has a maintenance man break down my door and finds me a.) naked and dead on the stairs, having fallen to my death because I put off getting a runner; b.) naked and dead in one of the upstairs bathrooms, having slipped to death on one of the many loose tiles that I can’t yet afford to replace; or c.) fully clothed and dead, having finally followed through on something in my miserable life, ending it all by my own hopefully exquisitely manicured hand, please see to it that my tombstone reads as follows:

Ambrosia Prudence Jones

19somethin’somethin’-20somethin’somethin’

“If only I had. . . “

Bury me in something chic, black, and tastefully (think Beyonce tasteful, not Jackie O tasteful) sequined. DO NOT let my mother make any decisions about my hair or makeup. Find a Fabulous Gay to do that. I want flowers, flowers, and more flowers, and completely inappropriate music at my funeral. The women in attendance should be wearing hats and heels, a la American Horror Story: Coven.  Send them away if they aren’t.

Enough about my funeral plans. And look, I get that it’s. . . macabre that I have a rough sketch of funeral plans at my age, but in the four months since we last met, dear reader, life has handed me no bright moment that has led me to plan, even prematurely, anything other than my eventual demise. It is the only thing I can count on happening. There are, as always, no men in my life, and I sadly have yet to discover or develop a taste for women. Though if I did, I’m sure I’d find that things would be just as dismal on the dating front.

Remember that whole thing about my probably not being able to have kids? Um, yeah, so I couldn’t get pregnant if I had sex with Shawty Lo. Or Kevin Federline, who may be more immediately familiar to white some readers. I am at the moment infertile, though I’m not supposed to use the term infertile. I was told in my sort of support group thing that I sometimes attend that we’re not to ever say we’re infertile until the doctors have taken away our uteri. We’re “reproductively  challenged” or some such nonsense. I have a giant fibroid inside my uterus AND a super fun thing called PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Not only can I not find a human male to have sex with me that isn’t homeless and/or over the age of 50, if I did and wanted to have a baby, chances are I wouldn’t ovulate. If I somehow did ovulate, there is no where for the baby egg thingamajig (yay, science) to go because my whole mother oven is blocked. Surgery is extremely risky, with hysterectomy being an unfortunate possible side effect. If the surgery was successful, the surgeons have no way of guaranteeing that I’d be left with enough healthy uterine tissue to successfully carry a pregnancy to term, in the event I were to ever meet a man and then, of course, ovulate. It’s a supremely jacked up Circle of Life. Despair and hope indeed.

For a number of weeks now, I’ve been getting shot up with a drug I won’t name in an effort to maintain one last sliver of privacy since I thought it was a FANTASTIC idea to post selfies (like three; I’m in my thirties and not that particular brand of ridiculous or beautiful) under this nom de plume on fucking tumblr in the hopes that someone, anyone (hopefully with a nice face and penis) would tell me I was beautiful and not a monstrosity of epic proportions. The drug is supposed to make me temporarily menopausal which is in turn supposed to shrink the fibroids and Jesus Christ I bet you’re all wondering what the hell my uterus has to do with Red Robin. I’m getting there, I swear, I’m getting there. This is what happens when I don’t write for four months. Sorry.

I’m not so sure about the menopausal part, considering the fact that I’ve been. . . um. . . bleeding (sorry, I know, so sorry) for almost two months, and the shrinking isn’t happening at a rate that my doctor is pleased with. What I’m certain of is the drug is causing me to feel sadder and angrier and far more emotionally raw than usual AND NOW WE’RE FINALLY GETTING TO THE TITLE OF THE POST I ALWAYS GET THERE WE MIGHT HAVE A LAYOVER IN DALLAS BUT WE ALWAYS GET TO OUR DESTINATION. And I’d like to think it’s because of my general unhappiness compounded by the goddamn holidays and the cold and the knowledge that I may never be able to have children and the ongoing pain and discomfort and blood and mood swings and loneliness and the unshakable feeling that I don’t really matter to anyone at the medical practice because I’m not there for IVF or egg extractions and the feeling that I don’t really matter to anyone at all anywhere and the worry that men can smell my defect on me and that’s why they stay away, between the no babies and the sociopath ex, I am Damaged Goods and now I may have lost my new friends all because of a burger.

We waited 29 minutes for someone to take our order. We watched the people next to us get served their meal, eat their meal, and get their check before one of my friends got up to find out what the heck was going on. They, the people at the next table, even asked us if anyone had come to take our drink order, and they were literally a middle school couple. They could not have been older than 14 years old and they knew things were bad. The hostess was kind enough to take our drink order and serve  us before a shiftless manchild came to take our food order. Here’s where things went downhill: I ordered guacamole bacon burger cooked “a little bit pink”, following Red Robin’s ordering instructions. I got an impeccably dressed hockey puck. I took two bites and decided I couldn’t enjoy the gristly meat husk masquerading as hamburger and waited 10 minutes or so for The Dude to wander back to our section so I could reluctantly send back my meal. He never came, but the on top of it and super apologetic hostess did.

At some point between my waiting to receive the meal I’d ordered in the first place and my eventual meltdown, The Dude appeared and attempted to give us our check. We all sort of looked at him as if he were insane; was he even remotely aware of our kind of shitty experience? Did he think that maybe we wanted that big ass ice cream pie crime against humanity that they serve, because um, yeah, we did? We  kindly mentioned that we wanted to order dessert; “Uhhh, I’m pretty sure we’re like, closed though” he replied. I think it was here that I lost it, but didn’t realize that I’d lost it. Everything happened so fast, like when a perfectly gently boiling pot all of sudden loses its ever loving shit and starts to barf all over the stove. That’s how it was with me. I didn’t even have a chance to turn down the flame or grab a lid or scream at my mom to do something while I played “Candy Crush Saga” in the bathroom.

If the kitchen was closed, what about my burger? I didn’t say this; I didn’t say anything. I just stared at him, at the neon “YUMMM” on the wall, at nothing in particular. My friends went from fierce warriors against dining injustice to sniveling diners worried about being nice to terrible service people. “Oh, you’re closed? Oh my god. We’re so sorry. Never mind. No dessert for us. Just the check.”

“No, wait. Why don’t you check to make sure that the kitchen is in fact closed. You know, since I’m waiting for my dinner and all.” I tried to say it kindly, but I was hungry and tired and annoyed and I hate people speaking and apologizing for me, and that’s what my friends were doing. Simultaneously, my friends said the following: “Oh my god, I feel so bad!” “Now I feel like such an asshole!” and that’s when I saw red. You feel like an asshole because they fucked up my food, made us wait more than 30 minutes before they even took our order, and I’d, no, we’d like to simply order dessert???? Moments later, the hostess came over to assure me that my burger was on its way out and began to loudly apologize. And wouldn’t stop apologizing. She offered dessert. Free dessert. All the dessert. To get her manager. To do my taxes. Find me a husband. Help me unpack. All the while, my friends are turning her down; her efforts are unnecessary because they’re fine. The restaurant is closed or going to close or something. Even though we’re surrounded by full tables. I am fucking fuming. It’s no longer about burgers. It’s about principle and fairness and me having a voice and getting what the hell I asked for for once.

