Friday, February 19, 2010

After my subway commute:

Sometimes living in New York is like unwittingly signing up for a slave/master relationship with a crazy dominatrix. I expected tulips, and here I am in a ball gag.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Circling celebrities like paltry little sharks, that was the premiere. We sat in a grand theater and frantically inhaled free popcorn. Martin Scorsese spoke, he was short. I trailed Mark Ruffalo into the after party and watched his handler speak to him in soothing tones, shepherd him through cameras. I stood behind an eccentric old woman and perhaps exist in photographs, somewhere. She had red crayola lipstick and tufty grey hair. She wore a sly, pleased smile.

Coat check was downstairs and took an impossibly long time to reach. The crowd ground to a gridlock stop and we peered above heads, confused. Oh, Leo. The cameras snapped and flashed. His hair was combed back like his character in the movie, divided in straight grooves by a comb and copious hair gel. He wore a smug smile, deservedly so I suppose. People slapped his back and hollered, "Good job, buddy!" They looked depressed when he failed to respond.

We found perches and peered down. We shrugged and gobbled desserts, slurped sweet champagne.

At home I felt heavy. The heat was off in our apartment and I curled up in a ball on the bed in my fancy wool coat. The fabric was stiff around my arms. Somehow I washed my face and removed my contacts, shed my darling black dress in a heap and found a tee shirt. I was asleep mid conversation and woke up bleary, melancholy.

I went to work and came home. I watched the Olympics and heated up Chinese mustard greens.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Someone wrote a poem about me this morning.

It was a morning for music, and I was soaring in my headphones. Dionne Warwick was screaming, "Accept me for who I am; accept me for the things that I do." It was frigid and bright out. I had my headphones turned up too loud, and her high notes hurt my ears, but I wanted to feel her.

Even the subway seemed beautiful. I felt comfortable with my hand on the rail, space around me. I put my hand on my hip and relaxed like I was standing in my own kitchen. I even closed my eyes, tilted my head back and smiled as the song reached its climax.

A few feet away someone was watching me. He had on a grey driver's cap and a green scarf and had a face like a rodent. Not a disturbing face, but a shrewd strange angularity like a rat. He was watching me keenly, actually seeing me. I often zero in on strangers in the subway, examine their demeanor and clothes and craft a life around them, and it was odd to find myself the subject for once. His gaze made me uncomfortable, so I avoided his eyes.

On my way out of the doors, a woman about my age tapped me on the shoulder. At first I thought I must know her from some place, because her demeanor was friendly, familiar, but I couldn't place her.

"That guy in the green scarf was writing a poem about you," she said, "I saw him."

How strange! I asked her to elaborate. It was a description, and he was at it for a while. "The blonde girl in the black and white scarf" were the words that tipped her off. I laughed and jostled her with my elbow as though we were good friends sharing a joke. Then I thanked her and jogged up the stairs, away from her.

Through the station at Grand Central I walked with a new purpose, as if there were a current of energy flowing through me. I moved swiftly and dodged through clusters of strangers gracefully, and felt that everyone around me could feel something too. I know, of course, that that's crazy. But I felt alert and switched on in a way that I haven't for a long time.

I thought about how I woke up feeling beautiful this morning, how I looked at my reflection with something like admiration while I dressed. Was that vanity or love or something else? I can't say. I don't often see myself favorably, though, and today I did. It wasn't the stranger who started the current; I believe he noticed it because it was already thrumming; or maybe I noticed him noticing because I had my eyes open. And anyway, it was a beautiful morning. Isn't that strange?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let's talk about sex is seeking bloggers to write posts about sex-related products. They're paying people to do this, which is, you know, enticing. Why not apply, I thought.

I was getting pretty excited about a conceptual piece in which I'd contrast merkins and brazilian waxes, discuss my bafflement when it comes to proper and reasonable maintenance 'down there,' but then I checked their site for inspiration. Ah. A post about a book of bourbon recipes with (wait for it) a bunch of Mad Men references! A promo post about a new sex book now available on! Well, sigh. They seem to be looking for the types of clips I used to write for Metro, and I don't really have that market-driven friendly cornball voice in me anymore. (I could, of course, if the price were right or if I needed it enough; let's not get too haughty here.) Anyway, it was clear as I was reading through their entries that I wouldn't fit, and I gave up. I reluctantly put the merkin back on the shelf.

It's a funny thing, though, writing about sex. Even loosely sex-related products. I think about it, and suddenly I'm a gawky sixteen, shifting uncomfortably in my baggy Gap jeans and sneaking sideways glances at CJ, the youth group Jordan Catalano lookalike. Suddenly I'm worrying what my mom will think.

I'm trying to imagine what I would have told Nerve readers about attraction, love, about trying to get it right. What do I know of it? I think of the fleeting moments I sometimes have, we all have, pressed on the subway next to a stranger we suddenly realize - recognize - is attractive. Glancing up and across his face, away, down, flustered. Up again, quick eye contact, and away. Up and together and away, again. Then finally away, definitively away, head lowered and shouldering out of the open doors, jogging up the exit stairs, away.

There's an inherent loneliness in attraction.

I'm sitting here thinking I had more to say, something about the way we imprint on early loves and are doomed to see their faces over and over, cast over strangers' faces and slipping away around corners, forever. Certain bodies we know without having to touch, always. But that's a mouthful, isn't it? Too much for right now.

Let's get a glass of water instead. We'll change into loose clothes, curl up with a book and take our pills. We'll remember to moisturize and floss. Soon we'll sleep, and in the morning if we're lucky, our boyfriend will make the coffee.