So I snapped.

I took off my glasses (bad sign) and I stopped smiling and doing that stupid “no, it’s not you, it’s me, and it’s fine” bullshit that women feel they’re supposed to do when trying to get a service that they are paying for and it’s going wrong and I said in a voice that scared myself “What I want is the meal I ordered the way I ordered it. It’s not your fault. You’re the hostess. Thank you for trying. It should be the waiter doing all of this. But now my friends care more about the fact that you might be closed than your trying to make this right, so please, just get me my food so I can eat it and they can stop feeling like assholes.”

My friends got mad at me, but said they weren’t. I was mad at them and said I was. One of them wouldn’t speak to or look at me for the rest of the night and while the other made a big show of hugging it out with me afterwards, she stormed off to her car. So, I guess that’s done. A perfectly nice evening was fucked up because I couldn’t just shut up and eat burned meat. But I feel like my entire life is nothing but shutting up and eating burnt meat I didn’t order, a terrible analogy, I know.

Was I out of line? I don’t think so? I don’t even know. Am I just one big hormonal mess, incapable of any healthy, normal human relationships, destined to live and die bitter and alone? I think that’s pretty fucking clear. I wanted it to also be clear that in the four months since I last checked in with ya’ll, the only growth that’s occurred has been in my uterus. 

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I’m full of shit.

7 Aug

The more polite, scholarly way to say that is there is a great disconnect between what I say I want and what I actually want.

I suppose I’ve always been that way. I desperately wanted siblings or for there to at least be children that lived in my neighborhood when I was growing up, but if that happened, then those other kids wouldn’t let me play “Orphanage-World War II Rescue-Glitzy Musical-Dramatic Death Scene-British Street Urchin-Let’s See if We Can Catch a Frog We’re Too Scared to Actually Touch”. So maybe it was better that I spent a lot of my time alone because I got to do whatever I wanted.

Now I’m an adult female type person that says she really, really wants to catch the eye of a man that is a suitable substitute for the rapper Drake. There is a part of me much larger than I’d like to admit that thinks I might actually have a chance at catching the actual Drake’s eye and whatever STI he may or may not be carrying when I attend his concert in October. I’ll be in the seventh row, I have a vagina, big boobs, a butt that is/looks big depending on the outfit I’m wearing, an okay face (if you like Bruno Mars), and Rihanna-ish hair. I seem to meet his general criteria.

But the thing is, if I’m to believe Black urban gossip blogs and Instagram and twitter and tumblr and the amount of times I’ve been pushed out of the way in nightclubs, I don’t actually want Drake or any guy who thinks he’s anything like him. If I’m to pay attention to the discomfort I feel when I watch twerk videos on YouTube or try on bodycon dresses or wear lots of make-up or try to take selfies or pretend I care about designer shoes and handbags, I don’t actually want Drake or any guy who thinks he’s anything like him.

I set an alarm to remind myself to watch the televised announcement of the 12th Doctor on BBC America. I’m upset that I still haven’t been able to get my library card since moving, but relieved that my voter registration was taken care of. My favorite article of clothing in the whole wide world is the cardigan; I was going to wear what I think is a sexy dress to the concert, but I was thinking that maybe I’d wear what I wore to work today because I felt cute and sexy in it: a cropped cardigan, baby-doll top, and skinny jeans. I walked out of a top designer outlet in disgust at the ridiculous prices. I have no business setting my sights on a rapper.

I feel like if I were a better, more exciting, more normal Black woman, I’d be sexy and fashionable and good at taking my own picture and then I’d have a sexy, fashionable boyfriend and have sex and be normal and wouldn’t have to have a blog or care so much about things and I’d finally lose weight and be beautiful again. The end. I feel like my life was very much headed in that direction many years ago. If I’d stayed on that path I’d maybe be a popular Instagram “model” and figure out how to take those pictures where you stand to the side to show off your plump ass and how flat your stomach is and pout your lips just so and get, like, 1,000 ‘likes’. But instead I got fat and depressed and didn’t have a choice but to work on my intellect, but I’m lazy and not good at math or science so I only got so far.

My problem is I still want what 19 year-old beautiful, thin, popular Ambrosia was entitled to in a man. I’m afraid of ending up with what 33 year-old uglyish, fat, lonely Ambrosia deserves, which is apparently nothing, or some tragic Al Roker/Wayne Brady hybrid. I want sex and excitement and danger and also thoughtfulness and stability and a face I think is so handsome and biceps that are strong and a belly that is smooth and cute and a booty and intelligence and so much laughing.

I’m just really terrified of settling for the first nice man that takes me on a date. It’s back to that whole childhood want again; I desperately want to be loved and desired, but if it’s by the wrong guy that would be so terrible. So I set my sights on an unobtainable celebrity and focus myopically only on meeting 6′ tall Black men of a certain complexion with facial features that have to be just so in order to avoid dealing with my overwhelming fear of either ending up alone or with some Nice Guy that I’m not attracted to, don’t love, but that there isn’t anything actually wrong with and TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

I know that this post was all over the place and perhaps poorly written and awfully hard to follow, but I needed to attempt to get these thoughts and feelings out. And now I have. So I am a little less full of shit than I was before.

So, I dated a guy who looked exactly like Drake.

7 May

Well, to be clear, he looked exactly like this version of Drake:

image

Only his hair was slightly worse and he had a gap betwixt his front teeth and was 34 years-old. Yes, I dated a grown-ass man who looked like this.

I had hopes that I would make my Unfortunate Drake fall in love with me and then convince him to cut his hair and change his wardrobe and take a shower and fix his teeth and get contacts and basically become a totally different person. I now realize that this was evil and nasty and horrid of me, but I was, in a fucked up way, trying to help him.

I would show him pictures of Drake and tell him that he favored him in the hopes that one day he’d look at me with tears in his eyes and say “I want to go to there.” I’d know what he’d mean and I’d take his hand and lead him to the shower and then to the mall and then to the orthodontist and then the barber shop and I’d have my very own Drake and be in love and ignore the fact that Unfortunate Drake and I had almost no chemistry and that he was kind of gross.

This did not happen, of course. Instead we went on six awkward dates before he told me that he wasn’t interested in me romantically. BURN.

I mention all of this because this picture of Drake

image

just came to my attention and at first I laughed because he’s just so awkward with his mouth open and his derp eyes and his little elbows. And then I got sad because oh my god, he looks SO MUCH like Unfortunate Drake here and I was reminded that I could not keep the interest of a 34 year-old virgin who was heavily involved in Star Wars cosplay and creative anachronism.

So thanks a lot, Aubrey, for totally ruining my Tuesday afternoon by posing for candid photos with your mouth open and somehow accentuating the fact that your arms seem to be too long for your body which sadly only makes me that much more attracted to you.

Asshole.

For Yomoba.

Eggs in one basket.

20 Mar

It was SUPER weird seeing the wonderful Joy Nash in the opening. . . fat joke. . . on “The Mindy Project” this week. I love her, both of the hers, actually, but there was so much about the scene and the “humor” in it that made me want to punch my thin mom more than I usually do.

ANYHOODLE, it’s been a while, huh? I’ve been crazy depressed and junk, so while I had a ton of HILARIOUS posts floating around my brain, I couldn’t muster up the energy to write them in between binge eating, sleeping, and not sleeping. One of the things I’ve come to love about having depression is the constant thinking that accompanies the weeping and screaming at loved ones and staunch belief that life is a cruel joke punctuated by broken dreams and interactions with terrible people. I’ve thought a lot about the stuff that’s happened recently that I didn’t believe would ever actually happen, so I figured I’d write about it passive-aggressively, semi-anonymously, in list form, on the Internet. And awaaaay weee gooo:

Things I Didn’t Believe Would Happen But Ended Up Happening (non-exhaustive list):

  • That a friendship with a decade younger performer-type person that was also a work subordinate would not only end, but end badly. Note to self: the phrases “We have so much in common!” and “We are going to be such dear friends!” will foreshadow an ugly turn of events, particularly when uttered by those that pretend for a living.
  • That I’d be knocking on the door of 300lbs. Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating A TID, but I am certainly running late on my way to its house.
  • That my friends would rally around an asshole who thought blackface (yup, still not over that) was a great idea, subsequently shunning me, a person with YEAR-ROUND blackface. (Also, I left this part out originally because I’m a sucker who thought this would all work out much differently and didn’t want to be “too mean”, but that dickass had the audacity to compare his tasteless, thoughtless, inherently racist BULLSHIT to Sir Ben Kingsley playing “Ghandi”. God, it feels good to finally reveal that on a blog that everyone has stopped reading months ago.)
  • That I’d not only have more money in my savings than I do in my checking account, but that it’d be THOUSANDS of dollars more. Look, something positive!
  • That I’d inadvertently make wardrobe choices/have wardrobe preferences that would result in my dressing like the bastard love child of Mr. Rogers and Zach Galifianakis and be sort of really okay with that. A SECOND positive!
  • That in 2013 I’d be somewhat obsessed with Justin Timberlake. And also maybe Beyonce but I’ll never admit it.
  • That I’d want to know how many eggs I have left so I can plan accordingly.

When I say eggs, I don’t mean the kind that come in a cardboard box and are delicious hard boiled and eaten with green olives. I’m talking about my baby makin’ eggs all up in my lady box. My ovaries. As I do with most things, I decided to take my cue from television. It all started years ago; the thought was first planted in my pea-brain when Miranda’s gynecologist declared that she only had one working ovary. Most recently, it was the episode “Eggs” from this season of “The New Girl” in which Jess and CeCe take a blood test that will determine whether or not they can continue to fart around about their feelings for Nick Miller or should panic and enter into an arranged marriage even though they are probably still in love with Schmidt, but since network television finds brown-on-brown love relationships silly, hilarious, and terrifying, that storyline will fade and weird, vaguely racist sex with him will start up again before the season ends.

I was hoping that this blood test that determines the amount of reserve eggs a woman has wouldn’t actually exist outside of TV Land and that my gyno would condescendingly chuckle and pat my hand when nervously I asked her about it, but it’s for real and I went and got it. Last week, what appeared to be a 15-year-old boy took a few vials of my blood so that I could learn incomplete information that I would be able to do little, if anything, about.

I discovered during the research (a five-minute Google search) I conducted for this post (but not before having the blood test, ’cause that would have been silly!) that though this test can tell a curious broad like myself how many eggs are floating around in my – Uterus? Vagina? Eh, let’s go with liver -, it cannot determine what kind of shape they’re in. So it could be like when I was still living alone and would have three partially full egg cartons in the fridge: lots of quantity, but low quality, since two of those cartons were at least a year old. Maybe my liver will be overflowing with ovaries, but who knows whether or not they’re still fresh and will be delicious scrambled?

I never thought I’d be the kind of woman to worry about this sort of thing, considering the fact that my having the option to reproduce seems to be as likely as my being Blue Ivy’s babysitter, but I found myself starting to wonder. I don’t want to offend anybody or whatever (honestly, I don’t care, but figured a nice, normal person would start by writing that), but I find the idea of choosing to parent without a partner because you think time’s running out and you want your “chance” to be a mother dumb as shit, and yes I’m looking at you, Ann Perkins. I NEVER thought I’d be a woman who would even consider that life because kids are expensive and annoying and it takes a village to totally screw up their lives. I figured if I never married, I’d never have kids. And yet. . .

I find a tiny part of myself believing the lie that will make seasons of “16 and Pregnant” and  “Teen Mom” continue on into perpetuity: no one likes/loves me, I want someone to like/love me (forever), so I’ll have a baby. I want my parents to have the opportunity to rub my face in how cool and fun and awesome they’re likely to be as grandparents. I want to know what some kid of mine will look like, particularly whether or not it’ll inherit my sweet potato pie face and googly eyes. I want to complain about how exhausted I am to my childless friends and make them feel guilty and lonely and left out and useless. I. . . um. . . want my chance to be a mom before time runs out.

Or do I? I don’t know. Really, I don’t. I’m pretty damn sure that I don’t want to do it without a husband. But I also don’t want to spend my life wondering “What if?”.

I’ve been home sick all week, with a mysterious combination of symptoms that have made me believe that I’ll die before Easter and that the only thing my body is capable of producing is poop, sorrow, and occasional vomit. You can imagine my surprise when a VERY excited nurse called to tell me that not only do I have plenty of eggs in my liver, I’ve got more than the normal amount. I fucking aced that test with extra credit and everything. I’m the valedictorian of the ovary reserve school. I thought learning the “good news” would encourage me to take a shower and do a load of laundry once I can walk and stand again and log on to Match and see what Creature from the Black Lagoon has made my profile his favorite this month. But other than a brief feeling of relief, I didn’t have much of a reaction at all. I mean, it’s kind of like finding out that you’ve won a lifetime supply of eggs from Costco, but oh, P.S., to keep things interesting the expiration dates on the cartons are blacked out, you’ve got no room in the fridge for them, and somebody stole all your frying pans and ripped your stove out from the wall. So yeah, you’ve got all these eggs, but what the hell are you supposed to do with them?

What indeed.

I can see why I’m single, too.

11 Feb

Hey. So, life’s been rough. At least the one that I live in my head. All I want to do is eat cookies and play The Sims and sleep, so I’m probably a tid-bit depressed, hence my lack of posts to this here blog. I shaved my armpits AND am updating my semi-abandoned blog today; that’s probably the most I’ve done since Christmas.

Anyweiner, I have a month left on that gotdang Match.com and I just discovered that a muscular, well-dressed, silky dark chocolate colored black man just wrote me a nice message. If you know me even a little bit well, you’ll know that I promptly farted on that guy’s hopes and dreams (and my mother’s) and blew him off. He’s SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not my type. But I did so in a way that was unflinchingly honest and that amused me, so I figured that I’d post it here in lieu of any new content while I get myself together. Please to enjoy, and thanks for hanging in there with me:

Re: Robot

Hahahaha! Hey! You’re certainly not the only one to robot (I’m using it as a verb) in public. It’s fun and awesome.

So M____, I’m a little surprised to see that you wrote to me. I am no vegan and to be perfectly frank, find the idea of veganism exhausting and ridiculous. I grew up in the Pentecostal church, but I chose to walk away a few years ago. I like booze. I don’t drink a lot, but I drink. I haven’t purposefully exercised in probably more than a year. I’m fat; fat is just an adjective to me, so I’m not being “one of those girls” in saying that I’m fat. Basically, I’m a fat, meat-eating, booze-drinking, agnostic-ish, far left-leaning, nose ring-wearing, would-rather-watch-TV-than-do-a-distressingly-long-list-of-things kinda chick who realizes that she dresses a lot of the time like a hipster lesbian and is okay with that.

I say all of that to explain why I don’t think we’d be a good romantic match. I would roll my eyes way too often at your food choices and Bible scripture quotes. You seem like a nice dude with a lot going for him. You’ll find someone. You’re probably dating some nice lady right now that you’re not sure about. I bet you she’s great. Give her a chance! And if she isn’t, you’re a muscular black man; you won’t be alone for long.

Thanks for your email. It made my day to meet another robot aficionado.

Take care,
Ambrosia

Yeah. So in case it’s not clear, I can’t with this fine fellow because:

  • He’s a VEGAN.
  • He might be a Mormon.
  • He’s most likely a Born-Again/Evangelical Christian.
  • He has on a bow-tie in one of his profile pictures.
  • He quotes the Bible repeatedly in his profile.
  • He’s looking for a woman who’s into “eating healthy and exercise”.
  • HE’S A VEGAN.
  • He was like, super shiny in his pictures. But in a fancy way. Like, he probably searches the Interwebs for Kanye West’s skin care regimen so he can get tips on taking his look to the next level and typing that has made me want to punch everything in the vulva.

 

Le sigh. I’m totally going to have a commitment ceremony with a rescue dog, aren’t I?

 

I (think I might) hate Halloween: sayin’ it without swearin’.

4 Nov

It all started with a little movie called “The Last Airbender”. . . Source

I worry that my point about the ills of blackface  – or any type of -face (But not whiteface. Not that it’s “good”. There’s just no comparison. Don’t worry; better people than I will explain why.) – was lost in the profane shrillness of my last post, so I point any of you who is willing to learn things to an awesome website called Racebending.com. In their own words, Racebending.com is

an international grassroots organization of media consumers who support entertainment equality. We advocate for underrepresented groups in entertainment media. Since our formation in 2009, we have been dedicated to furthering equal opportunities in Hollywood and beyond.

They handle the whole “But it’s just a movie!”/”It’s just a Halloween costume!”/”Oh my god, why are you making it such a big deal?” with grace and helpful charts and graphs, a refreshing alternative to my shrieking and crying and swearing approach.

So go there and then look for Academy Awards 2012 : Putting Blackface in Context or if you’re crazy lazy and/or easily confused, click this. Spend some time over there. It’s fascinating. You’ll see why us my-noor-uh-tees are always getting our panties in a bunch and you’ll stop yourself from saying “What about “White Chicks“?” and then I won’t have to fantasize about slapping you and then go eat my feelings. Again.

Okay, I love you. Go learn something.

A big ole’ THANK YOU to Phenderson Djèlí Clark for introducing me to Racebending.com in his terrific post critiquing the film adaptation of “Cloud Atlas”.

I (think I might) hate Halloween.

2 Nov

Yup. Source

If you live in a part of the world that happened to piss off some West Indian chick named Sandy, you may not have even had a chance to hate Halloween this year. I’ve always been quite indifferent to the holiday myself, seeing as how it was off-limits during my formative years and I was too poor and timid as a thin, hot, late-teen-early-twenty-something to indulge in the debauchery, i.e. wear a really slutty costume, that apparently goes along with the day when one is too old to Trick-or-Treat. So when I was invited to a costumes-mandatory Halloween party in mid-October, I was pretty damn excited.

I acquired my first ever store bought costume, – I was a member of ancient Egyptian high society, but I just told people I was Cleopatra because that’s easier – researched the make-up and nail polish (actually, during that time period a nail stain made of henna and red hued berries was used), and even splurged on a wig.  I was really looking forward to a real Halloween experience for a change, filled with booze and laughter and apple-bobbing and making out with a mysterious man dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or something. What can I say, I watch a lot of television.

Those things didn’t happen, of course. I mean, I laughed and drank booze, but I didn’t make out with anyone – SHOCKER – and I spent an awful lot of the night feeling SUPER uncomfortable. Oh, and hurt, confused, embarrassed, angry, disappointed. Lots of feels.

I was one of the last folks to arrive because putting on enough makeup to make it look like I have cheek bones takes a really long time. I started to panic a little because I initially didn’t see a lot of adults in costume and I felt sort of like an idiot because I had gone all out and with four-inch platform sandals on in addition to four inches of makeup, I felt very much like a beautiful reject from RuPaul’s Drag Race who hadn’t quite mastered the tuck.

A close friend had mentioned to me earlier that his particular top-secret costume choice would make me “pee [my] pants”, so I was on the look-out for him. He’s creative and irreverent and smart so I knew I was going to be in for a surprise. In talking to a mutual friend of ours a few hours before the party, we tossed around guesses on what he was going to be. I guessed Jesus or Lord Gaga, Lady Gaga’s long lost and imaginary male counterpart. “You know”, I said, “Part of me wonders if he’s going to come as Bill Cosby ’cause I’ve started calling him Uncle Bill. He just does so many things that scream Heathcliff Huxtable, it wouldn’t surprise me. But no, a convincing Dr. Huxtable/Bill Cosby would require blackface,” I joked. “He’d do a lot of things, but he’d never do that. God, I hope he wouldn’t do that.”

Le sigh.

I teetered along carefully, my robes gathered in my hands as regally as I could muster and scanned the room for anyone over the age of six in a costume, but for my friend in particular. I spotted the hostess decked out in her Disney princess best; a flapper; a gun moll; and a woman in all zebra print holding an umbrella covered in stuffed animals (She was raining cats and dogs. Cute, right?). I breathed a sigh of relief and relished in the compliments my costume and I received. And then I turned my head.

The first thing I saw was his strange, patchy, mud-colored skin. Whatever he’d used was either melting or smearing or just hadn’t been applied very well and made him look filthy rather than of African decent. But then, most people who attempt blackface don’t actually look black. They just look dirty or as if they’re suffering from some unfortunate skin disease and that is just one of the MANY reasons why blackface, REGARDLESS of the intent, is offensive to me, an actual black person whose skin doesn’t look that way. I don’t know any actual black person with skin that looks that way. Ahem. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, his face, neck, and hands were covered in whatever he’d used to darken his skin and he was wearing a dark blue suit and red, white, and blue tie and flag lapel pin. My nerves and shock had delayed my brain function so even though I was taking in all of this data with my kohl-rimmed eyeballs, I simply couldn’t process who or what he was supposed to be. My eyes fell to the sign in his hand that had letters on it that made up a word I would have normally and very quickly recognized under any other circumstances: a capital ‘O’ followed by a capital ‘B’ followed by a capital ‘A’-

Oh no. Oh NO.

I whipped my head around, my shiny synthetic wig hair sticking to my lipstick.  The people not in costume were wearing stickers that read ‘Re-elect Obama’. It was all starting to come together: I had walked into a time warp and had been sucked onto the set of a taping of “In Living Color” written by precogs. I mean, what else would explain what I was seeing? One of my closest, dearest, most racially sensitive friends couldn’t possibly be in motherfucking blackface as the motherfucking president unless he was also circa-1992 Jim Carrey rehearsing an episode that included an ill-conceived, never-to-air skit called “Oh my god, everybody, what if we had a black president with an African name someday? That’d be HELLA crazy, right?”, right? Right?!?

Wrong.

I wasn’t having some sort of flash-back-forward. I didn’t fall down a Time Slide. The Wayans Brothers were in no way responsible for this. My friend thought he picked an awesome Halloween costume. I thought he had lost his ever-loving mind.

“Oh my GOD!” I shrieked. People looked at me and started to nervously chuckle. Of course – OF COURSE –  I was the only black person in attendance. I felt as though all eyes were on me in a “Let’s see how the black person reacts!” moment of awkward silence. I felt my mouth twitch and spasm into what I suppose was a smile. “Hehehehehe. Look at you!” I said, or something like that. Something non-confrontational but that also didn’t give the appearance of my approval. My eyes briefly locked with the hostesses. Mine were screaming “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?!?!? IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?!?”  but I don’t know if she caught all of that. Eye speech can be very difficult to decipher, especially when one has on tons of mascara.

I tried to avoid my friend without it looking like I was avoiding him all night. I know I spoke to him, but I don’t remember what either of us said. My brain turns to useless fluff during moments of high stress. I can’t remember details and that totally bums me out because I am a person who THRIVES on details.

He was excited and really proud of his costume. He had “researched” President Obama for days, maybe weeks. He did his best to not “break character” all night. I tried not to listen to any of the interactions he had with my friends or other guests while he was “being the president”. I didn’t want to learn that any of the people that I liked were racist, bigoted, birther asshats. Or Republicans. But I also tried to listen without listening so that I could squirrel away any nuggets of ignorance that dropped out of the mouths of people there and shoot them Looks of Doom made even more doomy by my kick-ass Pharaoh eyes. All of that covert non-listening made me sweat which would have made my beautiful make-up run, so I gave that up and just ate a lot, keeping my mouth perpetually full so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone.

It took me three days to get up the nerve to say anything about my utter discomfort, to say the least, with his costume choice. And I couldn’t even say anything. I sent him a link via text to posts on blackface at Racialicious, a blog about “the intersection of race and pop culture.” I gave him the benefit of the doubt, assuming that he just didn’t know about things like white privilege or cultural appropriation or the harmful, hurtful, painful history of blackface in general.

Wrong. Again.

I was negative and afraid and discouraging his artistic expression. Didn’t I know that he’s an aspiring method actor? He said some other bullshit that floored me, so I gave him a piece of my mind and told him with my fanciest two-dollar words that I thought he was a dick, without ever calling him a dick. But I did tell him that he was ignorant, arrogant, and racially insensitive.

He wore blackface to at least one other Halloween party, and was even more unnaturally darkened and scary looking than before, like he’d rolled around in a coal bin. People, apparently, thought it was awesome and hilarious. They posed with him in pictures and posted them on that social networking site. The pictures of him got ‘likes’ in the double-digits. I deleted my account after I saw that (and for other reasons too, but I’m telling this story right now). I cried. Kind of a lot.

I haven’t talked about this with very many people because. . . like, how the hell do I even have that conversation? “Oh hey, it’s 2012 and one of my BFFs wore blackface and I’m super hurt and he thinks I’m the asshole. So anyway, did you catch last week’s episode of “New Girl”?” This is one of the many reasons why I’m going to be in therapy FOREVER because I have wacky, gut-punching shit happen on the regular and I need to pay a dude in a cardigan sweater to help me make sense of it all.

Other stuff happened related to this. Nothing as big, but certainly hurtful. I was invited out Trick-or-Treating by mutual friends of his but was told with a shrug “He’s gonna do his thing so. . .” So what?  “Suck it up, bitch”? “Get over yourself and 300+ years of fucked-up history”? “You’re our friend, but a ‘hilarious costume’ will always trump your feelings so what time should we pick you up”? Then there were the people who did the whole “OMG, they’re just costumes, why can’t minorities SHUT UP already and let us desecrate their stuff?” in response to respectful Halloween costume PSAs I posted on that social networking site. Oh, and an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in forever referred to her city as “N!ggertown” in conversation with me and when the look of horror I gave her registered said “Oh, no offense; you’re not like that.” Not like what? I’m not like what?

So, I think I might really hate Halloween. There are special experiences one has being black during all the seasons, but it seems that All Hallows’ Eve really brings out the fuckery and foolishness hidden in the hearts of so many well-meaning individuals. I also hate that my friend is, apparently, not as creative or respectful or possibly smart as Miley Cyrus. Case in point:

Hmm. I know she’s supposed to be someone famous but I just. Can’t. Put my fin- She’s Nicki Minaj. And that’s plainly clear without the use of a layer of shoe polish. Source.

I think one of the many things that bothered me about the whole thing that I’m struggling to articulate even though I’ve spent 2,000+ words on it is that President Obama, whom I adore, isn’t mud-coffee-coal colored and to my knowledge, my friend isn’t blind. The beautiful nuance of the complexion of black folk seems to be totally lost on him. Apparently, we all just look dirty or are literally black in his eyes. His natural olive complexion is closer to how the president actually looks than the shit-stain-brown makeup he used. Miley got-dang Cyrus had the brain power to figure that out for her costume and I’m not sure she can even read!

If he did so much “research” for this costume, why didn’t he just lose the jacket, roll up his sleeves, and loosen his tie? Why not wear prosthetic big ears? Work on the voice? Ask for cheeseburgers with spicy brown mustard instead of ketchup? Tuck a cigarette behind his ear? Carry a surf board? Why did he have to blacken his skin to imitate a person who’s skin ISN’T EVEN BLACK? I’ll pretend for a moment that the whole thing wasn’t inherently and deeply offensive and simply focus on the down-right laziness of someone claiming to be an aspiring method actor. You, dear sir, suck major ASS at your chosen craft.

I don’t know what all this means for our friendship and I don’t think this post is going to help matters. Or maybe it will because it has said pretty much everything I couldn’t have without crying. But for reals, I was worried that my dressing as Cleopatra/an ancient Egyptian might be potentially offensive because it is a not altogether accurate cultural costume belonging to others (that are mostly dead) and he never stopped to think that maybe his idea was a bad one? That’s not fair!

Just. . . I’m sad and tired. Maybe my parents had a point in keeping me from Halloween. Whatevs. All I know is I’m going as fat Bruno Mars next year. We have the same face, same complexion, same haircut, and until like two days ago, I thought he was black. And I won’t have to wear heels.

I’m also pretty sure that I already own that jacket. SCORE! Source.

Just trying to outlive Jesus.

14 Oct
jesus_thumbs_up-s300x220-213409

Totally bummed I didn’t think of the concept of outliving Jesus first, but totally psyched that it was The Onion that beat me to it. Source

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t a left you. Without a dope post to read to. Read to, read to, read- Eh, it doesn’t really work, but I tried.

Lots of crap has been going on. So much so that it has prevented me from thanking and responding to the handful of new folks who’ve left comments or ‘liked’ past stuff (Thank you so much! I love you!) or writing more than one cuss-filled post during the month of September. I thought I’d start out this post by sharing a list pertaining to the lots of crap in an effort to maybe make you, my dear 6 and 3/4 readers, laugh; feel better about your own life by comparison; and reassure you that this blog and unfortunately I are still alive.

  • After six years filled of wonder and amazement, I moved out of my apartment. The plan was for me to move into the home of my beloved dead grandpa; – For mental health and self-esteem reasons I’m supposed to be calling it my home. That ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. – that plan is on an indefinite hiatus, mostly because it appears as though someone set off a bomb in his two-story, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom condo. A bomb that both destroyed everything and opened a portal to 1975.
  • I have been living out of one suitcase in the home of my parents who have recently retired. I sleep in my childhood bedroom that has become the storage space for the stuff my parents don’t want and/or don’t know what to do with (How fitting!) on an air mattress which I managed to pop just this morning (FINALLY!). I have come to the awful conclusion that I might kinda hate my mall-walking, liquid-vitamin-taking, Dr. Oz-worshiping mother and father. Just a little bit.
  • I am still single.

Anyway. In two days I am going to be 33 years old. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but like most things, I hate my motherfucking birthday. I especially hate all birthdays after the twentieth, because that’s when the expectations attached to age begin. So not only will someone probably die (my 28th, 29th, and 30th birthdays), break up with me (my 26th), give me the swine flu (my 30th), or lock themselves in my car and refuse to participate in the festivities (my 23rd) on my “special day”, you expect me to have accomplished shit too? Oh, here go hell come.

Birthdays have always been just an overflowing bag of sad for me for as long as I can remember. As a kid, birthday parties were contingent upon whether or not I had been “good”. Ma and Pa Jones would typically do the “Do you think you deserve to have a birthday party, Ambrosia?” thing with me and being a highly intelligent and precocious child, I knew that the answer was ‘no’. I mean, if ya have to ask, amiright? It seemed that Ma Jones loved to say the following, as I heard some variation of it each year: “And you think you’re having a birthday party? You? Ha! Little girls who have birthday parties do not roll their eyes at their mothers!” It was all I could do not to demand empirical evidence from her. “What are you basing this data on? Show me the numbers!”

I’m not anybody’s mother, so I don’t know if birthday parties ought to be doled out sparingly or not. Maybe my parents were doing what most parents do. But to a girl who’s an only child, lives in a child-free neighborhood, doesn’t really fit in with the kids at church, doesn’t get to socialize all that much with her school friends, and experiences a nagging sense of unshakable loneliness that follows her throughout her entire life, the birthday party rations really sucked. It was my one chance out of the year to be the center of attention, to demand things (whether or not those demands were fulfilled is another thing entirely), and be surrounded by friends. To have that be dependent on whether or not I’d been a model child was way harsh, considering that, at least in my parents’ eyes, I never quite measured up.

Don’t even get me started on expectations and birthday parties. Good god, how I loathe expectations. And yet, I am full of them. I was quick to write that I blame my life-long love of books, movies, and television for the ridiculous expectations swirling around in my head when I hear the words “birthday”, “Christmas”, “New Year’s Eve”, “wedding”, and “drag ball”, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve witnessed enough magical loveliness in real life happen to people I know that I am comfortable blaming them. The parties my friends and acquaintances have for their children leave me itching to call 9-1-1 to turn in my parents on a 25 year-old charge of neglect. Every kid in the class gets to come! Brand-name goodie bags! Elaborate themes! PG-13 movies! Designer clothes and shoes! Cake with a picture of your face on it!

A girl I knew rented out part of a nightclub to celebrate her 24th birthday. That’s not even a milestone age or anything. It was sort of supposed to be a joint party for me and some other October babies too, but I only told one friend about it because it was in Manhattan and I knew no one else would come. She had signature drinks, and embossed invitations, and her own waiter, and color-coordinated decorations that matched her outfit and makeup and the drinks and invitations. It was super fun, i.e., I got really drunk. I think I totaled my car on my 24th birthday (Not that same night, or year, even. Drunk driving is lame.). Not quite as fun.

Thing is, I don’t even want my own waiter or a cake with my face on it. Designer clothes and shoes would only be ruined in my grubby little accident-prone hands. “Signature drinks” is a stupid concept that I fall for every time I see them on a menu or watch “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera”. You know what kind of party I really like? Remember that one scene in “You’ve Got Mail” when Meg Ryan’s character has people over and Archie Bunker’s wife plays the piano and they sing and laugh and drink wine and everyone’s wearing a sweater and Greg Kinnear is tone deaf? I love that. The only things that party is missing is candlelight, dancing, more food and booze, The Gays, and me.

Don’t get me wrong, someday I want to blow a couple hundred bucks on a night out at Lucky Cheng’s and maybe have a closed-mouth make-out session on a dance floor with a handsome stranger (It’s a cultural thing, and blech!). But I don’t need any of that to have a nice birthday party – if I were still celebrating my birthday. I have vowed to never again attempt to have a party or make any birthday demands (I did tell Lisa she could make me her chicken casserole and bake a lemon cake, but she asked first.) or even mention the dreaded day after last year’s debacle. I haven’t mentioned last year’s debacle in great detail here other than explaining that it is from hence this blog’s name was birthed. Since The Day of Dread is less than 48 hours away, I’ll tell that story now by revising what I wrote and shared on that social networking site.

Actually, upon proofreading said post, I’ve decided to share it in its (hardly) unedited entirety. A quick re-read after a year made me do it:

I told ya so!  I told ya something bad was gonna happen on my birthday!

I do hate to gloat, truly I do, but I want people to understand that I’m not a sad sack of misery just because.  I’ve got history on my side!  Like my Jane has started to say, I’m looking at the facts!

Okay, if I’m going to look at ALL the facts, I ended up having a lot of fun with some truly wonderful friends.  But you didn’t come here to read about fun and wonderfulness.

What had happened was this:  In order to forget about the fact that I was turning another year older, I wanted to eat some food, go dancing and drink some drinks.  Last year, this was a bit of an issue, so I tried to keep things chill.  I figured if people wanted to come, they’d come.  If they wanted to eat, they’d eat.  If they wanted to dance- you get my drift.  I live in a city that I wouldn’t choose to hang out in, so I picked another as the destination because they have more than one of things and classier people and more interesting violence and danger.  What?  They do!

So I make reservations for the night before my actual birthday.  A group of relatives from out of town and their friends essentially invited themselves (this is key) to the gathering as an act of solidarity as they were aware of the History of Bad Birthdays, which I initially appreciated.  A group of friends offered to drive me that night so I could be free to indulge in spirits if I chose.  The group of friends was coming from another gathering that evening and the plan was for them to pick me up at 8:00 so we could make the 8:45 reservation.  Unfortunately, stuff happened, and they didn’t make it to get me until 8:30.  As soon as I learned that my ride was running late (8:05), I sent word to my relatives and friends already on their way to the restaurant.  Additional stuff happened – none of which involved me being late; bitches, I was dressed and ready to go for 8:00pm for once! – and our caravan didn’t hit the road till 8:45.

Yes, this was unfortunate.  But it was a Saturday night.  The group that was already there was “having fun”, or so I was told.  I assumed they’d have some drinks and order some appetizers and chill.  It was a birthday party, not a business meeting.  And I stayed in contact with them every step of the way, apologizing profusely.

We make it to the other city and it’s after 9:00pm.  We park in the first lot we find – which ended up being 6 blocks away from the restaurant.  The seven of us make our way down the street and I’m texting those already there – “We’re 4 blocks away! I’m sorry!”  “We’re 3 blocks away! I’m SO sorry!”  As we pass the Public Library, which is relevant because that meant we were about halfway there, I get a text from my cousin who I didn’t even expect to show up.  Not only did I not expect her, I had been instructed to keep her presence a secret, which is a topic for another note that I’m not going to write because that mess is none of my business.

Anyhoo, the secret cousin I didn’t expect had an early morning event the following day, my actual birthday, and that was one of the not torrid reasons that I didn’t expect her.  So, I think nothing of the fact that the first text I received from her read:

“This is so poorly planned.”

Yeah, I suppose it was.  They had been waiting about an hour.  I get that that can be annoying.  Buuuuuuuuutttttt, they weren’t waiting at a bus stop.  They were waiting in an awesome Japanese restaurant, with people they knew and supposedly like/love and it was my f’ing party; I’ll show up when I want to.  (I don’t really mean that last bit.)  As I am about to respond with a sincere mea culpa, my cousin whom I DIDN’T EXPECT TO SHOW UP AND TECHNICALLY WASN’T INVITED sent me a second text:

“I can see why she’s single.”

OOOOOOHHHHHHH.  So those texts weren’t meant for me after all.  Home girl hit my Achilles heel with that one.  The only other thing she could have written that would have been as devastatingly hurtful would have been “I can see why she’s fat.”  And shut up, I am fat, and the sooner we all acknowledge that fact the faster we can move on.

I closed my phone, put it in the pocket of my jacket and kept walking.  I could feel the tears start to well up, my heart was alternately stopping and pounding out of control and I didn’t know what to do.  We finally make it to the restaurant and I’m sure the look on my face was not a pleasant one.  If anyone noticed, they probably chalked it up to the fact that I had walked 6 blocks in 3 inch heels and was an hour late to my own birthday party.

Both the restaurant and the folks who had already arrived failed to save/ provide enough seating for the entire group, so a lot of awkward standing around commenced as we waited for extra chairs.  I was shaking and my face was on fire.  I had just learned that my cousin was talking shit about me and I assumed she had realized her mistake by then, too.  If she did, she said nothing.  We finally sit down and I knew that if I said nothing, that text and the venom behind it was going to eat me up and ruin an already screwed up night.  So, I lifted up my menu and whispered what had transpired to my friend Dick on my right, begging him to keep it to himself, and then promptly excused myself.  I felt better already that someone else knew about what happened.  I went to the ladies room and Jane followed me in in outrage.  Dick is her husband and told her that I was probably in tears because of the text I wasn’t supposed to see.

I was actually kind of fine!  No tears, just pee pee, and I assured Jane that I was cool.  No need to confront my cousin and her wig (I’m sorry!  I’m entitled to one dig, right?); let’s just eat, drink and be merry.

The night continued and yeah, dinner was kind of awkward, but sake solved that, mostly.  The out of town crew went home right after dinner because of the texting terror’s early morning thing, and I had a ball with my actual friends who make sure that the nasty texts they write about me make it to their intended recipients.  Ha.

I’m gonna skim over a lot of stuff now because I’m SUPER lazy, but the morning of my actual birthday involved me crying hysterically over the text.  Hey, I didn’t let it ruin my night, which for me is a REALLY BIG DEAL, but I needed to grieve over it.  That shit hurt!  I eventually and very gently, and according to my friend, with class, let my cousin know that I got the texts and assumed they weren’t meant for me and hoped that she enjoyed her charity walk.  She wrote back and didn’t acknowledge the texts, but asked me how my night was.  It took me hours to gather the courage and nerve to answer, but when I finally did, I said this:

“you know, despite those texts you sent me, i had a really great time with my friends.  thanks for asking!”

She called, I wouldn’t answer, got yelled at out of love by Jane and Dick, who had taken me out for birthday pancakes, cried some more, and eventually spoke to my cousin about the Birthday Debacle.  On my actual birthday, mind you.  And here, in helpful bullet point form, is what she said:

  • She don’t like waitin’.
  • People need to respect her time.
  • She’s very punctual and expects others to be the same.
  • I should have had a plan B and C.
  • I should have left my friends and driven myself to the restaurant so that she didn’t have to wait so long.
  • She was mad that the restaurant “kicked us out” at 11:30pm because she wanted to take pictures.
  • She didn’t get a chance to go out afterwards because I was late.
  • Oh, and yeah, poor planning can in fact lead to chronic singleness.

If you are observant, you may have noticed that her ass never once uttered the following :

“I’m sorry” or even, “Happy Birthday”.

And in case it matters, my cousin is also single.  She’s in the midst of a nasty divorce, actually, and lives back at home with her mother and shares a room with one of her two children.  So much for planning and punctuality!  But that’s mean of me to say.  I guess.

I didn’t respond to anything she said, other than mentioning that I was hurt by the text, particularly the second one.  After she was finished, I told her I was hanging up and that I’d talk to her some other time.  When I was alone that night, I cried some more.

So, that’s it.  That was this year’s birthday fail.  However, I did have oodles of fun and my friends are super loyal and protective and awesome and really, really mean!  And I love it!

But, yet again, that swift kick to the balls really hurt.  I may not be able to trust my cousin(s).  People – my family members! – seem to be ready, willing and able to take a switchblade to my Achilles without warning.  And I’m another year past 30 and still really, really, REALLY single (and fat).

I may have found an interesting name and concept for a blog, though.  Maybe stay tuned for icanseewhyshessingle.com, hmmmmmmm?  (DO NOT STEAL.)

Gosh. Wasn’t I precious? I sounded so different way back then. I was a mere girl, a child really, just turned 32 and all. That’s what happened and yay, I started a blog and took what was meant for evil and used it for good – shout out to Old Testament Joseph – though the “good” part is questionable. But here’s the thing. I said I had a good time. Whenever I’ve answered the question of “What do you wanna do for your birthday?” with “I don’t do those anymore ’cause of last year” and the person I’m talking to was there, they say “Oh, but you had fun!” I didn’t. I did not have fun. I’m sorry.

What I had was a pretend fun time due to the influence of alcohol. I drank a great deal out of nervousness, worried I’d cry or yell or snatch a wig if I didn’t drown my emotions in booze. Four really lovely friends hung out with me all night. We went to two – TWO! – nightclubs and then to a sketchy diner. They did that for me and I’m grateful. But I didn’t have fun.

I don’t have an inner voice that I can shut up with liquor. That bitch went on and on AND ON all night about how awful I am and how my mean cousin was right. I kept giving her bootleg Dark and Stormies (Why doesn’t any bar stock ginger beer?!?) in the hopes that if she insisted on talking, maybe she’d start to be nice the more I drank. When I went to the restroom and looked in the mirror and saw that the belt to my dress was hanging on by a figurative thread, she let me have it. My cousin’s text had given her ammunition, not that she ever really needs it: “See? She was right. Look at you. So FAT. No one will dance with you, you know. Your friends are pitying you because you are pitiful.”

I went back out there and smiled and drank and laughed and danced. She – my inner voice – was right. No one danced with me. I mean, Eric and Dick took turns dancing with me a little, but that’s not the same. I was the fifth wheel at my own birthday party, grinning madly as I danced with my lovely friends who also happen to be two couples.

I don’t make birthday demands wishes any more. Just let me get through the day and come out unscathed. I’ll cry, I’m sure. I’ve cried every year since probably 4th grade. This year the day will be supremely awkward as I am living staying with my parents who prove each day how little they know about their only child. That might be my fault seeing as how I just grunt and growl in their direction, but I believe, perhaps wrongly, that the people who love you shouldn’t have to be told who you are. They ought to be watching. They ought to already know.

Despite everything, my attitude about my birthday this year is an improvement. There were years I had no intention of seeing, but I guess I got distracted by something, as here I am. The only goal I’ve got for this year is to outlive Jesus. Dude made it to 33; if I can make it to 34 I will have beaten a supreme being at something, even if I’m still living with my parents, fat, at a job where everyone hates me, and of course, single when I do it.

Same boat.

14 Aug

Yeah. . . I wouldn’t want to be in that boat either. Source

Dictionary.com, one of my favorite websites (seriously), defines the idiom “in the same boat” as “in the same circumstances; faced with the same problems: The new recruits were all in the same boat.”

It’s a common phrase that those of us with some mastery of the English language probably throw around a lot. I’ve used it countless times I’m sure, but lately I’ve found its use towards me to be disturbing rather than offering the comfort that I think was intended by the speaker. If I am in the same boat with certain people, somebody pass me a life preserver and I’ll take my chances out at sea.

The first time I had to stop myself from audibly screaming out “You ain’t trapping me in a sinking ship with you!” was several hours after a family gathering. A relative was sharing the news of another’s engagement as we drove her home, and as I do with so many things, I made the conversation about me. I was happy for my family member, but felt like I was being once again left in the dust when it came to the milestones indicating a normal, healthy adulthood. The relative who shared the news with me has never been married. When I expressed my bittersweet feelings on the subject, rather than offering me the usual empty encouragements that a very single girl over 30 is bound to hear, my relative said the following: “You want to get married? I never married. Do I regret it? Well, yes, I suppose, when it comes to things like having to carry heavy packages or eating meals alone, but we’re smart, educated women. You and I are in the same boat. It may never happen for you, but so what? You’ll be just fine.”

I think I gagged a little when she said that. I didn’t want to be in the same boat with her. Her boat was leaky and lonely. She only had one broke-down oar to paddle with. The sails wouldn’t. . . sail (If you haven’t noticed, I know nothing about boats, ships, and/or sailing.).  I wanted her to tell me that I was on a jet ski racing off to the Island of Eligible Bachelors, not that I’d be “just fine” when and if I ended up like her. I’m pretty sure I cried after receiving my relative’s declaration. Those tears must have tasted particularly bitter because so far, my life is most like hers than anyone else in the family. The possibility of my being over 60 and still alone is creeping near; my relative is holding out her hand to me while I stand unsure and scared on the dock, ready to help me sail off into a lonely sunset.

Most recently, an old friend repeatedly mentioned that she and I were in the same boat. My old friend does not date and makes no effort to. In fact, she is contemplating swearing off any attempts at or offers of romantic relationships for the foreseeable future. My old friend isn’t one to talk about s-e-x, but I assume that if she did, she’d mention that she’d be just fine with never having it again. Ever. With anyone. Ever again. Forever. Yikes.

When she told me that she and I were in the same boat, at first I chuckled. Yeah, poor us. So unlucky in love. She’s the only person I know that is my age and knows what it’s like to go more than a decade without knowing the gentle touch of a man. It’s been years since she’s even been on a date. I yukked it up with her. Hell yeah we’re in the same boat! But the more she said it, the less funny it became. Did I really want to be in the same boat with someone who has given up on love? My old friend has plenty of justifiable reasons for her decision to swear off the opposite sex, but still. To not even try? And wait a minute. I’ve been trying. I’ve done online dating, I’ve gone speed dating, I’ve tolerated mediocre dates with men I wish I could forget. I’ve embarrassed myself by asking for sex because TV and well-meaning friends tricked me into thinking I’d get a ‘yes’ if I did. I can’t show my face in my local YMCA because I’ve tried (It’s not what you think, I swear!) so hard!

It’s not fair to be shoved into a boat where the captain (Skipper? Admiral? I don’t know.) has given up. The boat hasn’t even capsized, it’s just aimlessly meandering around and around, like a bathtub toy circling the drain. I understand that my old friend doesn’t want to halfheartedly row her ass to nowhere by herself, but that’s like telling a kid who studied for a test and failed that he’s just like the kid that didn’t even crack open the book. “I don’t know that shit. And you did just as bad as me.”

Maybe to some people I deserve my place in that boat next to my friend. I found myself having yet another bitch fest about my loneliness and frustration with Dick and Jane over dinner and I couldn’t shake the feeling that Dick was annoyed or bored or disgusted with me and what he perceives as my lack of effort. When I told them that a dating guide I’d stumbled across online read that women ought not rule out the bar scene after all, Dick asked me when I was going bar hopping. I stumbled and stuttered as I told him that I was afraid to go alone; I’ve seen way too many episodes of “Law and Order: SVU” to be okay with that. He rolled his eyes and muttered something about my making excuses. He found my outrage at being an unwilling passenger on the SS Pusty Dussy humorous, maybe because to him it’s exactly where I belong.

I like the water, but I’ve always been wary of boat rides, probably because that first one ended so well. I don’t want this post to seem as though I am claiming to be better than my never-married relative or my old friend who has (Temporarily, please let it be temporarily!) given up on love. I’m not. I know that I’m not. But what I do know is that I want to keep trying to swim to shore on my own. I’m not resigned to either fate; neither boat can take me where it is I so badly want to go. I’m going to keep floating alongside lots of different boats, waving at the people on board while I try to keep my goggles from fogging up. Could I try to swim harder? Of course I can. And I probably will.

But be patient with me. Just by being in the water at all I’m bucking a stereotype.

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.